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Hanne, reading on Cloud 9

Avid book reader. Lover of fantasy, contemporary fiction, short stories and non-fiction. This blog is a work in progress - and it will likely always be that way.

Creative Confidence, by David and Tom Kelley

Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All - 'Tom Kelley',  'David Kelley'

It’s true. All kids are creative, but we are very specific about which adults we label as ‘creative’. It got me thinking and I realized there’s hardly any escaping: As a child, you’re told to “go, and have fun”, you’re encouraged to explore, to fail, to get better, to try again, and again and again. The bumps and bruises aren’t a bad thing, they’re your badge of honour: you’ve tried, you’ve persevered.
And then you hit a certain more adult age and you’re told “to be careful, to study/work hard and to do your best”.
Notice the difference?

In a way, this book is about that difference. If you want to be creative, you have to play and experiment. It should not feel like 'Work', like something you have to succeed at. Instead, give yourself the permission to fail.


“A widely held myth suggests that creative geniuses rarely fail. Yet, the opposite is actually true. Creative geniuses are quite prolific when it comes to failure – they just don’t let that stop them. Research has found that creative people simply do more experiments.”

Creativity isn’t only for those who aspire to be featured in a Taschen book. Creativity isn’t necessarily about bringing something new to this world completely on your own. There are many forms, but there's one thing that will always be true: it takes action to get things done.
I like how that comes back throughout the book. The chapter names are not buzz words, no fancy vocabulary, but they are action focused: flip, dare, spark, leap, seek, team, move, next. There you go, all eight chapters.

This book is well written and easy to read. The authors have enormous passion for the subject, and you can tell. It’s in fact hard not to get infected, and it sparked quite a few new ideas which I had to scribble down on whatever paper was near.
I did have to read this book twice though. After finishing the first time, I thought this book was all about case studies of people who managed to do it, but I could still argue that this didn’t mean that I would be able to. Yes, I know you can learn via case studies, and that they are often the best example, but the problem is that you learn about other people and how they achieved it, which doesn’t necessarily help you to get started yourself.
Upon re-reading though I realized that I was wrong: it is full of nuggets of advice. It’s just that in my first reading experience the case studies overpowered the general advice.

One other criticism is that, on occasion, this book does sound like a long promotion booklet for IDEO and d.school. I’ve done the math: 208 pages, and the company name IDEO is used 167 times and they refer 96 times to the d.school. That means that on average, every page you’ll meet one or the other, and sometimes both.
I wish they more often utilized the neutral ‘we’, ‘our students’ or ‘our clients’, instead of banging the company names home. I guess the authors are better marketeers than they think. Those names are branded into my brain after reading this book. I’m a bit annoyed by this now, but in a few weeks I’ll just remember the name, even if I don’t remember from where.

Don't let that hold you back though, if you enjoy reading design and innovation books, it's well worth your time!

Disclaimer: This book has been provided from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All quotes are taken from the pre-published copy and may be altered or omitted from the final copy.