Synopsis: Read on Amazon
Author: Elizabeth Gilbert
If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, I’m sure you’ve seen I’ve referenced a TED talk by Elizabeth Gilbert that talks about creativity. That incredibly inspiring talk is exactly what this book is about; in fact, some of the stories she speaks of in the video are included in the book as well.
In this book, Gilbert encourages us to uncover the “strange jewels” that are hidden within each of us by embracing a creative process that is, well, magical. And yet for a book that emphasizes the mysteries of creativity and inspiration, it offers incredibly practical and tangible notions and observations on the whole process.
The book covers the different facets of this creative process (Courage, Enchantment, Permission, Persistence, Trust, Divinity) and challenges the idea of it being accompanied by intense suffering and fear. You could also summarize all those points as when creating, enjoy the process and when you are finished, move on.
The writing style of this book is quite easy to follow; it almost feels like having a conversation with Gilbert, or maybe even watching another TED talk of hers. At times she reads like she’s gotten it all figured out and almost lectures you a bit for not having done so, but these are rare excerpts and she always has a way to bring you back. At 289 pages, the book is a relatively quick read full of not only Gilbert’s insight, but lots and lots of stories from famous and unknown “creators” alike.
Now, you may be wondering why you should read a book about creativity when you are far from the “creative type”. We are all hard-wired for creativity. For some it is a fairly obvious for others less so. Maybe you are not painting, making music, writting book, but perhaps you are great in the kitchen, or you adore dancing; maybe you are into quilt making, or you are the go-to person to make a mean Power Point at work. Our species has been doing this for milennia (maybe not Power Point). To put things into perspective, take this particular quote from the book:
“The earliest evidence of recognizable human art is forty thousand years old. The earliest evidence of human agriculture, by contrast, is only ten thousand years old. Which means that somewhere in our collective evolutionary story, we decided it was way more important to make attractive, superfluous items than it was to learn how to regularly feed ourselves.”
Read the book. It’ll be fun and inspiring. Then go forth and create!