Dixie Darr

How Reading Improves Creativity

In Books, creativity on January 29, 2011 at 12:10 pm

Creativity frequently comes from combining concepts from unrelated fields. A classic example is Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press, which was a combination of hand printing with the use of a wine press.

Variety is the Key

One way improve creativity is to solicit input from a wide variety of subjects. And an easy way to do that is throughout reading. Ideally, your reading will include a mix of both topics and media, that is, books, magazines, news articles, websites, blogs. You also need to deliberately choose subjects outside your areas of interest. This allows concepts to spill over into one another.

“Reading remains an unsurpassed vehicle for the transmission of interesting new ideas and perspectives” according to Listening to Steven Johnson, author of  Where Good Ideas Come From. You can get a taste for his ideas by watching his TED talk.

A Reading Sabbatical

Bill Gates is a person who understands the value of reading, “My confidence and sense of curiosity—you can trace it back to just that I loved reading.” He famously takes an annual reading vacation compressing a vast amount of reading into short period of time.  While most of us probably can’t or don’t want to take a reading sabbatical, reading one book at a time won’t cut it, if only because of the length of time that passes between reading different books.

Never read one book at a time.

I solve that by never reading just one book at a time.

Current reading:

CD in the car – Dancehall of the Dead by Tony Hillerman –part of a project to reread the Hillerman novels which I started reading 25 years ago. This time, I’m listening to the CDs.

Audio of Mary Ann in Autumn by Armistead Maupin.

Creative is a Verb by Patti Digh

How Clarissa Burden Learned to Fly by Connie May Fowler

Unmarketing by Scott Stratten

Every day, I also read many online articles, blogs, news stories, and an occasional ebook.

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