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Zig Zag. The Surprising Path to Greater Creativity

  • ID: 2329604
  • Book
  • April 2013
  • 288 Pages
  • John Wiley and Sons Ltd
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Praise for Zig Zag

"Finally! A creativity advice book that′s grounded in scientific research."
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, author, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience

"Zig Zag is the most fun and most useful creativity book I have ever read. Keith Sawyer′s gem sweeps you up with a host of great stories, quizzes, and exercises and teaches you one way after the other to be more creative."
Robert I. Sutton, professor of Management Science, Stanford University; author, Good Boss, Bad Boss and The No Asshole Rule

"In geometry the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. But in creative pursuits, Zig Zag shows us, it′s anything but. Keith Sawyer is the most creative person writing about creativity that I know."
Robert Mankoff, cartoon editor, The New Yorker; author, The Naked Cartoonist: A New Way to Enhance Your Creativity

"Creativity is essential in our journey to the future, and this gem of a book helps each of us on the way."
Tim Brown, chief executive officer and president, IDEO; author, Change by Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation

"Keith Sawyer is the best combination of a brilliant creativity researcher and storyteller around."
Peter Sims, author, Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries

"Zig Zag reveals the true nature of the creative process: improvisational, surprising, with unexpected twists and turns. The book is filled with hands–on activities that help you manage that process and keep it moving forward to a successful creative outcome."
Josh Linkner, author, Disciplined Dreaming: A Proven System to Drive Breakthrough Creativity

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Introduction: Choosing Creativity 1

Step One ASK: How the Right Questions Lead to the Most Novel Answers 19

Find the Question

Search the Space

Transform the Problem

Step Two LEARN: How to Prepare Your Mind for Constant Creativity 49

Practice Deliberately

Master Your Domain

Learn Forever

Balance Specialty with Generality

Step Three LOOK: How to Be Aware of the Answers All Around You 73

Use Fresh Eyes

Grab New Sights and Cool Sounds

Render It Visible

Step Four PLAY: How to Free Your Mind to Imagine Possible Worlds 101



Find the Right Box

Be a Beginner

Step Five THINK: How to Have Way More Ideas Than You ll Ever Need 129




Step Six FUSE: How to Combine Ideas in Surprising New Ways 153


Make Analogies

Do a People Mash–Up

Step Seven CHOOSE: How to Pick the Best Ideas and Then Make Them Even Better 173

Know What You re Looking For

Host an Idea Competition

Look Past the Good

Edit, Revise, Improve

Step Eight MAKE: How Getting Your Ideas Out into the World Drives Creativity Forward 195

Draw It

See It

Build It

Make It Concrete

Reflect on It

Conclusion 215

Appendix A: Outline of All of the Steps, Practices, and Techniques 229

Appendix B: The Research Behind the Eight Steps 237

References 243

Acknowledgments 261

About the Author 263

Index 265

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Keith Sawyer, PhD, is associate professor of psychology, education, and business at Washington University in St. Louis. An accomplished jazz pianist and former video game designer for Atari, he has published widely on the topics of collaboration and creativity. His book Group Genius won awards from Library Journal and (800) CEO–READ and has been translated into many languages. He is the proud owner of a collection of vintage Grateful Dead bootleg tapes, his childhood piano teacher′s old (but working) accordion, and a 1982 BMW motorcycle (also working). To learn more, visit keithsawyer.com.

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