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Brainstorm: Harnessing the Power of Productive Obsessions Paperback – May 18, 2010

4.5 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Eric Maisel (Coaching the Artist Within), a creativity coach and columnist, and wife Ann Maisel (What Would Your Character Do?) have collaborated on a self-help book with an intriguing twist: that the right kind of "productive" obsession is not only desirable but an essential feature of creativity. To lend credibility to their claim the Maisels reference research into consciousness that suggests the cerebral cortex contains dynamic cooperatives of neurons which may lay the foundation for "a productive obsession that is a large neuronal gestalt of long duration - a big idea that lasts a long time." In answer to the criticism that any obsession might be dangerous, the Maisels acknowledge that this possibility hasn't been thoroughly investigated but believe the gains outweigh any potential negatives. The process of nurturing productive obsessions, the authors believe, is at the heart of how we value life and find purpose. It goes beyond simple stimulation, neat ideas, or interesting hobbies. By "investing meaning," in our ideas, we can move from mere interest to "the meaningfulness of authentic engagement." All too often people overlook the basics of a productive life, distracted by multitasking, marketing, and information overload. With this provocative departure from the usual lifestyle manual, the Maisels are out to break us of those tendencies.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

“Turn brain potential into passion, energy, and genuine accomplishments.”
Camille Minichino, physicist and author of the Periodic Table Mysteries

“What a pivotal way to experience your brain and all that it can create! I love that this book celebrates and teaches the concept of productive obsession and the multitudinous gifts of brainstorming.”
SARK, author, artist, and creative fountain

“A great tool for anyone who might be feeling stuck with a creative urge or idea but hasn’t brought it to fruition. You’ll discover how to use your brain as your ally and go beyond what you thought possible.”
Phyllis Lane, documentary filmmaker

“Elegantly combines the most inspiring elements of mindfulness, engagement, focus, and flow. Eric Maisel shows how we can be more productive by turning obsessions into positive passions.”
Susan K. Perry, PhD, social psychologist, author of Writing in Flow, and creativity blogger for Psychology Today
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: New World Library (May 18, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1577316215
  • ISBN-13: 978-1577316213
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 6.6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,123,176 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Eric Maisel, Ph.D., widely regarded as America's foremost creativity coach, is the author of more than 40 books. His titles include Secrets of a Creativity Coach, Why Smart People Hurt, Making Your Creative Mark, Coaching the Artist Within, The Van Gogh Blues, Fearless Creating, Mastering Creative Anxiety, Creativity for Life, A Writer's Paris, A Writer's San Francisco, and many others.

In addition to training creativity coaches, leading workshops nationally and internationally, and maintaining an individual creativity coaching practice, Dr. Maisel is in the forefront of the movement to rethink mental health. He writes the Rethinking Psychology blog for Psychology Today and among his books in this area are Rethinking Depression and Natural Psychology: the New Psychology of Meaning.

Dr. Maisel leads Deep Writing workshops at workshop centers like Esalen, Kripalu, Omega, Hollyhock and Rowe and in locales like San Francisco, New York, London, Paris, Prague and Rome. His books have been translated into more than a dozen languages, he has conducted hundreds of interviews, and his print column "Coaching the Artist Within" appears monthly in Professional Artist Magazine.

Dr. Maisel's websites are www.ericmaisel.com and www.naturalpsychology.net. He can be contacted at ericmaisel@hotmail.com.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I like Maisel. I found his book The Atheist's Way: Living Well Without Gods useful and, for lack of a better word, inspiring. So much so that I tracked down a couple of his other books and started to read them as well, and added Brainstorm to my Wish List the day I learned it was coming out.

But here's the thing: for someone who is a creativity coach, his body of work does not show a great deal of creativity. Not only do I not seeing Maisel producing notable works of, say, literature or film or art, but even the books he creates tend to be pretty much the same sort of advice over and over, with minor variations in emphasis. As good as I found Atheist's Way, it's hard not to conclude after seeing the efforts that came before or after it that it might not have been just one more marketing trick, one more way to package some advice that is very sound, very excellent--but not very original--for an additional audience. In one sense there's absolutely nothing wrong with that, and I was grateful for the nod to atheists' hard work of creating meaning and wresting meaning from a universe that does not easily yield it.

In another sense, though, it's hard to escape the sarcastic voice in my head when I read "Brainstorm" saying something along the lines of, "Physician, heal thyself." Don't preach to me about the crucial nature of creativity, of productive obsessions, when you have been writing the same book for several years now.

That, however, is a meta-criticism across the entirety of Maisel's output. Taken by itself, Brainstorm is a good book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I really wanted to like this book, and I do - to a point.

There are excellent points made in the book - about choosing the direction of your mental energy, not wasting your obsessions, turning off bad obsessions, and brainstorming with intention. These fall under a general distrust of "scope creep." Very important to keep in mind and something I've recently taken more serious to great benefit.

But the majority of the book is filler - fluff stories and anecdotals that extend the page count and justify the seller's cost I assume. These junk sentences surround, and at times smother, the good and valuable nuggets of wisdom that give life to this author's argument.

This is an okay book with very good points made. Don't waste your time reading every sentence - skim this book, highlight the important segments (they pop) and don't let the rest frustrate you. Accept it for what it is and use the few and good from these pages to your advantage.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
After hearing Eric Maisel, the author of Brainstorm on an NPR program I purchased the book. It was excellent and very inspiring. If you have ever had an idea to write, this will help you get started. This book gives you tools you stop procrastinating with excellent techniques and suggestions. I bought 6 more copies and gave as gifts.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The thing I love about this book and all the other books I have read by Eric Maisel is that they have such a thorough-going practical application. This book has helped me increase my productivity on my important projects by at least 100 percent. If you are stuck and procrastinating over important tasks, this book provides the proverbial kick up the........ but does it in such an elegant manner you barely notice.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Brainstorm - nice read/reminder of the vast amount of brainpower we can tap into on our own behalf.. There's always more brain in s than we will ever use!!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Amazing book to have and to learn from.

Someone who loves to know how the brain works, will love to read this.
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Format: Paperback
Brainstorm: Harnessing the Power of Productive Obsessions by Eric and Ann Maisel.

Right away, the authors make a big promise. "If you take my suggestions and accept my challenges, you'll embark on a journey more amazing than any you could contrive by land, sea or air." Does the book deliver? I say yes. The book shows how using the power of "productive obsession" can overcome internal resistance and enable you to use the power of your brain to live more fully and do more.

Productive obsessions stir up the mind. You choose your PO to match your desires, dreams, goals and ambitions; one that taps into your natural abilities, interests and talents. And dream big, stretch your horizons and go all out by allowing your brain to explore the ideas and projects that have habitually been pushed aside. This will lead you to find fulfillment and purpose and thus experience a greater sense of well-being.

Chapters are short. The book is a quick read and organized to show how the PO process works while including real-life examples using testimonials from groups of participants who allowed their brains to following a nagging, recurring need. Overall, their end results trend toward fulfillment in the form of tangible results and increased happiness. The exercise of productive obsessing opened a new world of possibilities enabling participants to express their authentic selves.

If you can get past the initial chapters which delve into the study of psychology and give some context for the scientific basis of the book, then you'll be able to finish the book. If it weren't for this and the odd chapter criticizing public school education, I'd give the book five stars. I found them distracting and of little value to the overall theme and tone.
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