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Breakthrough!: Proven Strategies to Overcome Creative Block and Spark Your Imagination Paperback – September 12, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press (September 12, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616890398
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616890391
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 5.4 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #428,382 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A small but potent compendium of field-tested, life-approved insight on optimizing the creative process from some of today's most exciting artists, designers, illustrators, writers, and thinkers. At once practical and philosophical, Breakthrough! promises to help you burst through your own creative plateaus. Whether or not it succeeds, one thing it's guaranteed to do is make you feel less alone in your mental struggles -- and what greater reassurance than that could there be?" -- Brain Pickings

"When color-coding your pens finally loses its appeal and the blank computer screen continues to mock you, borrow a tip from Alex Cornell's new book, Breakthrough! 90 Proven Strategies to Overcome Creative Block and Spark Your Imagination. He surveyed creative leaders, who have plenty of tricks." -- Fast Company

"We can all relate to the frustration that ensues when we run up against creative block. Well, no need to fret. Alex Cornell has compiled '90 Proven Strategies to Overcome Creative Block and Spark Your Imagination' from a line-up of stellar creatives. Christian Helms, Alexandra Lange, Debbie Millman, and others share what works for them to get over the block." -- Communication Arts

About the Author

Alex Cornell is a San Francisco-based designer and musician. He currently works as cofounder and designer at Firespotter Labs and ÜberConference, an Andreessen Horowitz and Google Ventures-funded startup. Recently he passed over three million views on YouTube, where he maintains a periodic online musical presence.

More About the Author

Alex Cornell is a San Francisco-based Designer and Musician. A graduate of Duke University, Alex cofounded Firespotter Labs in 2010 and has designed and launched Nosh, Jotly, NoshList and ÜberConference. Recently Firespotter raised $15M from Google Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz.

Prior to Firespotter, he spent three years studying design as apprentice to Scott Hansen (ISO50), as well as writing for the blog and running the studio. He has also worked for IDEO, Plancast, Signpost, and many other Bay Area companies as a UI/UX and brand designer.

His work has been featured in many international magazines, publications, and blogs - most recently in The Modernist (Gestalten 2011). Recently he passed over 3 million views on YouTube where he maintains a periodic online musical presence.

Customer Reviews

I'm sorry, but I just don't think this is a valuable book worth spending your money on.
German Vasquez Jr.
I'm glad I have it and will flip through it now and then when I feel stuck in a rut, but it's not going to revolutionize my productivity.
Derrick Dodson
The book designer, Elana Schlenker, also deserves a lot of credit for intelligent and interesting design with creative pull quotes.
W. A. Carpenter

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By E. Swope VINE VOICE on August 29, 2012
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
As a scientist who has spent over half my life studying creativity (and gone on to become a working artist) I picked this book up with some trepidation, and fairly low expectations. I have literally read upwards of 100 books on creativity, and in my experience, the books written 30+ years ago (when it was not a hot area) were, for the most part, a good deal better than the majority currently making the rounds. That is easily explained, as the people writing then did it out of love, passion rather than to turn a quick buck. All that said, I was not expecting a lot from this book. I have to commend Alex Cornell, more editor or curator (than author) of this collection of essays, for not overstating what it gives you, not imbuing it with too much gloss or ego.

The book is a collection of essays from a variety of working artists who were asked how they deal with "creative block". There is some overlap in the recommended strategies, but that is par for the course, and points to an aspect of the process; that the mind needs to be relaxed for those ideas to "gel".

My favorite quote comes from Chris Russo, who says "If the remedy was exact, I'd patent it, design the packaging and make some money." The truth is, there is no "cure-all". Each of us has different triggers, different backgrounds, different things which work to get them going. There are, however some good ideas in this little book and enough of a variety that I think many people would find something of benefit in it.

It's an easy read, not heavy on jargon, or cute catch phrases. Genuine advice from working artists who took the time to share what helps get them going when they get stuck.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By W. A. Carpenter VINE VOICE on September 3, 2012
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I must admit to some skepticism when I started reading Breakthrough!: Proven Strategies to Overcome Creative Block and Spark Your Imagination. This seems to be another collection of one page emails by famous people on a single topic - but in this case I didn't know who most of these famous people were. It turns out that they are designers, artists, musicians, and other creative types from New York City, England, and Scandinavia (for the most part) sharing hints on how to overcome writer's block (or other forms of creative blocks). There is surprising unanimity on the best approaches - basically you should take a walk, observe the world, and otherwise distract yourself from the problem at hand.

However I was delighted to find such an interesting array of ways to give this basic advice in 90 different voices. The editor, Alex Cornell, deserves a lot of credit for choosing well and keeping the book interesting. The book designer, Elana Schlenker, also deserves a lot of credit for intelligent and interesting design with creative pull quotes. There are a number of different things about the book layout. The colophon, usually found on the reverse side of the title page, is the last page of this book. Each page has a wide printed margin - which fades from black to blue as you go from the front of the book to the end. The font choices are distinctive but readable. Reading it was fun.

Even though I do not make a living in any of these creative fields, I found the advice inspiring and useful for dealing with the kinds of problems I face in my very different field of work. Recommended.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By LindaT VINE VOICE on November 22, 2012
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I read the book from front to back for review purposes. And in doing so I found out that you can take it, let it fall openanywhere, and find good, sound advice for when you feel "stuck" and "blocked."

Many of the writers wer artistic designers, graphic artists and writers. For my own part, I am a teacher, writer, and musician. I also like to knit teddy bears and paint pictures (although I haven't done it for quite a while). And sometimes it seems like in all of these endeavors, I feel "stuck" and I fiund this book to be a greaet place to go for ideas -- not for my projects, but for ways to handle this feeling of dryness and feeling like I'm gettting nowhere.

A lot of the ideas are surprising. Some people find deadlines to be scary, but Ben Barry, Grapic Designer at Facebook says that sometimes creating an artificial constraints as quickly as possible on a projecct -- especially open-ended ones where there'sno particular time to have the project fnished -- "A deadline is always the best cure." While this may not work for everything, it certainly is an option. Page 86 says to allow for error. The discusision by "Experimental Jetset" about the difference between a "bloc" and an "block" is worth the price of the whole book. And get this -- the writer on page 72 tells you to "enjoy" your depresion!

This book goes with me a lot. It's fun to read when I want to enjoy my MacDonald's vanilla ied coffee and get good ideas to keep on moving on.

It's many, MANY times the price of the book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Bakari Chavanu VINE VOICE on October 11, 2012
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book is like a mini version of The Art of Looking Sideways. It's full of aphorisms and strategies for thinking creatively and outside the box. If you actually read the book from cover to cover, you will pick up suggestions for dealing with blocks to creativity and procrastination.
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