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Creativity: The Perfect Crime Kindle Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 39 customer reviews

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Length: 216 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews


Praise for Creativity: The Perfect Crime

“Gleeful… Anyone involved in the performing arts will find Creativity useful. [A] kaleidoscopic manifesto …. as richly insightful as it is vaingloriously irreverent. Read it. Use it to cross whatever tightropes you happen to be perched on.” – Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Anyone curious about Petit’s life and art, or hoping to draw inspiration for their own creative coup, will find ideas and insights in Creativity: The Perfect Crime.” --BookPage

"Like all extraordinary artists, Philippe Petit's practice is founded in rigor, scrutiny, and dedication. What sets Philippe in a class all his own is his restless quest to conquer the greatest physical heights, achieving a precise balance of chaos and creativity. He is an inspiration to all who dare to dream of the seemingly impossible. Dear friend: I salute you!”
--Mikhail Baryshnikov

 “A book as unique, open and inspiring as one would expect from its fundamentally revolutionary creator, a true original who does not accept accepted wisdom or take no for an answer. As I read, I kept underlining and thinking of friends I wanted to share it with---actors, writers, directors, anyone really. This book could be as powerful for kids as adults; I put a copy of it on each of my kids' nightstands and recommend you do the same.”
--David Duchovny
“If life itself is a walk on a wire, suspended between birth and death, in Creativity: The Perfect Crime Philippe Petit reminds us that the humble precision of every little step can lead to greatness.”
--Francesco Clemente

“I enjoyed the organization of chaos, the boldness of ideas, the insanity of Philippe’s visions, the extreme discipline of planning, and the passion of the feat. It inspires to create not only on a sound concept, but also on a whim or a spark.  I was thoroughly able to identify with his highs and lows and it was a great pleasure to have one so freewheeling put his methods down in a completely personal way."
--Julie Taymor
“Philippe Petit created one of the greatest works of art of the twentieth century.  He is also a most intelligent and original thinker (not to mention terrific company).  How lucky we are to have him as a guide into the elusive and all-important subject of creativity."
--Jonathan Safran Foer


About the Author

Philippe Petit has performed on the high wire more than eighty times around the world; he is also a magician, street juggler, visual artist, builder, lecturer, and writer. A frequent contributor to TED and other national venues, he is the author and illustrator of several books, including To Reach the Clouds, the basis of the 2009 Academy Award–winning documentary Man on Wire. He lives in upstate New York.

Product Details

  • File Size: 11788 KB
  • Print Length: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Riverhead Books; Reprint edition (May 15, 2014)
  • Publication Date: May 15, 2014
  • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00G3L6M9S
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #135,069 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
"Creativity" by Philippe Petit is not an instruction book; it is a work of art. Petit is not foolish enough to attempt concocting a formula for creativity. Rather, he invites the reader to enter into the experience of creating—his experience. Reading this book is like being in Petit’s mind. That will be frightening to some. Linear thinkers will find this book confusing and frustrating. Those searching for rules and directions will be disappointed. Just when you think Petit is providing some sage advice, he playfully contradicts himself. This is a book of paradoxes. Petit provides no solid ground for the reader to rest upon. Not surprising, since the author is best known for his incredible high wire walks. It is also no surprise that he eschews hard and fast rules. This is a man who habitually breaks the law to practice his art, as he did when he crossed a high wire suspended between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. Do not approach the reading of this book as though it were a series of lectures to be understood. Rather, enter into the flow of the author’s thoughts and allow your own insights to emerge. Approach the book as you would a fine glass of wine. Focus all your senses on the experience, and revel in the inspiration that emerges. Then go create!
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I'd suggest another title: "The Rebel's Book on Creativity." After reading the first sentence I knew I'd love the book and I did. It went: "I frown on books about creativity." It only got better: "Born into the confines of rigid parenting, repressive schooling and the narrow-mindedness of a country (France) busy manufacturing 365 types of cheese, quite early I started to rebel against authority." I think after this you know if you can relate. I can relate!

Just know that this isn't really the kind of book you will sit down and read through. There are a few reasons for this, first and foremost being the energy that blazes off each page. It's almost too much. You will more likely find yourself looking at the book as you would an inspired friend who drops by to play. To give you an idea of Philippe Petit's personality, here's his two-word beginning sentence on a section entitled, "Lethargy.": "Lethargy lurks!" Never have I seen lethargy so animated! This man would be quite exciting, I think, in person in front of an audience. (He actually does do workshops.)

Petit's book on creativity is essentially, and he says this up front, about Petit's creativity. But he figures it is transferable and in most cases it is. I don't think we create all alike. For example, when I write I plan very little if at all. I've been one of the lucky ones who don't need to. But Petit emphasizes planning throughout. He plans to plan, then he plans the plan, then plans. He appears to be so driven that he says he might secretly think about a friend who wishes to rest, "What a waste of time." At the end of one section, Petit emphasizes his distaste for, nay, running battle with lethargy as he gives this excellent tip and warning: "But whatever you do, never ever end practice on a failure.
Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is a wonderful glimpse into the mind of someone who accomplishes things by thinking and doing differently than others. Other creativity books make me feel like a bad student because they attempt to dictate artificial techniques that work for some but not others. In this book, he doesn't try to talk about creativity in general, he simply reveals his own form of creative thinking, with a wonderful sense of delight.

In the body of the book, he talks about his own:
- internal world, how he collects ideas;
- external world;
- components of a work;
- practice, journaling, protecting creative process;
- utilization of misdirection, serendipity, perfection, rehearsal, dealing with problems;
- accomplishing things even when it is scary, seeming impossible or unachievable; illustrated mostly by his WTC event, but a few other things, including a boat ride which scared him (I found it amusing that someone who tightrope walked 1350 feet above the ground was frightened by a stormy boat ride);
- what follows after an accomplishment.
He includes drawings at times to illustrate the ideas he is talking about.

In one sense, this book is a retrospective, talking about formative moments in his life and major high points in his career as a magician, juggler, aerialist. Though he is a high-wire artist, practically everything he talks about is generally applicable to creative thinking in general (how he keeps archives of clippings/ideas, etc.). Some topics however are specifically applicable to performance art, e.g. working with accomplices, but most are not.

There are some great lines in the book. Besides the quotes used in the title of this review, here are two more from chapter 6:
"Rehearse your next day before it awakens you."
"Rehearse your dream before it evaporates."
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I first became aware of Philippe Petit when I read Colum McCann's novel Let the Great World Spin. Set in NYC in the 70's, it features the feat of him walking the wire between the WTC twin towers. Then I watched the documentary Man on Wire. There is no doubt that he's a fascinating man.

When I saw this book, I wanted to get some insight into his thinking. My teen daughter is an artist, and so I thought she might like to read it as well. She did! When I took it back from her, because I needed to read it to review it, she tried to stop me, but I assured her I'd give it back to her.

The introduction is fascinating and drew me right in to want to read more. Petit explains how he rebelled against authority at an early age, teaching himself magic and juggling and then wire walking, between the ages of 6 and 16. He also got thrown out of 5 different schools. He began to equate his creative urges with that which is forbidden, because what engaged his imagination was not allowed. Thus his slogan became "Creativity is illegal."

He addresses many issues that the creative person faces such as "the blank page," discipline, naysayers etc. The creative person could be a writer, a performer, a visual artist. He combines practical helps from his own life with exercises, but all the while maintaining the idea that there are no rules.

The book is accompanied with line drawings by the author.

The tone is casual and chatty and slightly egotistical, but all in all it is interesting whether you just want to more about this man or want to fuel or affirm your creative process.
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