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Explaining Creativity: The Science of Human Innovation Paperback – January 12, 2012

ISBN-13: 978-0199737574 ISBN-10: 0199737576 Edition: 2nd

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 568 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 2 edition (January 12, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199737576
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199737574
  • Product Dimensions: 9.9 x 6.9 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #38,053 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review


"Sawyer has put together a mountain of research from a variety of fields to create a unified approach to understanding how people manage to do something different. His book is readable and learned, origninal, but mindful of its relation to all that other work, and well worth the attention of anyone who wants to think seriously about innovation in the arts and in social organizations."
--Howard S. Becker, author of Art Worlds, Tricks of the Trade, and Outsiders


"An extremely knowledgable, wide-ranging, integrative summary of how the social sciences understand creativity. Keith Sawyer has again produced an intelligent and valuable contribution to knowledge. This is a volume that any scholar or lay-person interested in what creativity entails will want to have."
--Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Founding Co-Director, Quality of Life Research Center, and Distinguised Professor of Psychology and Management, School of Behavioral & Organizational Sciences, Claremont Graduate University


"With the publication of Explaining Creativity, Keith Sawyer has emerged as the leading young scholar and proponent of a sociocultural approach to the study of creativity. And with his remarkable grasp of this young field, Professor Sawyer has written the most comprehensive and compelling work on creativity studies in years."
--David Henry Feldman, Professor, Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Development, Tufts University, and author of Changing the World


"Without doubt Explaining Creativity is the most comprehensive single-volume presentation of what we know about the creative process, person, and product. Besides that, the book is extremely well written. It would be my first recommendation for anyone fascinated with creativity in all of its complexities and manifestations. There's simply nothing better out there for either specialist or general reader."
--Dean Keith Simonton, Distinguished Professor, Department of Psychology, University of California, Davis, and author of Origins of Genius


"R. Keith Sawyer's second edition of Explaining Creativity: The Science of Human Innovation is so expanded that it is a truly different book from the first edition. The first edition was (correctly) praised and appreciated; the second edition is required reading for anyone interested in the topic. In a just world, Sawyer's thorough and nuanced volume would be the best seller... Sawyer's book is easily the most thorough creativity text on the market." -- James C. Kaufman and Alexander S. McKay, PsycCRITIQUES


About the Author


R. Keith Sawyer, a professor of psychology, education, and business at Washington University in St. Louis, is one of the world's leading scientific experts on creativity. He combines this scientific expertise with a strong hands-on background in real-world creativity. After receiving his computer science degree from MIT in 1982, he began his career with a two-year stint designing videogames for Atari. In 1990, Dr. Sawyer began his doctoral studies in psychology, studying creativity with Dr. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. Dr. Sawyer has also been a jazz pianist for over 20 years, and spent several years playing piano with Chicago improv theater groups.

More About the Author

Dr. Keith Sawyer is one of the world's leading scientific experts on creativity, innovation, and learning. In his first job after graduating from MIT, he designed videogames for Atari. He then worked for 6 years as a management consultant in Boston and New York, advising large corporations on the strategic use of information technology. He's been a jazz pianist for over 30 years, and performed with several improv theater groups in Chicago, as part of his research into jazz and improvisational theater.

In addition to ZIG ZAG, his books include GROUP GENIUS and EXPLAINING CREATIVITY, and he has published over 80 scientific articles.

Dr. Sawyer is the Morgan Distinguished Professor in Educational Innovations at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Fajans on January 20, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Hands down the best book on creativity out there. I am talking about REAL, scientific and research-based stuff on creativity, not things like finding your inner power animal or unleashing one's spirit.

Sawyer synthesizes basically all of the scientific work done investigating creativity into a well-written, easy to understand handbook.

I will be re-reading and referencing this book for years and years.

Thanks Keith!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By James C. Kaufman on October 10, 2012
Format: Paperback
Most second editions involve revisions and updating; perhaps there is a new chapter or section reflecting new concepts or ideas. R. Keith Sawyer's second edition of Explaining Creativity: The Science of Human Innovation is so expanded that it is truly a different book than the first edition. The first edition was (correctly) praised and appreciated; the second edition is required reading for anyone interested in the topic...
Several themes emerge throughout Explaining Creativity. Sawyer discusses ten beliefs associated with the Western perspective of creativity and presents the evidence to empirically dispel or support these beliefs. He likewise, has five chapters focusing on creativity in five domains that are central to creativity (visual arts, writing, music, theatre, and science). He also touches on many different areas that will be of great interest to different readers. He includes two chapters on the biology and cognitive neuroscience of creativity, a chapter on computer simulations of creativity, and chapters that discuss creativity work in education, organizations, and everyday life.
Sawyer's book is easily the most thorough creativity text on the market... We highly recommend this book.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Doc J on November 21, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In creativity research, which can often be vague, noisy and confusing, it's rare to find a text that's not only comprehensive and well-organized, but written with a minimum of jargon and a maximum of common sense. This results in a fresh look at the famous claims people have made over the years, as well as a remarkable breadth of coverage: everything from the sociocultural, individual, and biological aspects of creativity, to the many ways people have tried to measure it. There are even some straightforward, practical guidelines for becoming more creative oneself.

Along the way, Sawyer also solidly debunks some major misconceptions, like the simplistic belief that creativity resides only in the right side of the brain. Moreover, his inside knowledge of music (he's a jazz pianist) enables him to go deeper than most writers when describing the artistic process.

As the author of THE INSANITY HOAX: EXPOSING THE MYTH OF THE MAD GENIUS, I particularly appreciate Sawyer's slam-dunk of the notion that great talent requires great psychopathology. This is the primary focus of my book, while it's just one of his many concerns, but we do criticize the same shoddy research that keeps this unfortunate stereotype in the public mind.

All told, this book is a refreshing change from the usual psychology text: although it's packed full with solid information, it's easy to navigate, and a genuine pleasure to read.
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Sawyer's writing style is easy to read. I've read some of his other stuff and this is a consistent style of writing. It's like you're having a conversation with him. He's casual enough that you can understand everything, but academic enough that you learn so much.
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