Spark and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Qty:1
  • List Price: $24.99
  • Save: $5.21 (21%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Only 1 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
Add to Cart
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Used: Very Good | Details
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Light shelf wear. Binding tight, clean pages. Prompt shipping. Please contact for international shipping options.
Add to Cart
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

Spark: How Creativity Works Hardcover – February 15, 2011


See all 5 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Hardcover, February 15, 2011
$19.78
$1.44 $0.01


Frequently Bought Together

Spark: How Creativity Works + Making Ideas Happen: Overcoming the Obstacles Between Vision and Reality + Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind (The 99U Book Series)
Price for all three: $39.71

Buy the selected items together

If you buy a new print edition of this book (or purchased one in the past), you can buy the Kindle edition for only $2.99 (Save 63%). Print edition purchase must be sold by Amazon. Learn more.


More to Explore
Download an excerpt from Spark: How Creativity Works.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Harper (February 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061732311
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061732317
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 6.5 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #848,058 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Over the past 10 years, numerous artists, writers, musicians, and filmmakers have sat down with host Kurt Anderson in his acclaimed public radio show, Studio 360, to reflect on the power of art and the nature of creativity. Pulling from those interviews, Burstein, the show's producer, gathers a diverse cast of characters (Chuck Close, Richard Ford, Isabel Allende, and Patti Lupone among them) who share their thoughts about the sources of their creativity: the influence of their parents, of place, or of a shattering event, or the stimulation of working with a creative partner. Rosanne Cash tells about the moment that liberated her from anger at her father, Johnny Cash. Poet Stanley Kunitz draws his deepest inspiration from the bounty of a garden he created out of a sand dune. The photographer William Christenberry draws sustenance and inspiration from his home county in Alabama, returning there every year to photograph farms, churches, and roadside cafes. Through enlightening conversations, these creative individuals demonstrate how they lift raw materials out of familiar contexts and create art that changes how we perceive the world. (Mar.)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Review

“Spark is a beautiful book, enjoyable and filled with life...You will find yourself contemplating the origin of the little lights, the sparks, which show themselves only when someone special looks within.” (Philadelphia Inquirer)

“This is a book about joy, drive and art, work that we’re all capable of if we’ll only commit.” (Seth Godin, author of Linchpin)

“Through enlightening conversations, these creative individuals demonstrate how they lift raw materials out of familiar contexts and create art that changes how we perceive the world.” (Publishers Weekly)

“Burstein offers enlightening answers from the culture’s heavy hitters, as well as the process by which they stoked these embers into a roaring fire, and how you, yes, you, might too.” (Vanity Fair)

“Spark is an encyclopedia of inspiration plucked from today’s most revered creators, leaving you not with a one-size-fits-all blueprint to creativity but with a petri dish of eclectic insights for you to distill, cross-pollinate and fertilize into a richer understanding of your own creative life.” (Maria Popova, Brain Pickings)

“How better to learn about creativity than to talk with some of the world’s most creative people.” (Detroit Free Press)

More About the Author

Julie Burstein is a Peabody Award-winning radio producer, best-selling author, and public speaker who has spent her working life in conversation with highly creative people - interviewing, probing, guiding, and creating public radio programs about them and their work. In Spark: How Creativity Works, she maps out some of the coordinates and dimensions of creativity. No one can exactly explain creativity, but Julie offers a tour through some of its essential byways; shining a beam onto its mysterious workings in a way that is illuminating and can help us find more of that dimension within ourselves, and put it to good use.

Julie is the host of Spark Talks at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, a series of conversations with writers, musicians, artists, entrepreneurs and scientists that explores current issues through the lens of The Met's collection. The TED conference asked Julie to speak at TED2012, and she often gives talks about creativity and innovation at museums, corporations, and universities.

In 2000, Julie created Studio 360 with Kurt Andersen for Public Radio International, public radio's premiere program about creativity, entertainment and the arts. She led the Studio 360 creative team at WNYC for many years. Julie is also known for her engaging on-air presence as a frequent guest host on The Leonard Lopate Show, she has created radio series for Carnegie Hall and the New York Philharmonic, and her many stories about arts and culture have appeared on public radio, from the secret to making Easter Peeps and Bunnies and the art of pumpkin carving for NPR, to reports about design, music, dance, theater, and visual arts for Studio 360 and Marketplace.

Julie is the host of pursuitofspark.com, conversations about creative approaches to the challenges, possibilities, and pleasures of everyday life and work.

When "Spark" was published in February, 2011, Vanity Fair wrote "In Spark (Harper), Burstein, with a foreword by Andersen, offers enlightening answers from the culture's heavy hitters, including Chuck Close, Yo-Yo Ma, and Richard Ford, on which experiences, memories, tragedies, or landscapes ignited their imaginations, as well as the process by which they stoked these embers into a roaring fire, and how you, yes, you, might too."

You can find out more at julieburstein.com.


Customer Reviews

This is a very interesting book on the subject of creativity.
Evan Jacobs
Still, after shelling out good money for the hardcover, I'm ultimately disappointed by what's here.
Ann Arbor Reader
I recommend this book as a great little SPARK for any creative person who needs a nudge.
HuskerFan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Ann Arbor Reader on February 15, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I don't mean to be unkind here because I appreciate the concept and organization of this book. I wanted to like it much more than I did.

Still, after shelling out good money for the hardcover, I'm ultimately disappointed by what's here. To me, it feels insubstantial, and I wish I had looked through it carefully in a bookstore before purchasing.

Each of the features here (exploring the creative process of several different writers, artists, musicians, etc.) feels quite brief. Some of the profiles are as short as 2-3 pages and come full of journalistic exposition/background.

This is fine in theory, but when I buy a book that promises "How Creativity Works" in its subtitle, I'm hoping for deeper, richer quotations from the profiled artists and less background filler. Do I really need to read, for example, that "[Kevin] Bacon, who starred in films like Footloose, JFK, and Apollo 13, is also renowned as the central character in the trivia game 'Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon...'"

(And, no offense, but can Kevin Bacon really help us understand how creativity works? Don't get me wrong--I really like the guy's work, but this just isn't what I hoped for.)

Even the longer pieces still feel thin and full of sound bites, rather than concerted reflection on creativity. You may enjoy it if you're looking for brief, breezy slices of NPR-style interview. But if, like me, you were hoping for some sustained dialogue and thinking from these artists, you may want to save your money.
2 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By smartpeoplepodcast on March 20, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I don't often comment here on amazon, but this one really prompted me to let everyone know what they are getting themselves into. First of all, the hardcover is around $25 and for that much I have some expectations. Second, the book promises to tell you how creativity works but instead just reads as if it's a transcript from interviews done on a radio show years ago from a lot of people that you've probably never heard of. I don't like sounding harsh, but I was REALLY disappointed with this book. The introduction seems great, I do believe that Julie has a good background to write about the subject of creativity and has some valuable insight; however, she rarely imparts her own wisdom. Instead it seems like just a ploy to use her past interviews to make some money through book sales. It's not worth your time, you won't gain much at all.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Terri J. Rice TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 27, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I am so excited about this book. It is fascinating to read how successful artsy people excelled.

One of the artists interviewed said, "If you wait for clouds to part and be struck with a bolt of lightning, you're likely to be waiting the rest of your life. But if you simply get going something will occur to you."

I was struck by the fact that overcoming adversity in some way was often the key to creativity.

Chuck Close, a very famous portrait painter, had to overcome prosopagnosia- the inability to recognize faces. Imagine! because he could not recognize individual's faces he became a portrait painter. He drew a grid on photographs and took the face square by square and created these wonderful portraits, and in the process was able to recognize faces from his artwork. And when you think proopagnosia is enough of a detriment for this portraitist, he has a spinal aneurysm which leave him paralyzed from the neck down in a matter of hours.

The tragically beautiful way that Donald Hall, already a great poet, became greater was through the death of his much younger wife, Jane Kenyon. The grief and mourning that Hall captures in his poetry, Without, is something no human being could fake.

When the artist was confined in some way, either by placing his/her own parameters or confined from something beyond his/her control, the art was better.

Ben Burtt, the noise behind Star Wars and Wall-E, limits himself in that the noises he 'invents' come from everyday life and are not simply digitally or electronically produced. The hum of the saber came from the hum of an interlock motor on a projector coupled with the sound from a broken microphone passing by a television set, picking up a buzz from the television.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Ivy VINE VOICE on February 4, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
These are a series of biographies drawn from the various guests on NPR's Studio 360 (an awesome show, btw). It's divided thematically,

The first section, Engaging Adversity, is about why people create, what drives them, what needs the activity answers. Donald Hall, for example, writes poems to grieve the loss of his wife.

Modern Alchemy is about how the wizards do what they do. In one article, Beb Burtt explains how he made the sound effects for Star Wars.

The Cultivated and the Wild deals with nature in art. I particularly liked the section on Julie Bargmann where she goes into ecological wastelands, landscapes them, cultivates them, and heals them.

Going Home is about place, and here the standout is Alexander Payne and his love of Omaha.

Imagination's Wellspring is the section that comes closest to fulfilling the promise of the book's subtitle. Richard Ford tells about how events from his childhood (including a very disturbing incident with the family cat) made their way into his novels.

The remaining sections are: Mothers and Fathers, Creative Parners, Rewaeaving A Shattered World, and, my favorite, Getting to Work.

The only downside is that most of these bios are very short, 3-4 pages. Each feels a little rushed. I find it charming that the book starts and ends with Chuck Close. Overall, very good.
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Customer Images

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Search