Customer Review

48 of 51 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Thin, Sometimes Interesting Profiles, February 15, 2011
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This review is from: Spark: How Creativity Works (Hardcover)
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.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 24, 2011 9:14:47 AM PDT
Dan Saffer says:
This was exactly my experience. A big disappointment.

Posted on Nov 17, 2012 6:37:16 AM PST
Vernon Cheek says:
I looked up the book after seeing the author speak on TED. I tend to read the less favorable reviews first. The one star that got 41 "helpfuls" out of 44 reads has me writing this comment. Thank you for a clear, thoughtful critique. You saved me some time and money.
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