- Paperback: 176 pages
- Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press (September 12, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1616890398
- ISBN-13: 978-1616890391
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #864,335 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Breakthrough!: Proven Strategies to Overcome Creative Block and Spark Your Imagination Paperback – September 12, 2012
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"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.
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Top Customer Reviews
This book was really interesting in the beginning. I read it avidly, soaking up the words of wisdom. So many people had good things to say and they made me reassess the way I deal with creative block. By the end, though, I found myself skipping through entire paragraphs, skimming through each suggestion. The suggestions ran together and it seemed like several of them were repeating what others had said. Three of them may have had slightly different suggestions, but each one also mentioned the another thing that was the same thing.
This book, while a good reminder that, as creative professionals, we are not alone, doesn't have much reread value. I can't really foresee myself picking this book up again in the future. It was a good, short read, but not a vital one. I still enjoyed the beginning of the book and came away with some excellent quotes.
The author seems to have done us a good service and it was encouraging, although most suggestions seemed more like brainstorming results rather than well-thought-out ideas, and I didn't find any revolutionary new methods for relieving creative block. Most of the book's contributors seemed to be in some aspect of music or tech design (technical or creative writing seemed conspicuous by their absence but the book's suggestions seemed universal enough). Many suggestions were variations of: 1.) Take a walk away from your desk, 2.) Do something completely different, 3.) Grit your teeth and just sit down until something comes out and then revise it later, 4.) Bombard yourself with adaptive ideas (yours and other people's), 5.) Have some more chocolate/beer/TV/whatever.
Other than some annoying whining about things like the commercialization of art (as if that were anything new or insurmountable), the book seemed to have no really bad suggestions, but it did leave out a lot. For example, I don't recall seeing anything other than self-centered ideas -- no one suggested doing something to help others, volunteering for an afternoon, or the like. The contributors seemed to neglect another useful method validated by modern psychology -- sleeping on an idea, or letting your subconscious mind process your ideas in peace.
In short, an interesting variety of ideas but the dreaded Creative Blockosaurus doesn't need to worry about going extinct after this book is published, alas.
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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