The Dance of the Possible: the mostly honest completely irreverent guide to creativity Kindle Edition
|Length: 248 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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The author sent me an early reviewer’s copy of the book which only took me 3.5 hours to read. Upon completion of the book, I started working on a small feature for an open source project which I had on the back burner for three months. So, Scott kept his promise to me, he provided sufficient insight and pragmatic techniques that helped me get out of my rut.
My main problem is that I’m obsessed with trying to solve problems by searching for the best technique or approach. I have spent hours searching google to find the best possible answers or solutions. I’ve read many other books on problem solving and creativity but I haven’t been able to change my thought process for long periods of time. I’ve tried failed fast techniques, brainstorming, A/B testing, etc…. I can add “The Dance of the Possible” to my short list of books that helped put a dent into my though process and attitude for solving problems.
With enough practice, we can all develop a variety of skills that can help us become better problem solvers. Scott’s guide has helped me update my out-dated skill stack for generating ideas and staying committed to my craft. There were many techniques and insights provided by the author but this is what worked for me.
“We get the majority of our creative powers from our subconscious mind.” If this is the case, then, how do we nurture a more healthy relationship with our subconscious mind? I use to write my ideas down in a journal but would eventually stop because I would get lazy or distracted. Scott mentioned that one of the most important relationships you can have is between your subconscious and creative instincts. I realized that for me to continue to nurture this relationship I need to slow down and write my ideas down.
“Finding good ideas is one thing. Developing them into finished works is another.” I tried two of the eight mentioned techniques for idea exploration: Kill False Constraints and Switch Modes. One of the issues that I continue to face with problem solving is that I am too pessimistic and kill ideas too quickly. When I made a list of practical and psychological constraints, I realized that I was not exploring enough solutions to my problem. The other technique which I found helpful was the switch mode technique: trying another approach to express ideas. Typically, I sketch my ideas or write them down. The tip of trying to explain a project to someone who knows nothing about it worked well.
“No matter how great your idea is, there will be energy you have to spend, often on relatively ordinary work, to deliver it to the world.” “To get off the couch and do something interesting requires confidence.” I realize that sometimes I lack patience or lose confidence when trying to solve a problem and can be disappointed when my solution fails. The author provided vivid examples of the discovery of the Post-IT note, Edison, The Wright brothers and how they dealt with setbacks. I found it inspirational and have added several biographies and documentaries to my list for motivation. Also, I’ve blocked out time in my calendar when I’m “most energetic” to work on my projects.
“The longer you work at creating things the greater the odds you’ll eventually have a day where you don’t feel like doing it anymore.” “It takes effort to keep going when feeling unmotivated, but that’s the difference between commitment to a craft and a fantasy.” I realized that surrounding yourself with friends and mentors that are nurturing, laughing at yourself, and create more situations that bring me joy can help reduce creative burnout and help me stay motivated. Yes, sometimes I forget to have fun and this advice is common sense. But, sometimes common sense is uncommon.
I highly recommend “The Dance of The Possible” to anyone who wants to follow a pragmatic guide to make something. This is a terrific hands-on guide that will help you stay committed to your craft.
It's not uncommon that when we finish a book, we feel something lacking. Sometimes it's because it starts strong and wears out at the end (like most bestsellers); sometimes because it facilitates thoughts beyond the scope (philosophy or mathematics); other times because it's inspiring enough to provoke thought, but not practical enough to provoke action (positive psychology).
Scott Berkun's The Dance of the Possible (DoP) goes farther and beyond. It’s one of the most satisfying, convincing, and actionable initiators on creativity.
1. It’s Satisfying
Many bestsellers are actually best-fillers, inflating one chapter (or less) worth of materials to a dozen-chapter balloon, which eventually shrinks to the bare and bald.
Scott’s book is bestseller-worthy with no compromises. With his characteristic fluency and just-enough humor, Scott’s book is dense with insights, to-the-point with examples, and is intentionally kept concise for the most impatient. There’s no reason you can’t or shouldn’t read it.
2. It’s Convincing
Over the years I’ve also, just like the author, read quite some books on the topic of creativity. Blended with my own experiences and lessons, many of the books’ major points are resonant and are often finer and summarized better. Only solid research leads to sound reasoning, which is evident in the book.
Misconceptions, myths, and blindspots about creativity are all well addressed, barely leaving any space for further doubt. The author does a great job in anticipating and answering your questions along the way. Major concerns are usually addressed on-location, in a logical, practical manner.
You end up connecting all the fuzzy dots in your own experiences and reasoning about the topic, and, along with the author’s, shape a far better understanding and opinion. It’s not magical. It's just incredibly intelligent.
3. It’s Actionable and Inspiring
The understanding, the steps, and the encouragement are all right in the book. You can easily see yourself doing all the things suggested, with most of your skeptical or anxious questions about taking action answered.
This should be your first book on creativity, and hopefully the last (because it’s just so action-provoking).
Eventually, there's no magic at all when it comes to creativity. It's always in the details. And attending to the details of the mind and the action requires a higher calling, established by intelligence, curated by will, and implemented by habitual commitment.
Scott's book guides you to that calling. And the rest is, well, not easy, but finally in sight, probable, and most importantly, approachable.