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Encyclopedia of Creativity, Two-Volume Set 1st Edition

3.7 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0122270758
ISBN-10: 0122270754
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Those wishing to study or provoke the creative process know that it is by nature elusive. Academic Press designed the Encyclopedia of Creativity, edited by Mark Runco and Steven Pritzker, to help pin it down by presenting the state of the art in social-science research and theory in a comprehensive, yet accessible, two-volume set. Nearly 200 entries, including important concepts such as Problem Finding and Serendipity, and biographical sketches of creative geniuses such as Sylvia Plath and Charles Darwin, fill 1,400 pages with insights and ideas for people working on the theory or the practice of creativity.

Be warned: Though it is accessible, it isn't pleasure reading. The biographies are occasionally enlightening (if somewhat arbitrary), but most entries are written with the social-science professional in mind and are consequently rather dry. This is no weakness for the serious researcher, however; in fact, the definitions and bibliographies are very helpful for focusing the reader's thinking about difficult subjects. The serious-minded student will find plenty to play with in the Encyclopedia of Creativity. --Rob Lightner

From Library Journal

This two-volume encyclopedia aims to be "comprehensive, and written for a wide audience. Here everyone from the casual newcomer to the seasoned researcher can find a broad cross section of information and even guidance about creativity." Unfortunately, that is only partly true. On the plus side, the articles (generally ten to 20 pages long) cover a wide variety of topics and contain lively biographical sketches of famous creative individuals whose lives have been studied in relation to theories of creativity. Contributors, predominantly psychologists, also include experts in business, education, and the arts. Each article contains definitions of terms unfamiliar to the general reader and also a bibliography. Unfortunately, as is often the case with collections of articles by many authors, the tone is uneven; some of the articles are inaccessible to nonspecialists. Furthermore, most of the biographical sketches, supposedly included to illustrate certain theories about creativity, do not adequately do so. Finally, the index is incomplete: for example, there are no entries for "bipolar disorder," "manic depression," or "depression," and although the relationship between depressive illness and creativity is discussed in the article "Affective Disorders," the nonspecialist would have a hard time finding the information. For large academic libraries only.
-Mary Ann Hughes, Neill P.L., Pullman, WA
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 1663 pages
  • Publisher: Academic Press; 1 edition (August 16, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0122270754
  • ISBN-13: 978-0122270758
  • Product Dimensions: 11.9 x 9.6 x 4.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,677,990 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is an essential set of books for people who are seriously interested in learning what is known about creativity today. The writers are academics who have spent many years investigating and writing about creativity. They carefully avoid "you can do it" cheerleader type material based on half-baked ideas and unproven notions.
That said, some of the entries could be clearer and better written. Nevertheless, I found many inspirational ideas and resources from both a personal and business perspective.
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By A Customer on January 4, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Wonderful work. Comprehensive and varied. It is "Academic," for the most part, but NOT highly technical. Best of all it has articles by everyone who is anyone in the field. All of the major figures in this field contributed. Not light reading, but if you want to know what the experts say, this is the book.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a wonderful collection of creativity topics written by the leading creativity experts in the field. The authors have taken years worth of empirical research and summarized it in a manner that is accessible to the layman. This book is best used as a quick reference to address a variety of subjects and their relationship to creativity and not as pleasure reading (as is traditional of encyclopedias). The critique that is often given to any book dealing with creativity it that it should itself be creative. This is of course absurd. When reading a book on mental disability we would never expect the authors to adopt a disability when conveying their messages. Those that think that creativity books must be creative would be better served by not venturing too far away from the pop-up book collection. Those looking for an encyclopedia that has gathered every imagination topic dealing with creativity that has been empirically tested (not just based on guesswork, hunches, or "feeling") will find this book very useful.
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Format: Hardcover
I have been a student of creativity for quite some time, so I ordered these books with very high hopes of it bringing together emerging thought from the enormous variety of work on the subject (admittedly, a very lofty task)...I found, however, that the presentation of the book was very flat, especially considering the nature of this exciting and dynamic field (THIS IS CREATIVITY WE'RE TALKING ABOUT, USE IT! ). Articles are presented in traditional academic style, mostly by (and consequently for) academics, with no evident interweaving of common themes or archetypes, betraying the essence of any holistic treatment of the subject... Many, including C.G. Jung, say that creativity develops from the generative interplay between intuition, the senses, feeling and thinking functions. The irony is that the presentation of this book captures one or two of these functions at best.
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