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Your Creative Brain: Seven Steps to Maximize Imagination, Productivity, and Innovation in Your Life Hardcover – October 5, 2010

4.7 out of 5 stars 52 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Basing this book on her Harvard psychology course, Creativity: Madmen, Geniuses, and Harvard Students, Carson sees creativity in a broader context—not just coming up with new ideas but being able to evaluate them and put the good ones to practical use. Each phase of this process utilizes different brain states, and each person feels more comfortable in some brain states than in others. Carson includes self-tests for discovering which brain states the student favors, exercises to strengthen the weaker brain states, and help in sticking to the program. Unlike most self-help books, this is grounded in solid experimental work. The only downside is that the actual text is a bit dull, and attempts to lighten it (e.g., with a series of unfunny jokes and cartoons about a creative caveman and his dim sidekick) fall flat. Readers with whom this title will resonate will probably skip straight to the "What brainset do you prefer?" quiz. VERDICT Readers who liked Michael Gelb's How To Think Like Leonardo da Vinci will love this. So will the self-improvement and business seminar–loving crowd. And for once they're getting some substance! (Library Journal, September 15, 2010)

From the Inside Flap

Can sitting in front of a light box increase your creativity more than listening to a Bach concerto?

In Your Creative Brain, Harvard psychologist Shelley Carson explains that creativity isn't something only scientists, inventors, artists, writers, and musicians enjoy, but rather all of us use our creative brains every day at home and at work. Everyone has the ability to increase mental functioning and creativity by understanding and putting into play seven brain activation patterns Dr. Carson has coined the CREATES brainsets: Connect, Reason, Envision, Absorb, Transform, Evaluate, and Stream.

Step-by-step, Carson shows how these seven brainsets affect the way we experience the world around us and how each brainset contributes to the process of creative problem solving. The book is filled with entertaining (and often surprising) exercises, quizzes, and self-tests that will help you take advantage of your creative potential and enrich your life.

This vital resource can also help you meet the challenges and opportunities of today's complex world. The rulebooks for virtually every aspect of human endeavor and interaction—from corporate life to personal life to dating and even parenting—are being rewritten right in the middle of the game. So if all the old bets are off, how do you survive and thrive? The most important asset you have for negotiating this rapidly changing world is your creative brain.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (October 5, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470547634
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470547632
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.2 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #816,883 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
"Your Creative Brain" is a must-read for anyone who is looking to find solutions to the challenges they face in everyday life. From how to do your job better to how to handle a challenging relationship to how to create a piece of art, Dr. Carson shows you how learning to be more creative (and you can learn!) can help you be a more successful person.

I got an advanced copy of this book from a friend of mine in the media and I really enjoyed it. I know that Dr. Carson has been teaching at Harvard for years, but her voice and tone was anything but Ivy League Elitist. She makes the case that creativity allowed the cavemen to move beyond their basic way of life to pave the way to our modern accomplishments. She winds the ribbon of the caveman throughout her book in the form of lighthearted cartoons that provide unexpected and much enjoyed comic relief.

This book is packed with information, no doubt about it - each chapter is a description of one of the seven brainsets Dr. Carson sees as being involved in the creative process. Within each chapter is also a set of steps you can do to increase your ability to do that particular brain set. After going through the whole book, I felt like I had got the expertise and know-how of a whole semester course. My recommendation is to go slowly through the book, take your time with each chapter and allowing a chance for the information to sink in before heading into the next one.

I read lots of books that are supposed to help me do something, like be better at this or do that, and very few actually have me finishing them up thinking I really learned something. "Your Creative Brain" doesn't just regurgitate the same old tips on creativity you've heard 1,000 times - this is much deeper, much more insightful, and much more worth your time than any other self-improvement out there right now. I give this book five very enthusiastic stars!
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Format: Hardcover
This is a good guide for anyone who wants to become more creative. The author's premise is that there are different mindsets that contribute to creativity and innovation. She claims that we tend to prefer one or more of these mindsets, and to get full use of our creative brain, we need to access the other mindsets. For example, someone who prefers the Absorb and Envision mindsets can take in a lot of new information and visualize how their ideas will look, but may not be able to evaluate and implement those ideas. They may need better access to their Evaluate and Reason mindsets. The author provides a lot of exercises for each mindset to help the reader develop that particular mindset. Be aware though that she has not confirmed these exercises via testing but they do make sense intuitively. She also provides neurological descriptions for each mindset which basically boil down to which parts of the brain are activated and which not in each mindset. I know that this is the part of the text which I'm going to forget because in the end it doesn't really matter - it's the exercises and the application that are important. The author also encourages the reader to use the token rewards system, a system that has proven effective in creating new habits for things as serious as addictions. I have not had the chance to try it but I think it should work in improving access to each creative mindset.
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Format: Hardcover
Harvard Professor Shelley Carson has developed a model of seven "brainsets" called CREATES that is rooted in brain research and seeks to describe and encourage the creative process in all of us. She begins with the hopeful message that we are all indeed creative, and that the differences between effective creative thinkers and the not so effective are smaller than the commonalities.

The book is divided into three sections. Part I, "Meet Your Creative Brain" is a brief introduction into what creativity is and includes a series of tests that serve as guideposts for the remainder of the book. Here too, Carson delineates the seven steps of the model (brainsets) around which the book revolves, and describes each state of mind it represents: Absorb (openness and cognitive flexibility), Envision (mental imagery), Connect (divergent or associative thinking), Reason (convergent or deliberate thinking), Evaluate (judgmentalism), Transform (self-expression), and Stream (improvisation or flow). Learning your strengths and weaknesses from the testing in this section prepares you to engage with the thorough discussion of each brainset that follows in Part 2, "Training Your Creative Brain". And then, in Part 3, "Putting the CREATES Strategies to Work", she offers suggestions on how to develop flexibility between brainsets and apply each of them to our lives.

I began the book with some hesitation as I was concerned that it appeared to be yet another "10 steps to success in ...life, love, and everything else" guide. But I was compelled by the science, learned a great deal about the brain, and, after taking the tests and using many of the exercises, I feel that I have a larger definition of creativity.
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Format: Hardcover
I *love* this book, and I cannot wait to give copies to family and friends for Christmas!
Once I started reading, I just could not put it down!
I am interested in creativity, but I think anybody, even people who aren't already interested, would enjoy this book.
Before I read the book, I read about Dr. Carson receiving teaching awards, and once I started reading, it was easy to see why she consistently wins teaching awards: The book is easy to read and understand, as well as being interesting and fun. I felt like I was sharing a cup of coffee with a wonderful friend. More than once, I found myself laughing out loud. I learned about creativity, and the most exciting part for me is that I also learned how to increase my own creativity. I am amazed that a book can be so well researched, yet so fun to read!
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