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Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
19

on September 1, 2016
Recently, I reviewed an excellent book by Scott Barry Kaufman and Carolyn Gregoire, Wired to Create: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Creative Mind, which summarized ten habits research has revealed are typical of the creative mind, habits we can cultivate in ourselves to improve our own creativity: Imaginative Play, Passion, Daydreaming, Solitude, Intuition, Openness to Experience, Mindfulness, Sensitivity, Turning Adversity into Advantage, Thinking Differently.

Harry W. Hoover’s Born Creative maintains that we all are born creative, but some of us don’t believe we are, and so we aren’t. He cites a Harvard Business Review (HBR) study that found that those who think they are not creative, are not, and those who think they are creative, are. A skeptic could conclude the respondents simply correctly summarized their past experience, but Hoover would side with invetor Henry Ford, credited with, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.” Ford’s implied urging toward positive thinking shares the same possible fallacy, but never mind: regardless of the degree to which we are innately creative, we can all do better, and Hoover’s little book aims to help us.

Hoover offers HBR’s five-question test to gauge our “creative mindset.” It asks yes/no questions about associational thinking, questioning, observing, idea networking, and experimenting. If you score as “not creative” don’t despair: you can change. Harry Hoover will help you. After all, some study found that although the average adult thinks up two or three alternatives for “any given situation,” the average child thinks of 60. No wonder kids find so many ways to get into trouble!

Born Creative differs from Wired to Create in assuming that we are all pretty much creative, rather than just some of us, and that we can all learn to do better.

There’s a chapter here on how to beat self-doubt. Hoover was influenced by Michael Gelb’s How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci, and material in that book and a comment by David Norris helped him realize that his time was more precious than his income, especially when he was spending a couple of hours a day commuting. He altered his career trajectory and now works from home. It took courage to make the change.

Chapter 3, “The ‘I Am' List,” has a clever exercise: Leaving the first entry blank, write down 30 things you are good at. When all done, put as #1 “I am really creative.” Read it morning and bedtime for 10 days. You’ll feel more creative. It is auto-suggestion, success by association.

Chapter 4, “A Fish Tale,” tells of a shark that died of starvation once it mistakenly became convinced it could no longer catch the live minnows being fed it. If we think we cannot, we cannot.

Chapter 5, “How to Brainstorm,” emphasizes the need to keep pushing the group for more ideas, while shielding each participant from criticism. Crucial elements described are: proper preparation, a skilled facilitator, generating without denigrating, suspending judgment, quantity not quality to start, going beyond reason, and piggybacking one idea on another. Also, capture the ideas in writing.

Chapter 6, “Creativity Exercises,” includes visual artistry suggestions that are far from my literary/numerical bent, and then it goes into Mind mapping, a useful method of displaying ideas so as to generate new connections.

Chapter 7, “SCAMMPERR for Creativity,” uses that nine-letter acronym to suggest the following approaches: Substitute, Combine, Adapt, Magnify, Modify, Put to another use, Eliminate, Rearrange, Reverse. Hoover explains each of these with examples.

Chapter 8, “A More Creative You,” starts by citing Nobelist chemist Linus Pauling to the effect that the best way to generate a good idea is to generate a lot of ideas.

Born Creative ends with some valuable resource citations, books and internet sites.

This is a well-written, helpful, and succinct ebook at a fair price.
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on September 29, 2015
Harry Hoover has produced a book well worth the read if you are looking for tools to improve your personal or group’s creative process. He correctly insists that if we are to expand our inventive horizons, we must first believe in ourselves and in our own potential for creativity. His writing style is practical, thankfully lacking in the kind of psycho-babble often associated with other books on the subject. Hoover’s straight forward ideas combined with inspiring illustrations, come from a writer who has obviously mastered personal creativity through years of thinking and then creating. I wholeheartedly recommend the book. As the title suggests, free your mind – free yourself.

-Kenneth Mills, Ph.D.
Counseling Psychologist, Cognitive Behavioral Therapist
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on September 25, 2015
What a great resource to help jumpstart anyone's creativity! First Harry Hoover debunks the idea that only some people are born creative. He makes the case that we all are and then provides a toolbox full of ideas to spur us on. A fun quick read, this book is one I will refer to often. I loved his take on brainstorming. As someone who has sat through far too many brainstorming sessions, I absolutely agree that it's an exercise for one. Another approach he suggests, which was new to me, is having someone write three ideas on paper and passing it on to the next person to do the same. At the end, a robust list of ideas is ready for discussion, without the inevitable judgment that creeps in during brainstorming sessions. The book is full of different ways to look at any situation. So simple, yet brilliant. I can't wait to put his ideas into practice.
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on December 19, 2015
Quick, deceptively simple ways to boost your creativity. I've taught classes and offered workshops for years on developing the creative process -- and this book offers helpful techniques in an effective, do-it-yourself format. You have the potential to be creative -- we all do. The only question is whether you've developed your ability. Here are plenty of exercises, supported by solid research, to help you make the most of your creative ability. Being able to spot issues, solve problems, encourage others -- all those are competitive advantages in any setting. This book offers practical application rather than mere theory -- something you can pick up and start using.
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on February 4, 2016
Very straight forward advice and direction. Was both a helpful reminder as to what I should be doing and some new ideas as well.
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on January 18, 2016
Good book with some excellent points
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on October 31, 2016
Written by a brand strategist, Born Creative shares with the reader a unique insight into understanding how to leverage the creative process. Hoover defines creativity as the tendency to generate, or recognize ideas, alternatives, or even possibilities that may prove useful in solving problems, communicating, and even entertaining ourselves.

Focusing on the full range of our innate creativity, Hoover espouses upon the concept of the genesis of creativity and removing hindrances to its development. He references several studies, quite pertinent to societal concerns. The author hints, though subtlety, at the power of positive affirmations.

The central theme, overcoming the obstacles hampering the creative process, is SCAMMPERR. This is a method for developing an original idea. As previously mentioned, there are societal concerns that this book presents a solution for. Quite a large number of individuals are concerned with financial freedom, losing weight, educating our children, and the pursuit of happiness. Yet, something is always stopping them. What is the answer? Hoover presents, in this easy-to-read booklet a method to assist freelancers, dieters, and even budding authors in developing solutions and alternatives to some of the aforementioned problems.

Why five stars?
This is an excellent and timely resource that can be referred to many times.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book, through Reading Deals, in exchange for an honest review.
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on April 19, 2016
I was asked to review this book by the author.
This is an honest and unbiased review.

Sometimes, you have something to say and it's too short for a book or too long for a blog post. "Born Creative" moves in between and that is great.
I can tell Harry has explore creativity for a long time. Somehow, so have I and that is where I connected. This book goes straight to the point and has some good pointers about how to unleash the creativity we all have.
Before reading this book, I have tried several of the examples by myself so I can properly say they work magic. I mean, creativity is quite private, particular and different for each and every one of us, but overall, the subjects, ideas and advices the book has are fresh, concise and relevant.

A good book to read while commuting (however, it is a "do it" book, so after reading, you need to start working on the ideas the book delves into).
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on July 1, 2016
Born Creative: Free Your Mind, Free Yourself by Harry Hoover is just a great little book for jumpstarting creativity. It can serve as a solid reminder for those who have been exposed to some of this thinking before, and can be a great starting point for those who are new to the topic.

I personally tried the “I am” list and found the exercise to be helpful in getting over a mental hurdle I was having at the time. The sections on Combine, Substitute, Adapt, etc. are a starting point for further exploration if the topic suits your need.

This is probably a book that someone in a creative field (or anyone really) should make a point to reread on frequent occasions. It won’t take long on subsequent reads, and it might just jog a thought or two about something that you should be doing.
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on August 2, 2016
This is a fun and light read but it leaves behind great impact.
It may not have much NEW information but it has important information and by the time you finish, only a few minutes, really, you will be feeling energized and more creative.
I suggest you actually do the exercises recommended on a regular basis

Give this book to your kids before hey head off to college and to your parents before they retire.
Keep a copy for yourself!

I downloaded a free copy of this book to review but I will buy extra copies for those I care about.
“I was provided a complimentary copy of this book so I could give an honest review.”
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