The Take-Away: The Myths of Creativity is a highly readable book that’s a solid summary of research and anecdotal evidence about what really works when it comes to encouraging creativity and innovation.
The Review: I became acquainted with David Burkus’ writing through LDRLB, an online publication of his that shares insights from research on leadership, innovation, and strategy. Unlike many academics (Burkus is assistant professor of management at the College of Business at Oral Roberts University), his writing is accessible and easy to digest. So when I saw that he was producing a book debunking commonly held beliefs about creativity, I knew I had to see it.
He was kind enough to send me a review copy, and I have not been disappointed. The Myths of Creativity covers a range of erroneous assumptions members of our culture tend to make about the creative process, from the Eureka myth (creative insights come out of the blue, like lightening bolts) and the Breed myth (creatives are a special “type” unlike other people), to the still all-to-commonly applied Incentive myth (which posits that increasing external rewards will amplify the level of creativity being produced).
Burkus is not the first person to explore this territory – Scott Burkun covered much of the same territory in his Myths of Innovation. However, Burkus’ new book has an exceptionally high level of readability without “dumbing down” what he is writing about. He’s also focused on helping readers understand why perfectly good ideas do NOT thrive at a certain moment in the marketplace or world stage, then blossom later, either in the hands of the original creator or a new innovator who tries a different approach or combines the original creator’s inspiration with something else.
The Myths of Creativity is a good read for any artist or innovator who wants to understand why their creations are getting “stuck” before launching out into the world, or for anyone who wants fact-based responses to those who reduce creativity to a simple set of outdated and stereotyped notions.
Watch David Burkus explain “why great ideas get rejected”: