Creating Minds: An Anatomy of Creativity Seen Through the Lives of Freud, Einstein, Picasso, Stravinsky, Eliot, Graham, and Gandhi. Howard Gardner. New York: Basic Books. A Division of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. 1993. (2)
10-second review: Studies the characteristics of creative people.
“…my approach to the study of creativity begins in focused biography—in an intensive examination of the periods in the life of a creative individual when a breakthrough was conceptualized, realized, and reacted to by knowledgeable individuals and relevant institutions.” p. 13.
“The key idea in the psychologist’s conception of creativity has been divergent thinking…. By standard measures intelligent people are thought of as convergers—people who, given some data or puzzle, can figure out the correct…response. In contrast, when given a stimulus or puzzle, creative people tend to come up with many different associations, at least some of which are idiosyncratic and possibly unique.” p. 20.
“What may distinguish creative individuals is their ways of productively using the insights, feelings, and expressions of childhood.” p. 32. ………. Let me begin, then, by offering a definition of the creative individual…a person who regularly solves problems, fashions products or defines new questions…in a way that is initially considered novel but that ultimately becomes accepted….” p. 35. ………. “For my discussion, Freud is emblematic—a stunning demonstration that one may attain the heights of creativity…through the intrapersonal examination of one’s own thoughts and feelings, and in his case, persistence even when no one else displays sympathy or understanding of what one is doing.” p. 86.
“Einstein was a man of seeming contradictions: an individual some ways young, in other ways mature beyond his years; a nonbeliever who spent much time thinking about God; a pacifist who stimulated the production of the most deadly weapon in history; a scientific radical who spent his last years seeking to refute the radical new scientific paradigm; a scientist whose own standards…were quintessentially aesthetic.” p. 130.
Comment: If you enjoyed some of these ideas about the nature of creativity, you need to read the book. RayS.