Zig Zag: The Surprising Path to Greater Creativity

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Overview

Praise for Zig Zag

"Finally! A creativity advice book that's grounded in scientific research."
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, author, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience

"Zig Zag is the most fun and most useful creativity book I have ever read. Keith Sawyer's gem sweeps you up with a host of great stories, quizzes, and exercises and teaches you one way after the other to be more creative."
Robert I. Sutton, professor of Management Science, ...

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Overview

Praise for Zig Zag

"Finally! A creativity advice book that's grounded in scientific research."
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, author, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience

"Zig Zag is the most fun and most useful creativity book I have ever read. Keith Sawyer's gem sweeps you up with a host of great stories, quizzes, and exercises and teaches you one way after the other to be more creative."
Robert I. Sutton, professor of Management Science, Stanford University; author, Good Boss, Bad Boss and The No Asshole Rule

"In geometry the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. But in creative pursuits, Zig Zag shows us, it's anything but. Keith Sawyer is the most creative person writing about creativity that I know."
Robert Mankoff, cartoon editor, The New Yorker; author, The Naked Cartoonist: A New Way to Enhance Your Creativity

"Creativity is essential in our journey to the future, and this gem of a book helps each of us on the way."
Tim Brown, chief executive officer and president, IDEO; author, Change by Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation

"Keith Sawyer is the best combination of a brilliant creativity researcher and storyteller around."
Peter Sims, author, Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries

"Zig Zag reveals the true nature of the creative process: improvisational, surprising, with unexpected twists and turns. The book is filled with hands-on activities that help you manage that process and keep it moving forward to a successful creative outcome."
Josh Linkner, author, Disciplined Dreaming: A Proven System to Drive Breakthrough Creativity

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
As emerging technologies continue to challenge production status quo within institutions throughout all economic sectors, the ability to apply creative thinking is an essential component to the 21st-century job skill set. Sawyer (psychology, education, business, Washington Univ., St. Louis; Group Genius), a former student of renowned Hungarian psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience) whose expertise on the creative process Sawyer draws from and outlines here in his steps to creativity, challenges the assumption that learning how to be creative is counterintuitive. Using science-based research and engaging examples, Sawyer illustrates eight steps that he contends “zig zag” on the nonlinear and iterative path to success: ask, learn, look, play, think, fuse, choose, and make. Sawyer delineates the goal and process of each step with easy-to-follow mental exercises and techniques.

Verdict An engaging, highly readable, and well-referenced handbook. Recommended for all audiences; students will appreciate the techniques, exercises, and insight based on Sawyer’s grounded expertise.—Jane Scott, George Fox Univ. Lib., Newberg, OR
(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781118297704
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 3/18/2013
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 293,773
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Keith Sawyer, PhD, is associate professor of psychology, education, and business at Washington University in St. Louis. An accomplished jazz pianist and former video game designer for Atari, he has published widely on the topics of collaboration and creativity. His book Group Genius won awards from Library Journal and (800) CEO-READ and has been translated into many languages. He is the proud owner of a collection of vintage Grateful Dead bootleg tapes, his childhood piano teacher's old (but working) accordion, and a 1982 BMW motorcycle (also working). To learn more, visit keithsawyer.com.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Choosing Creativity 1

Step One ASK: How the Right Questions Lead to the Most Novel Answers 19

Find the Question

Search the Space

Transform the Problem

Step Two LEARN: How to Prepare Your Mind for Constant Creativity 49

Practice Deliberately

Master Your Domain

Learn Forever

Balance Specialty with Generality

Step Three LOOK: How to Be Aware of the Answers All Around You 73

Use Fresh Eyes

Grab New Sights and Cool Sounds

Render It Visible

Step Four PLAY: How to Free Your Mind to Imagine Possible Worlds 101

Visualize

Relax

Find the Right Box

Be a Beginner

Step Five THINK: How to Have Way More Ideas Than You’ll Ever Need 129

Ideate

Transform

Schedule

Step Six FUSE: How to Combine Ideas in Surprising NewWays 153

Force-Fuse

Make Analogies

Do a People Mash-Up

Step Seven CHOOSE: How to Pick the Best Ideas and Then Make Them Even Better 173

Know What You’re Looking For

Host an Idea Competition

Look Past the Good

Edit, Revise, Improve

Step Eight MAKE: How Getting Your Ideas Out into the World Drives Creativity Forward 195

Draw It

See It

Build It

Make It Concrete

Reflect on It

Conclusion 215

Appendix A: Outline of All of the Steps, Practices, and Techniques 229

Appendix B: The Research Behind the Eight Steps 237

References 243

Acknowledgments 261

About the Author 263

Index 265

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