The Myths of Creativity: The Truth About How Innovative Companies and People Generate Great Ideas

The Myths of Creativity: The Truth About How Innovative Companies and People Generate Great Ideas

by David Burkus


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How to get past the most common myths about creativity to design truly innovative strategies

We tend to think of creativity in terms reminiscent of the ancient muses: divinely-inspired, unpredictable, and bestowed upon a lucky few. But when our jobs challenge us to be creative on demand, we must develop novel, useful ideas that will keep our organizations competitive. The Myths of Creativity demystifies the processes that drive innovation. Based on the latest research into how creative individuals and firms succeed, David Burkus highlights the mistaken ideas that hold us back and shows us how anyone can embrace a practical approach, grounded in reality, to finding the best new ideas, projects, processes, and programs.

  • Answers questions such as: What causes us to be creative in one moment and void in the next? What makes someone more or less creative than his or her peers? Where do our flashes of creative insight come from, and how can we generate more of them?
  • Debunks 10 common myths, including: the Eureka Myth; the Lone Creator Myth; the Incentive Myth; and The Brainstorming Myth
  • Written by David Burkus, founder of popular leadership blog LDRLB

For anyone who struggles with creativity, or who makes excuses for delaying the work of innovation, The Myths of Creativity will help you overcome your obstacles to finding new ideas.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781118611142
Publisher: Wiley
Publication date: 10/14/2013
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 595,514
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

David Burkus is the founder and editor of LDRLB, an online publication that shares insights from research on leadership, innovation, and strategy. He is assistant professor of management at Oral Roberts University and also a regular columnist for 99U and The Creativity Post. He lives outside Tulsa, Oklahoma, with his wife and son.

For more information, please visit or on Twitter via @davidburkus.

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Table of Contents

1 The Creative Mythology 1

2 The Eureka Myth 17

3 The Breed Myth 33

4 The Originality Myth 49

5 The Expert Myth 67

6 The Incentive Myth 87

7 The Lone Creator Myth 105

8 The Brainstorming Myth 125

9 The Cohesive Myth 141

10 The Constraints Myth 159

11 The Mousetrap Myth 177

Notes 195

Acknowledgments 203

About the Author 205

Index 207

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The Myths of Creativity: The Truth About How Innovative Companies and People Generate Great Ideas 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Creativity is a timeless entity that will never dry up or never go out of style; it will always find its way into the heart of society, never relenting into being forgotten. The faith that creativity ensues into people will make them long time believers, whether it is in the gods to make them creative or to use a scientific formula to grant them creativity, people believe in a system to get them from nothing to something in terms of ideas. The face that this book has touched on both in a short time and showing us methods of inducing creativity is a great feat in itself. The art of using multiple references to start a point is used too often and more often than not, fails to drive the point home, this books however, is the bright and shining exemption. Great read - Chris Owens
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Myths of Creativity by David Burkus provides a well-researched analysis of common “myths” about the nature of creativity. Drawing on the metaphor of the Muses who were believed to inspire the creativity of the Greeks, Burkus evaluates 10 common myths about the nature of creativity, providing clear examples and case studies that demonstrate the false assumptions associated with each myth. Burkus writing style is engaging and well organized. He provides real world examples drawing both from history and contemporary case studies that serve to debunk the myths.  Through each myth, Burkus emphasizes creativity as a process that aligns an individual’s personal knowledge, engagement, creative thinking capacity and supportive environment. The myths typically reflect a misunderstanding of creativity as a dynamic process. For example, a common image of creativity is to draw a light bulb over a person’s head. The “Eureka Myth” debunks the perspective that creativity emerges from sudden ideas of genius. More often, these moments accentuate a much longer process of unconscious reflection before an idea comes together. 
Michael_Lee_Stallard More than 1 year ago
David Burkus’ new book, "The Myths of Creativity: The Truth About How Innovative Companies and People Generate Great Ideas," is among the best business books I’ve read this year.  It provides a valuable review of research and practices related to the process of innovation. It’s impossible to read "The Myths of Creativity" and not come away with new, useful practices that will improve your ability to innovate.   I highly recommend it.   Readers of this book will gain a newfound appreciation for just how difficult innovation is.  Fortunately, Burkus equips readers with practices to help individuals and organizations overcome the biases and potential pitfalls that frequently derail innovation.  For example, Burkus shows how conflict is a necessary part of the process and represents a risk to innovation if it gets personal.  He then goes on to provide a solution by describing the practice Pixar developed that employs conflict in a constructive way while keeping it from escalating into internal combat.  I liked the way Burkus organized the book into ten myths about creativity including the Eureka Myth, the Lone Creator Myth and the Constraints Myth. I also appreciated that the book is under 200 pages in length, and is easy to dip in and out of.  Today’s readers of business books, many of whom suffer from time poverty, will enjoy Burkus’ straight forward, cut-to-the-chase, high value-added writing style.