Hi, I am Rebecca’s husband and decided to have some fun by contributing a review. I wanted to read Imagine: How Creativity Works ever since I saw Rebecca’s cousin, Alyssa, with it. I read the synopsis and the description instantly piqued my interest.
Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer was a fantastic book that provided different anecdotes on the sometimes hard to describe subject of creativity. It was interesting to learn how some people came to be so-called “creative geniuses” and how some innovative products came to fruition.
The introduction of the book describes how Proctor and Gamble was searching for a new floor cleaner, but could not think of anything groundbreaking. Later, they hired a research firm to help conduct market research for a new product. The firm watched countless hours of video footage of people cleaning their floors (sounds awful). This challenge seemed hopeless until the breakthrough moment occurred when they witnessed an old lady spill coffee grounds on her floor. They watched her wet a paper towel and wipe up the grounds. This single act led to a revelation and as a result, the Swiffer mop was born.
There are many interesting stories throughout the book. For example, the creation of the Barbie doll had unlikely roots. A mom wanted to have grown-up looking dolls for her daughter, but all the toy companies at the time thought little girls didn’t want to play with grown-up dolls. While vacationing in Europe with her family, the mom discovered a grown-up looking doll in a shop window. Unbeknownst to her, the doll was actually a sex symbol. She bought one and convinced her husband, who happened to be an executive at the Mattel toy company, to pitch the idea to management. The book goes on to say that being an outsider aids with the creative process.
The book offers other tips to harness our own creativity. For instance, our best ideas usually come when we step away from the problem and relax. Hence, we sometimes have our best ideas in the shower or while we are driving. I will definitely use these tips in both my personal and professional life. Overall, Imagine reminded of the book Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell and I would recommend both as they are light and interesting non-fiction reads.