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Elizabeth Gilbert on a new way of thinking about creativity.

“Eat, Pray, Love” Author Elizabeth Gilbert muses on the impossible things we expect from artists and geniuses — and shares the radical idea that, instead of the rare person “being” a genius, all of us “have” a genius. It’s a funny, personal and surprisingly moving talk.

Here are five great books on writing and a creative life. These are not “tip books” or self-help guides, they will not give you a quick-and-easy shortcuts or try to convince you that anything but practice and effort will make you a better writer and a more creative person. This short list represents a small sample of some of the best titles out there and come heavily recommended. Read one of these books, and you will no doubt devour the rest in turn. So, lets begin.

1) On Writing Well by William Zinsser

“This book is as engaging as it is instructive. It’s so easy to read and understand, you can’t help but improve. It spells out everything that’s wrong most people’s writing, then provides simple solutions. You’ll cut pounds of fat from your writing. Your sentences will sparkle and your paragraphs will dance. Best of all, your readers will read, not groan.”

Read more reviews of this book.


2) Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

“I’m hooked on Lamott. She slaps me in the face with her startling revelations, nudges me in the ribs with her unpredictable humor, and prods my frozen little writer’s hands back into action with warm compassion. This book won’t solve the mechanical aspects of my writing, or lead me on the path of structural excellence, but it will spark my creativity, free my characters to be true to themselves, and, ultimately, shake me from my doldrums back into the writing mode.”

Read more reviews of this book.

3) The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp

“I’ve seen many books on creativity, but this is by far the most practical and accessible one I’ve read. Tharp knows that it takes hard work and good habits to create something tangible, and she doesn’t waste our precious time on mystical mumbo jumbo or some magical “way” of the artist. It’s the work, folks.”

Read more reviews of this book.


4) On Writing by Stephen King

“No matter if you are a non-writing King-reader or if you are a writing King non-reader, On Writing will entertain, teach, and open your eyes to the complex world of (creating) fiction. ‘Creating’ fiction, because it is not just writing in proper grammar that makes a book good. It is the determination, the love, feel and creativity the author pours into his/her piece. And King most certainly brought all these points – and more – very well together.”

Read more reviews of this book.

5) The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and Roger Angell

“Put the principles laid out in this slim book to use, and you will write better than ninety-nine percent of college educated Americans. Anyone reading your writing will thank you for it.”

Read more reviews of this book.


“Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere.”

Carl Sagan

“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”

Henry David Thoreau

“Every great advance in science has issued from a new audacity of the imagination.”

John Dewey

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For while knowledge defines all we currently know and understand, imagination points to all we might yet discover and create.”

Albert Einstein

“Think of it as a theater, from a lighting and engineering standpoint. But it’s not a performance space. It’s an engagement space.”

Jay Walker

Colony Collapse Disorder (or CCD) is a phenomenon in which worker bees from a beehive or Western honey bee colony abruptly disappear. While such disappearances have occurred throughout the history of apiculture, the term Colony Collapse Disorder was first applied to a drastic rise in the number of disappearances of Western honey bee colonies in North America in late 2006. European beekeepers observed similar phenomena, albeit to a lesser degree.

The cause or causes of the syndrome are not yet fully understood, although many authorities attribute the problem to biotic factors such as Varroa mites and insect diseases (i.e., pathogens including Nosema apis and Israel acute paralysis virus). Other proposed causes include environmental change-related stresses, malnutrition and pesticides (e.g. neonicotinoids such as imidacloprid), and migratory beekeeping.” <wiki>

Note: In the most recent episode of The Simpsons (Season 20, Ep.08), Lisa’s subplot refers to the current world wide disappearance of bees. <DailyGreen>

“A meme is any learned feeling, thought or behavior. Examples include thoughts, ideas, theories, practices, habits, songs, dances and moods. Memes propagate themselves and can move through a sociological “culture” in a manner similar to the behavior of a virus. As a unit of cultural evolution, a meme in some ways resembles a biological gene.

The word “meme” is a neologism coined in 1976 by Richard Dawkins to describe how one might extend Darwinian principles to explain the spread of ideas and cultural phenomena. He gave as examples tunes, catch-phrases, beliefs, clothing-fashions, and the technology of building arches.

Meme-theorists contend that memes evolve by natural selection (similarly to Darwinian biological evolution) through the processes of variation, mutation, competition, and inheritance influencing an individual entity’s reproductive success. So with memes, some ideas will propagate less successfully and become extinct, while others will survive, spread, and, for better or for worse, mutate. “Memeticists argue that the memes most beneficial to their hosts will not necessarily survive; rather, those memes that replicate the most effectively spread best, which allows for the possibility that successful memes may prove detrimental to their hosts.” <wiki>

This talk of ‘temes’ sounds quite similar to what Kevin Kelly has described as the Technium. I’ve mentioned this in a previous post. You should definitely check it out.

Lawrence Lessig – <wiki> <home>




Creativity Always Builds on the Past: An Introduction to the Creative Commons

Pending the embedded format, here is a direct link.
I just want to share this with you right now.


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