Synopses & Reviews
Praise for Your Creative Brain
"Shelley Carson has fashioned an original synthesis of the copious findings about the creative process. She gracefully interweaves research findings and practical tips, suggestive cases and provocative puzzles, timely and shrewd advice."
—Howard Gardner, Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education; author of Creating Minds, Multiple Intelligences, and Five Minds for the Future
"A revolutionary approach to expand the creative power of your mind. Supported by the latest findings of neuroscience, Dr. Shelley Carson helps you to take charge of your brain to maximize your creative potential."
—Bernard Golden, PhD, author of Unlock Your Creative Genius
"There are countless self-help books on the market, but this one is grounded in actual findings from modern neuroscience. Read a couple of its fascinating anecdotes, try a couple of the self-administered tests or the mental exercises, and you will have difficulty putting the book down."
—Harrison G. Pope Jr., MD, professor of psychiatry, Harvard Medical School
"If you want to become more creative—and you should!—Shelley Carson's new book offers a workshop on how to get there: brilliant, effective, and fun!"
—Dean Keith Simonton, PhD, Distinguished Professor of Psychology, University of California, Davis; author of Genius 101, Origins of Genius, Scientific Genius, and Genius, Creativity, and Leadership
"Dr. Carson has written an engaging and stimulating book that is as informative as it is innovative and—above all—creative!"
—Stephen M. Kosslyn, John Lindsley Professor of Psychology in Memory of William James, Harvard University
"Working as a TV series writer, producer, and director—always under pressure and time restraints—I found Shelley Carson's book, Your Creative Brain, unbelievably informative and helpful."
—Peter Marc Jacobson, creator of the television series The Nanny
"Creativity in the twenty-first century is not a luxury but a necessity. Your Creative Brain is the most insightful, practical—and creative—book on creativity I've read."
—Tal Ben-Shahar, author of Happier
Basing this book on her Harvard psychology course, Creativity: Madmen, Geniuses, and Harvard Students, Carson sees creativity in a broader context—not just coming up with new ideas but being able to evaluate them and put the good ones to practical use. Each phase of this process utilizes different brain states, and each person feels more comfortable in some brain states than in others. Carson includes self-tests for discovering which brain states the student favors, exercises to strengthen the weaker brain states, and help in sticking to the program. Unlike most self-help books, this is grounded in solid experimental work. The only downside is that the actual text is a bit dull, and attempts to lighten it (e.g., with a series of unfunny jokes and cartoons about a creative caveman and his dim sidekick) fall flat. Readers with whom this title will resonate will probably skip straight to the "What brainset do you prefer?" quiz. VERDICT Readers who liked Michael Gelb's How To Think Like Leonardo da Vinci will love this. So will the self-improvement and business seminar–loving crowd. And for once they're getting some substance! (Library Journal, September 15, 2010)
Research-based techniques that show everyone how to expand creativity and increase productivity
Harvard psychologist Shelley Carson?s provocative book, published in partnership with Harvard Health Publications, reveals why creativity isn't something only scientists, investors, artists, writers, and musicians enjoy; in fact, all of us use our creative brains every day at home, work and play.? Each of us has the ability to increase our mental functioning and creativity by learning to move flexibly among several brain states.
- Explains seven brain states or "brainsets" and their functions as related to creativity, productivity, and innovation
- Provides quizzes, exercises, and self-tests to activate each of these seven brainsets to unlock our maximum creativity
Your Creative Brain, called by critics a ?new classic? in the field of creativity, offers inspiring suggestions that can be applied in both one?s personal and professional life.
Can sitting in front of a light box increase your creativity more than listening to a Bach concerto?
In Your Creative Brain, Harvard psychologist Shelley Carson explains that creativity isn't something only scientists, inventors, artists, writers, and musicians enjoy, but rather all of us use our creative brains every day at home and at work. Everyone has the ability to increase mental functioning and creativity by understanding and putting into play seven brain activation patterns Dr. Carson has coined the CREATES brainsets: Connect, Reason, Envision, Absorb, Transform, Evaluate, and Stream.
Step-by-step, Carson shows how these seven brainsets affect the way we experience the world around us and how each brainset contributes to the process of creative problem solving. The book is filled with entertaining (and often surprising) exercises, quizzes, and self-tests that will help you take advantage of your creative potential and enrich your life.
This vital resource can also help you meet the challenges and opportunities of today's complex world. The rulebooks for virtually every aspect of human endeavor and interactionfrom corporate life to personal life to dating and even parentingare being rewritten right in the middle of the game. So if all the old bets are off, how do you survive and thrive? The most important asset you have for negotiating this rapidly changing world is your creative brain.
This provocative book reveals why sitting in front of a light box can increase your creativity more than listening to a Bach concerto. Harvard psychologist Shelley Carson, Ph.D., explains that creativity isn't something only scientists, investors, artists, writers, and musicians enjoy; in fact, all of us use our creative brains every day at home and at work. Since its initial release, Your Creative Brain
has been the recipient of several awards, including The Will Solimene Award for Excellence from the American Medical Writers Association, as well as the Living Now Book of the Year Award.
Praise for Your Creative Brain
"Basing this book on her Harvard psychology course, 'Creativity: Madmen, Geniuses, and Harvard Students,' Carson sees creativity in a broader contextnot just coming up with new ideas but being able to evaluate them and put the good ones to practical use. . . . Unlike most self-help books, this is grounded in solid experimental work. . . . VERDICT: Readers who liked Michael Gelb's How To Think Like Leonardo da Vinci will love this. So will the self-improvement and business seminarloving crowd. And for once they're getting some substance!"Library Journal
"Interweaves research findings and practical tips, suggestive cases and provocative puzzles, timely and shrewd advice."Howard Gardner, Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education, Harvard, and author of Creating Minds, Multiple Intelligences, and Five Minds for the Future
"A revolutionary approach to expand the creative power of your mind. Supported by the latest findings of neuroscience, Dr. Shelley Carson helps you to take charge of your brain to maximize your creative potential."Bernard Golden, PhD, author of Unlock Your Creative Genius
About the Author
Shelley Carson, Ph.D., teaches, conducts research, and publishes on the topics of creativity, psychopathology, and resilience at Harvard University. Her work has been featured on the Discovery Channel, CNN, and NPR, and she has won multiple teaching awards for her popular course Creativity: Madmen, Geniuses, and Harvard Students.
Table of Contents
part 1 Meet Your Creative Brain 1
1 Wanted: Your Creative Brain 3
Why activating your creativity is important to individual and societal well-being
2 Your Mental Comfort Zone 13
Introduction to the seven brainsets
Fun quizzes to determine which brainset is your mental comfort zone
3 Tour Your Creative Brain 39
Brief introduction to the parts of brain that are important to the creative process
4 Brainsets and the Creative Process 55
Description of the stages that comprise both the deliberate and the spontaneous creative process
part 2 Training Your Creative Brain 71
5 Opening the Mind: Accessing the Absorb Brainset 73
Access externally and internally generated information with an uncritical eye
6 Imagining the Possibilities: Accessing the Envision Brainset 103
Use the power of mental imagery to construct creative ideas
7 Thinking Divergently: Accessing the Connect Brainset 123
Associate novel information to produce a multitude of ideas
8 Shaping the Creative Idea: Accessing the Reason Brainset 155
Consciously work through a creative “problem”
9 Recognizing Useful Ideas: Accessing the Evaluate Brainset 181
Evaluate creative ideas for appropriateness
10 Using Emotion Creatively: Accessing the Transform Brainset 207
Put your negative emotions to work for you
11 Performing Creatively: Accessing the Stream Brainset 233
Practice skill-appropriate improvisation
part 3 Putting the CREATES Strategies to Work 257
12 Flexing Your Creative Brain 259
Exercises for switching between brainsets to enhance cognitive flexibility
13 Applying the Brainsets to Real-World Creativity 279
Tips for using the brainsets in all stages of the creative process
1 How to Score the CREATES Brainsets Assessment 293
2 The Token Economy System 305
3 The Daily Activities Calendar 309
About the Author 357
About Harvard Medical School 358
To Stevie and Nacie—the creative bookends of my life