The Creative Curve
The Creative Curve summary

The Creative Curve

Rating: 9/10

Author: Allen Gannet Read More on Amazon

High-Level Thoughts

Such an eye-opening and mind-blowing book. Society has for too long put creativity geniuses as a pedestal and chalk up all their success due to pure god-given talent. Gannett aims to break this misconception and turn creativity into a scientific process that anyone can become gifted at. I recommend this book to anyone and everyone!

The Creative Curve Summary

"If people knew how hard I worked to achieve my mastery, it wouldn't seem so wonderful after all" - Michaelangelo

Ch 1: The Making of a Dream

  • Inspiration theory of creativity: the idea that creative success results from a mysterious flash of genius.
  • Gives of an example of Paul Mcartnery who wakes up with a melody (which would later go on to become the most recorded song in history) and uses it to create a full song 20 months later after constant modifications and effort. Many experts believe this melody that Paul Mcartney "created" most likely came from him listening to "Georgia on my mind" from Ray Charles as the Beetles were big fans.
  • For Paul McCartney, what look like divine inspiration was in fact likely the result of subconscious processing of music he loved and through the evolution of chord projections became the hit single "Yesterday"

Ch 2: Learning a Lie

  • By decoding the right patterns, you can achieve goals ranging from frivolous to very meaningful.
  • Marketing is supposed to be one of the most creative parts of business. Yet according to the Content Marketing Institue, only 30% of consumer marketers believe that their content works. For business to business marketing that number is less than 3%. Failure has become the status quo for marketers.
  • Marketers are unconsciously following the traditional myth of the inspiration theory of creativity.
  • Marketers focus too much on brainstorming and inspiration (white boards scattered around the office and open-space that courages collaboration)
  • In a recent global study only 25% of people believe they are fulfilling their creative potential, and only a handful go on to become the next Pablo Picasso or Steve Jobs.
  • Definition of creativity is the ability to create something that is novel AND brings value
  • People crave the familiar, yet seek the novel, this creates a bell shaped curve, with the peak signaling some sort of trend happening.
  • Creative geniuses consistently outperform the rest of society by either subconsciously or consciously utilizing the laws of the creative curve to develop a scalable system of success that helpers them discover create ideas that combine just the right blend of familiar and novel . - pg 19

Ch 3: The Origin of the Myth

  • Terman a scientist who believed that high IQ (over 135) led to success was proven wrong after doing a study of 1521 young geniuses and following their progress throughout life. All of them were surprisingly average, a few became prominent, but no one achieved ground breaking success like winning the nobel prize.
  • A different study comparing two different groups showed that the successful group had more "confidence, persistence, and early parental encouragement".
  • Over the past centuries we have built this godly image of what a genius is (with no real scientific evidence), and society today has fed into that belief.

Ch 4: What is Talent?

  • Study done in Austria shows that IQ and creativity are correlated only up to a threshold of about 86, after that a person with an IQ of 87 can be just as creative as someone with an IQ of 150.
  • Jonathan Hardesty becomes one of the most talented artists in the world through 13 years of practice, starting from the age of 20, and documenting his learning journey on his website.
  • Mental models, not just experience leads to success. (Not just 10000 hours of practice)
  • Automaticity is the enemy of growing your expertise. Example: many people have driven 10,000 hours but are no where near the skill level of race car drivers, because they were not deliberate about the way they drove.
  • 10,000 hours is an arbitrary number, many times it can take less or way more hours to become one of the best in the world.
  • Brain plasticity → brain structure can be changed and molded depending on your different experiences. Men and women create 1400 new brain cells everyday.

Ch 5: What is a Genius?

  • Gives example Darwin and Alfred Wallace who discovered natural selection at the same time, but who do we remember in the history books?
  • For someone to be considered a creative genius, their innovation has to be accepted by the masses.
  • Three elements to label someone a genius:
  1. Subject Matter → understand the domain your trying to break ground in and understand what exists already.
  2. Gatekeepers → people who decide what is creative. Reviewers, records labels, art gallery owners, venture capitalists, etc. The internet however has lessened has made this world less strict and more democratic.
  3. The Individual → Need to be technically talented, and also have practical attributes that allow them to engage with media, consumers and gatekeepers.

Ch 6: The Creative Curve

  • mere exposure effect → there is a near-seamless linear relationship between familiarity and how positive people thought something was and how much they liked it.
  • "Dopamine is not so much about the pleasure of consuming something, it's about the motivation to obtain something that's signaled by dopamine" → the motivation neurotransmitter.
  • Key to understanding commercial success, is understand the nuances of the creative curve. Good execution is necessary but not enoguh.

Ch 7: Law 1: Consumption

  • cultural awareness → a real-time consciousness of what is familiar, what is good and what is cliche. Being able to identify where an idea falls on the creative curve.
  • The CCO of Netflix was a clerk at a video rental store and watched every single movie in the store, and became a recommendation machine.
  • Examples such as the success of serial entrepreneur kevin ryan at starting multiple billion dollar companies in completely different niches can be attributed to pattern recognition. This recognition relies on 2 mental models:
  1. Prototype → an abstraction of any concept's fundamental properties. Example would be creating prototypes for an ideal employee while doing job interviews.
  2. exemplar → specific example of a category. Examples of prototypes.
  • Great entrepreneurs have a whole library of exemplars they can go to, and some of these can become very valuable ideas.
  • These exemplars can be experiences or things we consume or observe. Albeit these things we consume must be highly relevant material. We should spend 20% of our day consuming.
  • Aha moments can be prompted (proved by a study) , these aha moments are really just our right side of our brain solving a problem in the background, not magic.
  • You can't have insights about things you don't know about. Knowledge is the foundation of aha moments.

Ch 8: Law II: Imitation

  • Best selling novels, shows, and everything you can think of tend to follow the same patterns.
  • Reddit founder → "Originality and creativity are really just about clever remixes".
  • Example: Benjamin Franklin becoming a great writer by imitating the style of a famous newspaper. The Franklin method → the careful observation and re-creation of the structures underlying successful creative work.

Ch 9: Law III: Creative Communities

  • People who you can learn from are key to creative success. When talking to people you spend 70-90% of the time asking questions.
  • Community is made up of → master teacher, a partner or someone to push you, a modern muse → people that give you inspiration and a prominent promoter → advocate for you.

Ch 10: Law IV: Iterations

  • Case study on Ben & Jerry's ice cream flavor creations and the scientific process the taste test team does in order to make their flavors a success.
  • Creators need to measure and assess constantly.
  • This iterative process is used for everything such as creating films, businesses, books, and even for winning elections.
  • Use data to your advantage, don't need fancy tools, just looking at what's trending and people's reviews alone is extremely valuable.
  • The biggest secret to creating something your audience will love? Listen to them.

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