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The Accidental Creative: How to Be Brilliant at a Moment's Notice

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Have better ideas, faster, without the stress and burnout. It isn't enough to just do your job anymore. In order to thrive in today's marketplace, all of us-even the accountants-have to be ready to generate brilliant ideas on demand. Business creativity expert Todd Henry explains how to establish effective practices that unleash your creative potential. Born out of his Have better ideas, faster, without the stress and burnout. It isn't enough to just do your job anymore. In order to thrive in today's marketplace, all of us-even the accountants-have to be ready to generate brilliant ideas on demand. Business creativity expert Todd Henry explains how to establish effective practices that unleash your creative potential. Born out of his consultancy and his popular podcast, Henry has created a practical method for discovering your personal creative rhythm. He focuses on five key elements: *Focus: Begin with your end goal in mind. *Relationships: Build stimulating relationships and ideas will follow. *Energy: Manage it as your most valuable resource. *Stimuli: Structure the right "inputs" to maximize creative output. *Hours: Focus on effectiveness, not efficiency. This is a guide for staying inspired and experiencing greater creative productivity than you ever imagined possible.


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Have better ideas, faster, without the stress and burnout. It isn't enough to just do your job anymore. In order to thrive in today's marketplace, all of us-even the accountants-have to be ready to generate brilliant ideas on demand. Business creativity expert Todd Henry explains how to establish effective practices that unleash your creative potential. Born out of his Have better ideas, faster, without the stress and burnout. It isn't enough to just do your job anymore. In order to thrive in today's marketplace, all of us-even the accountants-have to be ready to generate brilliant ideas on demand. Business creativity expert Todd Henry explains how to establish effective practices that unleash your creative potential. Born out of his consultancy and his popular podcast, Henry has created a practical method for discovering your personal creative rhythm. He focuses on five key elements: *Focus: Begin with your end goal in mind. *Relationships: Build stimulating relationships and ideas will follow. *Energy: Manage it as your most valuable resource. *Stimuli: Structure the right "inputs" to maximize creative output. *Hours: Focus on effectiveness, not efficiency. This is a guide for staying inspired and experiencing greater creative productivity than you ever imagined possible.

30 review for The Accidental Creative: How to Be Brilliant at a Moment's Notice

  1. 5 out of 5

    André Gomes

    Very nice book, with lots of tipos for creative workers. Here are some points I found interesting: Focus: - Effective creativity needs clarity around objectives, separating the urgent from the important. - Use technology in a way that increases your capacity to do what matters to you. - You must get comfortable with eliminating things in your life that are getting in the way of clarity and focus. - “No matter what you say about your priorities, where you spend money and your time will prove them out Very nice book, with lots of tipos for creative workers. Here are some points I found interesting: Focus: - Effective creativity needs clarity around objectives, separating the urgent from the important. - Use technology in a way that increases your capacity to do what matters to you. - You must get comfortable with eliminating things in your life that are getting in the way of clarity and focus. - “No matter what you say about your priorities, where you spend money and your time will prove them out.” Relationships: - Engaging with others is a powerful source of creative inspiration. - Build relationships that can reveal opportunities, blind spots and points of potential collaboration - Have a “core team” of individuals who can help with important decisions. Energy: - Think energy management, not time management. - Make sure that you are not separating personal and work commitments, but are recognizing that every commitment in your life requires energy Stimuli: - Consistent brilliance demands that you be purposeful about what you're feeding your brain. - “Reading great works not only stretches my creative expression but also helps me identify patterns in human behavior that haven’t changed much over time.” - The phrase “you are what you eat” applies to your mind as well. - Build experiences into your life that are out of the ordinary. Hours: - Time is the currency of productivity. - Hours should be spend effectively, not just efficiently. - Regularly carve out time to generate new ideas for projects. - Build time into your life or schedule to make something for the joy of it. The ultimate goal for creatives should be to “die empty”, not leaving unfulfilled ideas, dreams and projects on the table because of a lack of intentional effort. There's also a nice video about the book here: https://vimeo.com/23966375

  2. 5 out of 5

    Noah

    A few years ago I started getting asked to give talks to business & creative professionals about my Skull-A-Day project; specifically to share the things I learned about generating creative energy through daily practice. What I didn’t realize is that I had entered a world of business creativity consultation that was populated with many other folks who were all coming at the same things I had discovered, but from slightly different perspectives. Along the way I’ve encountered several folks who ha A few years ago I started getting asked to give talks to business & creative professionals about my Skull-A-Day project; specifically to share the things I learned about generating creative energy through daily practice. What I didn’t realize is that I had entered a world of business creativity consultation that was populated with many other folks who were all coming at the same things I had discovered, but from slightly different perspectives. Along the way I’ve encountered several folks who have really added to my understanding of what I’ve learned and how it can be codified and applied to the business side of creativity. Most recently I had a great conversation with Todd Henry on his Accidental Creative podcast. I immediately recognized many of the things I had found through my project being defined and applied by him in his own business; and so I was eager to read his new book The Accidental Creative: How To Be Brilliant at A Moment’s Notice, to see how he puts these ideas into practice. The book begins with several chapters that define the problems faced by people who are in the position of being creative on demand. I immediately recognized many of my own experiences and appreciated knowing that I’m not actually the only one dealing with these things. Indeed, I felt especially bad for the folks who were in business environments that were outright antithetical to creativity. Todd then switches to defining 5 practices that will help improve your ability to create: Focus, Relationships, Energy, Stimuli, and Hours. And while he acknowledges that much of it can seem like common sense, the reality is that most people don’t actually apply them. I found it helped to have this stuff written out and paired with real world examples showing their efficacy. Finally he explains how to make these practices into a realistic part of your life, which some basic guidelines. I have to admit, that even as someone who deals with these issues daily, and has done my best to implement my own creative practices, I still found a lot of inspiration here and was immediately figuring out how to start putting his suggestions into action after I set down the book. And I especially appreciated Todd’s bigger message, which oddly pairs quite well with my own interest in memento mori, that ultimately the goal should be that you “don’t go to the grave with your best work still inside you.”

  3. 5 out of 5

    Brent

    An excellent guide to the attitudes and techniques needed to survive and thrive in a creative career.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Aaron Goldfarb

    "Anyone can improve his ability to generate good ideas consistently, if willing to be a little more purposeful in how to approach the creative process." More and more jobs nowadays call for the use of serious brain power and creativity. Even, the seemingly non-creative fields. Yet, so few workers seem to have "time" for just sitting down and having a good think. Todd Henry, author of "The Accidental Creative: How to Be Brilliant at a Moment's Notice," thinks this needs to change. He tells the stor "Anyone can improve his ability to generate good ideas consistently, if willing to be a little more purposeful in how to approach the creative process." More and more jobs nowadays call for the use of serious brain power and creativity. Even, the seemingly non-creative fields. Yet, so few workers seem to have "time" for just sitting down and having a good think. Todd Henry, author of "The Accidental Creative: How to Be Brilliant at a Moment's Notice," thinks this needs to change. He tells the story of giving a talk at a conference and asking: "How many of you would say that great ideas are critical to the future of your career or business." Most hands go up. But when Todd asks how many people devote time in their day to idea generation, almost no hands remain. "What am I supposed to do?! Just sit in my office thinking?!" are the typical complaints. And, the answer is: YES. In Todd's mind, it's all about eliminating fake work from your life--mindless monitoring of e-mail for example--and doing real work. The truly tough work. The thinking work. As a creative worker, you're paid for the value you create, not how much time you spend on something, yet so many of us still insist on believing in the old 1950s model that working long hours equals doing good work. We're not factory workers, we're thinkers! All that matters is the work that has been created! Not how long it took. "Because we tend to gravitate toward possibilities, many creative people wrestle with focus." Todd is a firm believer in a strict scheduling of creativitiy. It seems silly at first, if not impossible, but I must admit by following his ways he's helped me become more creative in a short amount of time. I've quickly begun utilizing Todd's "Big Three" to great effect. This calls for having a list of the three biggest "open loops" in your life which you are forced to stare at throughout the day. I've taken to writing out my Big Three (usually a new book I'm working on, a screenplay idea, maybe a freelance piece) at the start of the week and then carrying it around in my pocket at all times. And, you wouldn't believe how much this has helped my process. Now, almost through osmosis, I'm thinking about these creative problems even when I'm not thinking about them--walking the street, riding the subway, while working out, etc--and getting so much more thoughtful work accomplished. I come back from the gym or get off the subway and immediately sprint to my computer to write down everything I've thought of while "not working." The Big Three technique sounds simple, and it is, but it's amazingly helpful at keeping your creative priorities always on your mind. I advise you do likewise. Many artist types, especially us writers, seems to believe that we can't influence our own creativity, that it just arrives with the muse (or a few glasses of Scotch) and then the magic happens. Todd says not so and shows you why so in "The Accidental Creative." In this way, Todd's book is similar to Steven Pressfield's great "The War of Art" and "Do the Work." If you dug those two books, you'll love this one. But, while Steven's books are more pithy and inspirational, "The Accidental Creative" is a straight-up guide book for making you productively and efficiently creative. For making you able to "create on demand." It doesn't seem possible, but Todd shows it is. Highly recommended.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kris

    Some reminders: - At the start of a project, clarify OBJECTIVES and establish 4-6 concrete CHALLENGES (specific problems to solve). Relief from trying to solve too many creative problems. - Write "THE BIG 3" creative priorities as reminders on a board or index card. What you're looking for critical insight on in order to move forward. - CLUSTER: conceptual/creative time from concrete/task time;   meetings;   emails/calls/talks. - PRUNE AWAY: distractions & activities that provide good results in the Some reminders: - At the start of a project, clarify OBJECTIVES and establish 4-6 concrete CHALLENGES (specific problems to solve). Relief from trying to solve too many creative problems. - Write "THE BIG 3" creative priorities as reminders on a board or index card. What you're looking for critical insight on in order to move forward. - CLUSTER: conceptual/creative time from concrete/task time;   meetings;   emails/calls/talks. - PRUNE AWAY: distractions & activities that provide good results in the short term but will eventually decrease your effectiveness in the most critical areas of your life (done out of obligation, habit or routine). - Daily SCHEDULE: time for strategic thinking & planning projects; space out energy-draining activities; energy-building activities. - STIMULI: Closely monitor the quality of what you absorb because it's closely tied to your creative process. Criteria: challenging, relevant, diverse. - Prep for a future project (e.g., highest-rated or most recommended book on a subject; blogs on emerging trends in this area & their cultural effects). - STUDY PLAN: purposefully experience & structure stimuli that will lead to creative insights. 1) Where are you lacking info that you'll need over the next 3 months? 2) What are you curious about now? (makes up 1/2 of study plan). 3) What would be good for you? - STIMULUS QUEUE: items you plan to read, experience or study. Consistent study times (e.g., early morning, lunch, night). - NOTEBOOK: Number each page. Two index pages at the front: Ideas + Stimuli. Regularly review indices for past ideas, future stimuli, help when stuck, see patterns or creative ideas. (Stimuli incl. books/authors, movies, magazine articles, websites, etc.) - Active NOTE-TAKING & reflective QUESTIONING:      - Any patterns in what you're experiencing/reading that are similar to something else you're working on?      - What do you find surprising about what you're experiencing? (a belief that needs to be challenged)      - What do you like about what you're experiencing and why?      - What do you dislike about what you're experiencing? - BOOKS: Index card for notes. Review notes before continue reading. - PLAY: Primary tool for creative inspiration & growth. Venture outside of comfort zone. - QUICK FOCUSED DIVES.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    This book is a must-read for two groups of people: Those who create (write, design, film, craft, etc.) and those who lead teams of people who do creative work. Todd Henry has synthesized the material from his highly popular podcast "The Accidental Creative" and his experience coaching organizations into a powerhouse of a book. We are all striving to produce more while wondering where the "more" is supposed to come from. This book walks you through some revolutionary practices, that if implemente This book is a must-read for two groups of people: Those who create (write, design, film, craft, etc.) and those who lead teams of people who do creative work. Todd Henry has synthesized the material from his highly popular podcast "The Accidental Creative" and his experience coaching organizations into a powerhouse of a book. We are all striving to produce more while wondering where the "more" is supposed to come from. This book walks you through some revolutionary practices, that if implemented have the potential to move you to creative freedom. For example, Todd takes a holistic approach when he recommends we do "whole life planning" not just planning for specific, independent projects. What we do in our personal time affects our work, and vice versa. I have personally found it most helpful to implement Todd's quarterly checkpoints as a way to manage my family. The result is less time spent depleted and more time filled and ready to create. There are many takeaways just like that throughout the book. It's an inspiring read and provided me with a jump-start to my creative life.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Caiti S

    This ended up being a much more useful read than I was expecting. I thought it would be a more generic guide about tapping into your creative confidence ("everyone is born creative!" kind of thing). Instead, it was much more about processes and ways of organizing your time to make you more creatively productive. The tips were practical, and I will definitely keep this one on my shelf to reference in the future. Henry's tips focused on things like time management, assessing the stimuli/inspiratio This ended up being a much more useful read than I was expecting. I thought it would be a more generic guide about tapping into your creative confidence ("everyone is born creative!" kind of thing). Instead, it was much more about processes and ways of organizing your time to make you more creatively productive. The tips were practical, and I will definitely keep this one on my shelf to reference in the future. Henry's tips focused on things like time management, assessing the stimuli/inspiration that you take in and making sure they are high quality, and the importance of taking care of your creative health by structuring your schedule in a way that doesn't lead to burnout. I appreciate that he's not advocating a workaholic approach and does emphasize the importance of relationships, family, exercise, etc. to bring your best self to your work. I will say it was written in a very dry way that made for slow reading, and I think it would be more useful to those who work in creative professions/strategy than those who are more artistic-creative. I'm also knocking one entire star for the sole fact that Henry did not include one single woman among the various CEO/creative directors/authors he quoted and referenced. It wasn't until around pg. 100 that a woman was even mentioned by name, and it was just a friend of his talking about generosity in relationships. Henry really doesn't recognize his own male privilege, and he could really stand to diversify those he draws inspiration from.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jazz

    This book changed my daily life. The Accidental Creative is full of strategies to help creatives in all fields weed out distractions and fears that staunch the creative flow. Henry discusses not only strategies to cultivate the ability to be inspired at a moment's notice, he also examines what keeps creatives in a rut. The two types of fear holding creatives back are Fear of Failure and Fear of Success. As a fledgling writer, I know both of these fears. However, it is the fear of success that way This book changed my daily life. The Accidental Creative is full of strategies to help creatives in all fields weed out distractions and fears that staunch the creative flow. Henry discusses not only strategies to cultivate the ability to be inspired at a moment's notice, he also examines what keeps creatives in a rut. The two types of fear holding creatives back are Fear of Failure and Fear of Success. As a fledgling writer, I know both of these fears. However, it is the fear of success that ways on me more. I know if I continue to practice, I will improve. If I publish, there will be increased pressure from myself and others to top myself every time. I knew all of this before I read The Accidental Creative, had thought about it quite a bit, but it wasn't until I read in a book that I'm not the only creative who experiences fear or success that I felt I had permission to stop worrying about it, and get on with things. Henry includes sample outlines of what weekly schedules should look like in order to produce work. You might not be able to meet all of his requirements such as Head to Heads--groups in which creatives meet to discuss their projects and offer ideas--but it is a great launch point to start a disciplined routine. The most useful piece of advice, and the one that has been the most daily life changing, is his caution to resist the Ping. The Ping is that need to check your email or update your social media accounts. They might seem like short moments, but in the long run they add up to hours that could be spent creating. The Accidental Creative is an encouraging, illuminating book that will propel you into action on your projects.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Vincent Russo

    Book of productivity systems for individuals engaged in "creative" based jobs. I read this in the context of a scientist, but the book's advice is general enough to be applied the a wide array of job titles where creativity serves as the primary ingredient in successful output. The content reminded me heavily of David Allen's "Getting Things Done", which the author also cites and recommends periodically throughout the text. I extracted quite a bit of value from Henry's methodology of focusing on Book of productivity systems for individuals engaged in "creative" based jobs. I read this in the context of a scientist, but the book's advice is general enough to be applied the a wide array of job titles where creativity serves as the primary ingredient in successful output. The content reminded me heavily of David Allen's "Getting Things Done", which the author also cites and recommends periodically throughout the text. I extracted quite a bit of value from Henry's methodology of focusing on the supremely important, and sometimes painfully obvious, tasks that one must engage in in order to yield the greatest amount of value. What I like about this in contrast to David Allen's GTD approach is there is less emphasis on checking off low level tasks, such as incoming email, etc. and instead focuses on high level tasks, including isolating time specifically dedicated to the generation of ideas, or systematizing an infrastructure for focusing one's efforts on the largest payoff activities for one's respective profession.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Suha

    Dessert. A self-help book that suggests some practical tools to apply in your life to boost your creativity. Easy to read and well structured. Chapters 1-5 are boring and can be easily omitted from the entire book. The rest explain the tools we need to apply in our lives which I believe, applying them all is certainly not realistic; the author suggests numerous things to do and change which in my opinion, adds loads of habits change that is not realistic/easy to do or to maintain. On the other h Dessert. A self-help book that suggests some practical tools to apply in your life to boost your creativity. Easy to read and well structured. Chapters 1-5 are boring and can be easily omitted from the entire book. The rest explain the tools we need to apply in our lives which I believe, applying them all is certainly not realistic; the author suggests numerous things to do and change which in my opinion, adds loads of habits change that is not realistic/easy to do or to maintain. On the other hand, I consider this book as a big box of cookies, of which you can only pick one and enjoy, and if you are hungry you can eat two or three maximum but certainly not the whole box. In other words, some ideas are indeed interesting and would definitely shape your work life and personal life into a more productive and efficient person. I personally loved the social circles idea, and I picked this one to apply. I recommend this book if you want some insight to shape and boost your creative mind. Enjoy.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Tyler Hurst

    I've been following Todd Henry's podcast for a while, but stopped listening religiously when the tips turned into more for teams and groups than solo guys like me. I suspected the book would be more of the same, but I couldn't have been more wrong. This is packed full of useful ideas (weekly goals, Top 3 and enough quotes to start conversations) that anyone can act upon. The book is SO good that I reference it non-stop in the StorytellersAZ podcast I just started with a few friends. So, in short, T I've been following Todd Henry's podcast for a while, but stopped listening religiously when the tips turned into more for teams and groups than solo guys like me. I suspected the book would be more of the same, but I couldn't have been more wrong. This is packed full of useful ideas (weekly goals, Top 3 and enough quotes to start conversations) that anyone can act upon. The book is SO good that I reference it non-stop in the StorytellersAZ podcast I just started with a few friends. So, in short, Todd Henry made a podcast that I grew to dislike, then wrote a book that inspired me to start a podcast about stuff I like. You don't have to agree with everything a person does to be inspired by them and this is definite proof.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kirsten

    I would never have picked up this book if it wasn’t for the author doing a guest mentor spot in my coaching group. I assumed it was aimed at those we traditionally think of as creatives instead of people who are required to problem solve regularly and creatively. I can also be a bit wary of corporate style self help books. I was delighted to discover that this book is really about developing practises and rhythms that lay a foundation to live a focused and fulfilling life, and facilitate the abi I would never have picked up this book if it wasn’t for the author doing a guest mentor spot in my coaching group. I assumed it was aimed at those we traditionally think of as creatives instead of people who are required to problem solve regularly and creatively. I can also be a bit wary of corporate style self help books. I was delighted to discover that this book is really about developing practises and rhythms that lay a foundation to live a focused and fulfilling life, and facilitate the ability to respond creatively to various challenges. There were certainly times that I did find it a little heavy on the American corporate culture, but that didn’t interfere too much with some wise and thought provoking strategies that could be applied to a range of contexts. Easy to listen to audiobook as well!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Andy

    Even though it was required reading for work, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. There were many practical tips I'll be able to implement immediately to help ward off fatigue, the feeling of never catching up and to regain the creative spark for my day-to-day efforts -- both big and small. Even though it was required reading for work, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. There were many practical tips I'll be able to implement immediately to help ward off fatigue, the feeling of never catching up and to regain the creative spark for my day-to-day efforts -- both big and small.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Aarti Nair

    Like any other non-fiction, this should not be gulped down either. I took a whole month to finish this book- carefully highlighting important notes, applying some of its techniques and sleeping on some of the ideas. This book can assist one to revive the creative person in them. It taught me how to be patient and how to respectfully lead the life of a creative individual. The author uses anecdotes, book references and case studies as proof of concept. Loved this and found two relevant books thro Like any other non-fiction, this should not be gulped down either. I took a whole month to finish this book- carefully highlighting important notes, applying some of its techniques and sleeping on some of the ideas. This book can assist one to revive the creative person in them. It taught me how to be patient and how to respectfully lead the life of a creative individual. The author uses anecdotes, book references and case studies as proof of concept. Loved this and found two relevant books through this one.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Gabrielle

    Somewhere between 3 and 4 stars but I'm rounding up because the book helped me think through stuff at the exact time (ie Feb 2017) that I needed it to. Good points: validating stuff about how work can make creativity hard, and ideas for moderating this. Bad points: sometimes Todd Henry is such an earnest white man. And his sample schedule, p188, is maybe the most unintentionally hilarious thing I've ever seen. Probably. Somewhere between 3 and 4 stars but I'm rounding up because the book helped me think through stuff at the exact time (ie Feb 2017) that I needed it to. Good points: validating stuff about how work can make creativity hard, and ideas for moderating this. Bad points: sometimes Todd Henry is such an earnest white man. And his sample schedule, p188, is maybe the most unintentionally hilarious thing I've ever seen. Probably.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Tiffany Young

    Many people believe that you're either creative or you're not, but Todd Henry's "The Accidental Creative" will challenge those beliefs. In this book, not only does Henry argue that one can become more creative, he also says that building more structure in one's life will bring more creativity to those who are already creative. Those of us who are creative would rather not hear those things as we usually identify ourselves as creative, as in it's a thing you are or aren't (although we really know Many people believe that you're either creative or you're not, but Todd Henry's "The Accidental Creative" will challenge those beliefs. In this book, not only does Henry argue that one can become more creative, he also says that building more structure in one's life will bring more creativity to those who are already creative. Those of us who are creative would rather not hear those things as we usually identify ourselves as creative, as in it's a thing you are or aren't (although we really know that everyone can be creative). Also, hose of us who have creative-type jobs enjoy being messy and waiting for the ideas to just come to us. However, I have to admit that Henry's ideas of adding more structure probably does allow you to come up with more ideas. After all, we all know our best ideas come when we are working on something else, so wouldn't it make sense that we'd need to schedule some of that time to "something else?" Many of the concepts he uses is similar to the concepts in "Getting Things Done" by David Allen, such as having reviews, carrying a notebook for ideas, but he goes further in that he suggests we eliminate or "prune" some of our projects and activities so that we can focus on others. I like the idea he has of setting up your year by quarters and deciding which projects should be focused on during each, even planning your reading activities by what you are focusing on to ensure the greatest ideas. For someone who has a lot of ideas, this narrowing down ideas can prove a wonderful way to finally finish some projects and move on to others. I've noticed this in writing a children's book with friends. The further along we go, the more book ideas we have, but if we stopped and started on the other ideas right away we wouldn't be nearing the end of the process. Instead we each write down and tell each other the basic premise and then when we are done with this first book we will decide on our next two to three we would like to focus on in the next year and decide on one to actually write and illustrate next. Some of the things I'd like to incorporate are meeting more often with creative friends to purposely discuss creative ideas, setting aside an hour a week to devote to new ideas and weeding out some of the ideas I don't yet have time to focus on. I'd also like to do some more long-term planning for my life, so I can determine which projects are most important. If you're struggling to maintain the creative ideas you need to manifest in your career or daily life, then this book will inspire you to come up with the structure to ensure the ideas continue throughout your life.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Amy Moritz

    In searching for interesting things to listen to while toiling away on my bike trainer this winter, I found the podcast for The Accidental Creative. After one segment I was sold, not just on the podcast but on my need to check out the book. So I went ahead and purchased it hoping for some tips, insights, motivation and inspiration. Todd Henry's writing style is engaging and conversational which made it an easy and interesting read. He asked questions at the right times and got me to think. And t In searching for interesting things to listen to while toiling away on my bike trainer this winter, I found the podcast for The Accidental Creative. After one segment I was sold, not just on the podcast but on my need to check out the book. So I went ahead and purchased it hoping for some tips, insights, motivation and inspiration. Todd Henry's writing style is engaging and conversational which made it an easy and interesting read. He asked questions at the right times and got me to think. And that's the best thing a book like this can achieve. His premise is to help you become prolific, brilliant and healthy. Early on, a key point which resonated with me was about working hard but with purpose: "[W]hat you must avoid is the kind of frenetic activity that seems like productivity but is really more about the appearance of being busy than the actual accomplishment of effective work. You want to work strategically, not desperately. When it comes to your effectiveness, fake work is often more dangerous than no work at all." Henry emphasizes that he's offering assistance in creating a structure, not a formula. He offers suggestions for setting up your life in ways to support your creative work -- what to make time for and how to approach your creative problems. He focuses on a few key areas: Focus, Relationships, Energy, Stimuli and Hours. He is a proponent of study time, idea time and unnecessary creating. Scheduling them into my week seems odd, but upon reflection, necessary. And his guidance for how to conduct weekly and quarterly check-ins seem pretty interesting. In fact, I'm planning to head to the library on my afternoon off and set up the first quarter of 2012, checking in with where I am, what I want and how to set myself up for success. This is not a blueprint. It leaves you with more questions than answers. And that's what I'm liking about the Accidental Creative franchise.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Janelle

    Quick reaction: I love this book. Probably more than is rational. It's just the right mix of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity. (I say that as fair warning: if those books didn't float your boat, this may not be the book for you.) Only, it's better than both because I liked the author's voice more. I forced myself to slow down and go through it no more than a chapter at a time to make sure I digested it properly. Nothing is new. N Quick reaction: I love this book. Probably more than is rational. It's just the right mix of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity. (I say that as fair warning: if those books didn't float your boat, this may not be the book for you.) Only, it's better than both because I liked the author's voice more. I forced myself to slow down and go through it no more than a chapter at a time to make sure I digested it properly. Nothing is new. Not the recommendations to form a creative circle, or to begin with the end in mind, or to control your focus. If you've read Steven Pressfield, you know about the importance of overcoming Resistance. Julia Cameron told you all about Artist's Dates. But, for me, this book was written the right way at the right time.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Eric Wallace

    I must read too many of these type of books, because even solidly-executed ones like this have little that's new to me. Nevertheless "The Accidental Creative" is still full of good advice for managing your life in a way that supports your best creative thinking. One minor critique is that even where Todd Henry has collected good advice that's supported by studies from psychology & sociology -- stuff that I know about from all the other similar books I've read -- he rarely backs up his statements I must read too many of these type of books, because even solidly-executed ones like this have little that's new to me. Nevertheless "The Accidental Creative" is still full of good advice for managing your life in a way that supports your best creative thinking. One minor critique is that even where Todd Henry has collected good advice that's supported by studies from psychology & sociology -- stuff that I know about from all the other similar books I've read -- he rarely backs up his statements with this kind of support, but instead stays focused on the "this-is-what-you-should-do". The thing is, EVERYONE has advice for you. (Example: just yesterday I was buying a rare candy bar from a vending machine and someone offered that I really should buy them in bulk at Sam's Club to save!) I'd prefer to read something stronger than anecdotal support before I consider modifying my habits. In any case, I'm glad I took the time to read this & be reminded of some habits I should re-focus on to keep my creativity at it's best.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Patrick O'Duffy

    It's 2016, and I have become a person who reads self-help business books. I don't even know myself any more. The Accidental Creative has a strong throughline - the argument that creativity is a skill, not a nebulous 'gift', and that you can hone that skill through deliberate reinforcement and improving you day-to-day practice. I think that's a powerful thesis, and I wish the book did more to make it concrete and immediately applicable, rather than framing everything in generalities and fairly blan It's 2016, and I have become a person who reads self-help business books. I don't even know myself any more. The Accidental Creative has a strong throughline - the argument that creativity is a skill, not a nebulous 'gift', and that you can hone that skill through deliberate reinforcement and improving you day-to-day practice. I think that's a powerful thesis, and I wish the book did more to make it concrete and immediately applicable, rather than framing everything in generalities and fairly bland writing. Lots of ideas here, but I was hoping for more coaching on actually putting them into play. That said, there are a lot of ideas here, and I'm going to follow up on a number of them, even without direct assistance. Which is a pretty strong recommendation for the book. Business books. How the hell do you review them? I can't even.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Retta Ritchie

    This book made me rethink what it means to be a creative. I have always lived by the idea that creatives need less structure and that ideas come from that freedom. That hasn't worked so well for me and eventually led to a lack of inspiration and feeling burnout. The structure that he lays out in the book resonates with me and I'm excited to start practicing it. Being someone that isn't a great planner, I admit I'm feeling a little overwhelmed about where to start with the process. I think the st This book made me rethink what it means to be a creative. I have always lived by the idea that creatives need less structure and that ideas come from that freedom. That hasn't worked so well for me and eventually led to a lack of inspiration and feeling burnout. The structure that he lays out in the book resonates with me and I'm excited to start practicing it. Being someone that isn't a great planner, I admit I'm feeling a little overwhelmed about where to start with the process. I think the structure will actually be more freeing in the end after I get accustomed so I'm willing to jump in and get started.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    It was nice to see my exact thoughts about brain and creativity drain written inside this book. What was even nicer was seeing solutions to those issues also written inside the book. The idea that structure will help you be more creative is counter-intuitive, but I'm eager to try it. His practices to help you focus, energize, and organize in order to free up your mind for thinking are simple and make sense. It was nice to see my exact thoughts about brain and creativity drain written inside this book. What was even nicer was seeing solutions to those issues also written inside the book. The idea that structure will help you be more creative is counter-intuitive, but I'm eager to try it. His practices to help you focus, energize, and organize in order to free up your mind for thinking are simple and make sense.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Gamingtildawn

    The Accidental Creative is a great resource for people no matter what profession. Too many books talk about time management. This book teaches you energy management. Includes great real life examples to help understand the concepts. The book gives you activities to do daily, monthly and quarterly. Recommend this book if you feel burned out, procrastinate from time to time, want to improve your productivity or just want to add to your tool kit.

  24. 4 out of 5

    C.A.

    One of the better books I've read, with advice you can actually use! The basic ideas, creativity should have a rhythm to it, meaning that you need some boundaries and ways to keep that rhythm going. I found myself nodding at the advice, but also forgetting it as soon as I left it. Requires a second reading to really get it under your skin. One of the better books I've read, with advice you can actually use! The basic ideas, creativity should have a rhythm to it, meaning that you need some boundaries and ways to keep that rhythm going. I found myself nodding at the advice, but also forgetting it as soon as I left it. Requires a second reading to really get it under your skin.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Wm

    As is usual with books like these, the diagnosis of the issues is much better/more interesting than the prescriptions. Henry keenly dissects those things that keep creatives from having the energy they need to produce creative work. That being said, some of the specific suggestions do seem pretty good -- both more doable and more sensible than what usually gets suggested.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Siobhan Burns

    A pretty cool look at work habits, inspiration, structure, goals, and other helpful topics for those of us who need to motivate ourselves to sit down and get things done, goddammit. I'm looking forward to trying out some of his suggestions. A pretty cool look at work habits, inspiration, structure, goals, and other helpful topics for those of us who need to motivate ourselves to sit down and get things done, goddammit. I'm looking forward to trying out some of his suggestions.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Alan Kercinik

    While this book's title might lead you to believe it is only for 'creatives', it is really a practical guide to getting about doing your life's work. Inspiring, insightful and invaluable. Required reading. While this book's title might lead you to believe it is only for 'creatives', it is really a practical guide to getting about doing your life's work. Inspiring, insightful and invaluable. Required reading.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Faith McKay

    This book was really helpful. I recommend it if you're feeling burnt out and need to rework your creative system. It has great strategies for figuring out how you work best and figuring out how to sustain creative production. This book was really helpful. I recommend it if you're feeling burnt out and need to rework your creative system. It has great strategies for figuring out how you work best and figuring out how to sustain creative production.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Powe

    I am not going to shut up about this book for a long time. For creatives, an essential companion to GTD. If you love productivity porn, READ IT. It also has some great references - I now have six more books on my to-read list.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    I liked some ideas in this book, but it does seem to be more aimed toward those that need to come up with new material/ideas on a day to day basis for their career. Eventually, once I start getting into a project I plan on doing, I will probably listen to this book again.

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