Book Excerpt

Jonah Lehrer’s Five Tips for
Reaching Your Creative Potential

From the bestselling author Jonah Lehrer comes “Imagine: How Creativity Works” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). Lehrer explains that his latest book “is about our most important mental talent: the ability to imagine what has never existed. We take this talent for granted, but our lives are defined by it. There is the pop song on the radio and the gadget in your pocket, the art on the wall and the air conditioner in the window. There is the medicine in the bathroom and the chair you are sitting in…” He gives real world examples from Pixar and Second City to Bob Dylan and Yo-Yo Ma. He goes on to say that “creativity is not a gift possessed by a lucky few; it’s a variety of distinct thought processes that we can all learn to use more effectively.” Here he offers five tips from his book on how to increase your creative potential.

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Google Stories One Letter at a Time

A clever bit of collaborative advertising between Google and Pixar, the latest Google search story video was timed to the release of “Toy Story 3” and features the familiar voices of Andy’s toys. It runs just one-minute long and is devoid of any fancy animation. A mini-preview of the next “Toy Story,” the video introduces us to key characters and hints at the plot and happy outcome.

Google search stories originally started out as a series of online videos about the product and its users. One search story, “Parisian Love,” got so many hits during the first three months that it played on YouTube that the company decided to break its rule about not running TV ads and aired it on the 2010 Super Bowl. What’s brilliant about the Google search stories are their utter simplicity and charm. The “searchers” always remain faceless and anonymous, yet their stories unfold through letters clicked into the search box, forming words that reveal tales of romance, adventure travel, job changes, health concerns, and personal passions. Viewers become voyeurs to the searchers’ life, yearnings, paranoia, interests, peccadilloes, and wild imagination, following their logic to delightful conclusions. “Every quest is its own story,” claims Google’s YouTube channel, which invites visitors to create their own search story. Actually, that is something we do everyday, often unaware of how much that says about where we are coming from.

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