Around this time last year, Thomas Frank put forward some very pointed and accurate criticisms of the popular literature about creativity – namely, that these books and articles discussed the same examples over and over again – and wondered how much this literature could really enlighten us about creativity when it was so un-creative itself.
Earlier this week, I saw a online mention of an article by Thomas Frank in the June 2013 issue of Harper’s Magazine, with the mention indicating that the article took some pretty harsh potshots at the literature on creativity. After my own reading of some of the popular press books about the creative process – including Jonah Lehrer’s now-withdrawn Imagine, one of the biggest sellers on that topic – the idea of a critical look at this literature intrigued me, especially a critical look by someone whose main job isn’t writing about or researching business.
I managed to find a copy of that issue of Harper’s, and when I read Frank’s article, I wasn’t disappointed. (more…)