My Top 3 Creative Re-Reads of 2013

By Rebecca Cochran

Blue pencil and red lineLike you, I did a lot of reading this year. Contrary to what I might have predicted, the internet has played a major role in keeping my bookshelf full of interesting books – physical books I actually read – and re-read. For me, one of the marks of a good book is that I want to re-read it, sometimes again and again. It was tough to whittle down the list, but here are my top 3 creative re-reads of 2013.

Creative Confidence by Tom and David Kelley

Just published in October, Creative Confidence sets out to “unleash the creative potential within us all.” This highly personal book does just that. The chapter entitled “Spark” particularly resonates with me. The Kelley brothers write about the importance of building a creative support network, since many of the best ideas are a result of collaborating with others. They also advocate cultivating creative serendipity, i.e., getting out into the world to gain empathy with our customers. In the chapter entitled “Leap,” the Kelleys describe the all-important phase of moving from planning to action. They include “action catalysts” and other useful tools, encouraging us to conduct small experiments to let an idea evolve. Some of the craziest ideas can lead to a valuable solution. This book is for all of us. I am reading it again already.

It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want to Be. by Paul Arden

I read this book at least once a year. Originally published in 2003, it has been reprinted many times since. The book is about making the most of yourself and making the impossible possible. A former ad man, Arden uses the creative processes of good advertising as a metaphor for business practice. The book is chock full of memorable quotes. One of my favorites is “You don’t have to be creative to be creative.”

Harold and the Purple Crayon, by Crockett Johnson

A new friend handed me the 50th anniversary edition of this well-known children’s book last month. Originally published in 1955, I cannot fathom how many times I read and re-read this book as a kid. This classic is worth re-reading as adults, too. In his minimalist way, Harold has reminded me to stay curious. I plan to keep his little book handy and re-read it whenever I need a creative boost.

What are you re-reading?

Walking, Fast and Slow

Walkby Rebecca Cochran

What is it about walking? It’s a topic that shows up in the news often. I wrote about the benefits of walking in this space not long ago. In my post, I refer to walking as “nature’s cure-all.” A daily walk allows me to solve problems and experience creative breakthroughs.

Walking is also a popular research topic.

According to a new study by a group of Dutch researchers from Leiden University, “physical activity increases our ability to think flexibly.” Their research found that those who engage in regular exercise are more likely to excel in creative thinking, both convergent and divergent, than those who don’t. Check out the study results here.

Coincidently, last week, I caught a post on The New York Times’ “Well” blog entitled “Why a Brisk Walk is Better.” The author, Gretchen Reynolds, refers to another new study revealing that although walking fast or slow is certainly good exercise, walking at a brisk pace is better. In other words, intensity matters. Read her post here.

In his book, Thinking, Fast and Slow, author and winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, Daniel Kahneman, recounts a study conducted in a German university. The study found that students who were asked to walk around a room at a pace much slower than their normal pace, caused those students to quickly relate to words and concepts having to do with old age.

Walking is natural and effortless (for most of us). Years ago, I made it a part of my daily routine. I’m convinced that good things come to those who walk – fast or slow.

I’d like to hear from you. How do you use walking to enhance your life?