Monday, September 29, 2008


I read a book review on "Iconoclast" by Gregory Berns in Fast Company, October 2008.

Iconoclast in the case of the book means to One who attacks cherished beliefs. I think most entrepreneurs are good at this. They challenge the known and think creatively.

The following is a summary of Iconoclast from Fast Company:

-- The brain is fundamentally a lazy piece of meat. It doesn't want to waste energy.

-- In order to think creatively, you must develop new neural pathways and break out of the cycle of experience - dependant categorization. As Mark Twain said, "Education consists mainly in what we have unlearned." For most people, this does not come naturally. Often, the harder you think differently, the more rigid the categories become.

-- Fortunately, the networks that govern both perception and imagination can be reprogrammed. By deploying your attention differently, the frontal cortex, which contains rules for decision making, can reconfigure neural networks so that you can see things that you didn't see before. You need a novel stimulus -- either a new piece of information or an unfamiliar environment -- to jolt attentional systems awake. The more radical the change, the greater the likelihood of fresh insights.

-- Only when you consciously confront your brain's shortcuts will you be able to imagine outside of its boundaries.

So I believe in the theory. I know I want to be creative. I know I need to to thrive in a changing world. Part of my routine is to challenge myself intellectually. I partly do that by reading but often by doing something completely different. I am thinking how to incorporate this into habit.


At 10:28 AM, Blogger Jeff said...

This is so right on. I think the ability of the brain to reprogram is one of the most amazing things. Additionally, it is what is so frustrating when people tell me they aren't "creative." It is simply that their brain is "lazy" and using all the old connections. Only by forcing the brain to reconnect ideas can we be creative and we all have that power. Our creativity is a function of our anatomy as much it if is a function mental capacity.

At 10:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the opportunity to comment. I enjoyed the overview in Fast Company and was particularly drawn to the links to creativity, especially of those who are facing a situation for the first time. It supports the notion with some neurological evidence, that new employees often bring new ideas and new "blood".

It provided a great foundation for hiring and recruitment for some positions from "outside" of the company.



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