Kirkus Reviews QR Code


How to Be Brilliant at a Moment's Notice

by Todd Henry

Pub Date: July 7th, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-59184-401-3
Publisher: Portfolio

Creative professionals whose brilliance has faded might take a rag and some spit to their careers using this inspirational handbook from creativity consultant Henry.

With a few personal anecdotes and very little technical jargon, the author’s debut cuts right to the chase: Nobody, he writes, actually wants to create on demand. But by narrowing one's focus to three priorities at a time while paying attention to seemingly unrelated creative impulses, Henry argues that imaginative sparks can grow into fully realized ideas if they are given a little structure and a lot of space. Too often, he writes, creative professionals play it safe to avoid getting fired, potentially missing great moments of inspiration while churning out a steady flow of mediocre work. It’s an idea that’s popular in the tech industry right now, but Henry’s tips will work even for professionals who don’t build prototypes. Much like Julia Cameron in The Artist's Way (2002), Henry peppers his self-help guide with creativity-enhancing exercises for readers to use in their daily lives. But he avoids the overly prescriptive—readers won't have to navigate essay questions or flow charts. The author wins points by acknowledging that burnout comes from unrealistic expectations combined with energy-sucking meetings and nonstop e-mails. He adds value with simple methods for removing items from an artist's to-do list that make setting priorities and managing time effectively seem more attainable.

Readers will relate to Henry’s description of the creative process and learn to sustain creativity over time.