So how, exactly, does creativity work? Jonah Lehrer’s bestselling new book Imagine: How Creativity Works is a lucid attempt to scientifically explain both creativity and imagination. As Lehrer told me when he came into our San Francisco studio last week, his goal is to make sense of that “epiphany” in the shower which results in the insight (what he calls in the book, the thing that “comes out of nowhere”) of a great idea.
Lehrer’s book is, of course, essential for entrepreneurs seeking to come up with that brilliant new idea which will revolutionize the world. Indeed, Lehrer includes entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg with artists like Bob Dylan in his pantheon of creative geniuses. But as Lehrer explained to me, imagination and creativity are increasingly collaborative things which require us to innovate together. “Either we must work together,” he told me, “or we will fail alone.”
So maybe entrepreneurs should consider taking group showers to stimulate that next billion dollar idea.
Jonah Lehrer is a journalist who writes as contributing editor at Wired and is the author of Proust Was a Neuroscientist (2007), How We Decide (2010), and Imagine: How Creativity Works (2012). He is also a frequent contributor to The New Yorker and Radiolab and writes the “Head Case” column for The Wall Street Journal.