back to Jitbit Blog home About this blog

Boosting Creativity Tip #1

by Alex Yumashev · Oct 31 2011

"Ideas don't come from watching television" Seth Godin.

Stop watching. Start reading books.

When you read a book, your brain is in the "uber-creative" mode. It analyses the text and tries to visualize what you read. It builds abstractions, pictures, sometimes even a whole new universe... Every time your read something - your brain is working out in gym.

On the contrary, when you watch - everything is pre-created for you. You just sit there and consume the picture. Your brain rests. Everything is pre-constructed.

And just like your body passes through different sleep-phases before it goes to the REM sleeping phase, your brain passes through different creativity phases before it reaches the "uber-creativity" peak. This means, the reading process should last, uninterrupted, 10 minutes least. So we're talking fiction books, not Twitter, not blogs or news feeds. Not even professional literature. Fiction books. Biographies. Semi-fiction books, like Steve Jobs story or Anything You Want by Derek Sivers (highly recommended, by the way).

All the coolest ideas I had - I had while reading a book or listening to a great talk. So here are some tips for reading more:

  1. Take reading to where you have to wait - in the lines, at the landromat. Use public transportation - buses and the tube - instead of a car.
  2. Use gadgets. Use your smartphone. Buy an electronic reader and take it wherever you go. Since I bought my first Kindle, I read much more. Much more. Though now I prefer Sony over Kindle.
  3. Always have something to read. And contrary to common belief - it's great to read several books at a time. It's working out, remember?
  4. Use audiobooks when jogging, biking or cooking
  5. Read less. Read books you enjoy. If the book doesn't feel "right" after the first chapter - move on, don't force yourself. Don't feel pressured to read a book just because someone gave it to you as a present. Or you got it free at some conference. Stop. Move on. Otherwise only a half of your brain will be actually reading, the other half will be busy fixing your attention.