Thursday, April 8, 2010

Book Review: Change by Design

Book Title: Change by Design
Author: Tim Brown
Year of publication: 2009
Reviewer: Mermaid Chang, CRS 625, Spring 2010

The book Change By Design introduced design thinking and the author, Tim Brown, contended that many innovations do not simply leap from the minds of so-called geniuses, but rather are actually created through design thinking. In this book, he encouraged us to be a design thinker who knows how to use design thinking, not just be a designer. What’s the difference? One of the biggest differences is that the works of designers are supposed to be “watched” and the works of design thinkers are supposed to be “watched, and, used”. In brief, a design thinker is making things easier to use, more attractive and more functional.

According to the book, design thinking begins with problem solving and then continues by experimentation and implementation, instead of just imagining the outcome. Brown explained that the process of design thinking is matching people’s needs, and then translating those needs into demands by a holistic approach. The result is working with human beings to understand the issues rather than just focusing on business and technology issues.
The writer contended that design thinking doesn’t just work in creative industries - that it could be adopted in other industries - since design thinking is integrated by nature: a balance of people, technology and business. People are the most important element of innovation - the human centered approach. Observing people’s behaviors, which relate to products and services, is emphasized in design thinking because Brown believed that the emotional feeling is as important as the functional performances. In another words, it is a balance between emotional and cognitive dimensions of design.

The project called “Keep the Change” created by the Bank of America in October, 2005 is a good example. The program helps their customers contribute to their savings accounts by automatically rounding up debit card purchases to the nearest dollar and transferring this difference into the customers’ saving accounts. Bank of America observed the need that people wanted (or needed) to save money so they converted this need into a demanded service by creating an easy way of saving than tossing the change into a jar.

Experimentation is also encouraged because it might help integrate the creative culture of design thinking into organizations. Brown stressed that there is nothing wrong with failure as long as it comes early and often. Organizations can still benefit from learning from failure. The best way to execute experimenting is prototyping since it’s quick, cheap and dirty. The faster we make ideas tangible, the sooner we will be able to evaluate them, refine them, and zero in on the best solution. In fact, the prototype needs to be testable, yet doesn’t need to be physical; scenarios, storyboards or acting are all good ways. One important reminder is that we need to accept the “more complex” during the process just like we say embracing the ambiguity in the creativity field. But design thinking couldn’t work without design thinkers who implement deign thinking. Find them, nurture them and free them up to do what they do best. Brown thinks those designer thinkers already exist in every industry.

The Kaiser Permanente is a case in a point. Instead of hiring a slew of internal designers, their existing staffs learn the principles of design thinking and apply them themselves to achieve organization wide change without hiring professional designers. The author is telling us that creative thinking shouldn’t just limited in the creative industry or people in the design field, it could reach to any level of organizations, products and services through design thinking.
Brown also wrote about design thinking for Harvard Business Review in June, 2008. And Nussbaum (2008) asserted it marked that the acceptance and legitimization of design/innovation as an important business process and strategic tool for managers. Besides, Tim Brown was interviewed by a magazine from Taiwan called CommomWealth. Brown stressed that how design thinking might help CEO or high managers to be keep being innovative. He suggested the first step is asking the right question and all the answers will come after observing through. Those showed that design thinking is infused into other industries.
I also recommend the cover story, “The power of design” , of Businessweek, May,17 since it is one of the articles about IDEO which could illustrated how IDEO blossomed by adopting design thinking.

As a student of creativity field, I do see a lot of similarity between CPS (Creative Problem Solving) and design thinking since design thinking adopt brainstorming, storyboard or roll playing in early stage to solve the problems. Besides, I think design thinking is more about designing an experience and an idea must be implemented with the same care to become an experience. Comparing with CPS, I think the care is the attitude in Ruth Noller’s equation and the observing process is a type of contextual thinking skill. However, design thinking emphasized the importance of developing a prototype, which CPS doesn’t stress too much except making action plan.

To sum up, I did enjoy reading the book and I believe that this book did introduce another useful process for creativity, especially for people who want to know how to implement their ideas into real works. I highly recommend it to those who want to be innovative in any field. However, the author didn’t really explain the detail methods of how to execute design thinking in the book. If you are interested, IDEO Method Cards: 51 Ways to Inspire Design(2003) will be a good choice.

Brown, T. (2009). Change by Design. New York: HarperBusiness.

Brown, T. (2008, June). Design Thinking. Harvard Business Review. P.84-92.

IDEO. (2003). IDEO Method Cards: 51 Ways to Inspire Design. San Francisco: William Stout

Nussbaum, B. (2004, May, 17). The Power of Design. BusinessWeek. p.86

Nussbaum, B. (2008, June, 25). IDEO's Tim Brown On Innovation In The Harvard Business Review. BusinessWeek. Retrieved from

王曉玟(2009). 專訪IDEO執行長 布朗:請像設計師一樣思考.WealthCommon. Vol.421. Retrieved from

Book Review: Mindset

Book Title: Mindset
Author: Carol Dweck
Year of publication: 2006
Reviewer: Alyssa Roberts, CRS 625, Spring 2010

Carol Dweck, author of Mindset, makes readers aware of the two opposing mindsets people have: the growth mindset and the fixed mindset, and how achieving and sustaining success follows from the growth mindset. In the growth mindset a person’s potential is unknown. The amount of achievement one can have depends on the effort put in to reach goals and how obstacles are learning tools to move forward. They believe that you don’t get something for nothing; in other words, you get out what you put in. In the fixed mindset, intelligence, ability, potential, personality, etc are all fixed traits that cannot be developed. People who think this way are constantly trying to prove themselves to others and when they fall short of their goals, give up with the reasoning that, “if it was meant to be, it would have happened.”

In relating creativity to these mindsets, one can easily see that in order to be creative, one must adopt the growth mindset. The growth mindset approaches life in the spirit of learning, growing, and opportunity. Thinking creatively and with a growth mindset complements each other and promotes a better human existence! Creativity has been linked to well-being and successful adaptation to the demands of daily life (Puccio, Firestien, Coyle, & Masucci, 2006). A growth mindset facilitates this because the setbacks, which are inevitable in life, seem less of a roadblock if they are seen as an opportunity to learn. In a fixed mindset roadblocks signify the end of the road. Setbacks and failure define the person and do damage to self-esteem and future effort. There is no place for a fixed mindset attitude in creativity because it squelches creative thought, and leaves no room for growth, improvement, and change.

The characteristics of a creative person and a person who has a growth mindset are very similar. Openness to novelty and tolerance for ambiguity and complexity are effective skills in creative problem solving (Puccio & Cabra, 2007). People with a growth mindset are capable of this flexibility, level of tolerance, and limited control. In a growth mindset, divergent thinking comes naturally because the person is willing to test and learn from his/her mistakes, and use the results to think of something better. Each failure is an opportunity to learn. When Edison was working on the light bulb, it did not all come together in a flash and without the help of others. Someone commented that it was a shame he had tried “50,000” things that didn’t work, to which Edison replied that he had lots of results! He knew several things that wouldn’t work (Puccio, Murdock, & Mance, 2007). He had a growth mindset and learned from the mistakes to continue on.

People with a fixed mindset cannot help but stifle creative thoughts! In fact CEOs actually punished and fired people for questioning them and trying to be innovative for the company because it jeopardized their success. They needed to bring others down to feel validated. The need to prove their superiority killed their own enjoyment in their work and stifled their creativity. People with a fixed mindset have no ability to defer judgment because they feel they should be right the first time. They only need one idea, and if it’s right- great. If it’s not, then there is no turning back to try again. This is because if they were smart and capable they would have gotten it right the first time. Therefore the problem is either unsolvable or the thinker is incompetent, or some other excuse could be listed here as to why the problem is not solved. To someone with a fixed mindset, creativity, talent, intelligence, athleticism etc. are all fixed because you either have it or you don’t. They believe that if it was meant to be or happen, it should be or happen almost by magic! They think if they fail, they cannot change and become better. It cannot be taught. If I’m not good at it now, it cannot really change. Contrary to Dweck, Gary Davis says that some highly successful people like Walt Disney were born with some special talent that even with training cannot be matched (Davis, 2004). Dweck would argue that you could be as good as you wanted to be! She gives many examples of ordinary people like Marva Collins, a master teacher and learner, and athletes, such as Michael Jordan, that have gotten to the top by hard work, persistence, and passion.

We start learning soon after we are born and those close to us push us towards one mindset or the other. Teachers and parents mean well, but exhibit a fixed mindset when they praise product over effort. Reinforcing effort says that even if something’s not right, it can be fixed! There is an opportunity to grow if you don’t succeed, and that in order to get better you must fail. A fixed mindset doesn’t not allow the students to think creatively because they are too worried about their self being judged. It’s not that an idea is bad, it’s more that they themselves are not good. Growth minded students think, if at first you don’t succeed, try try again. It is important to remind students that they are in school to learn! They shouldn’t automatically know everything because then they wouldn’t be there. From this early age we must intrinsically motivate them as this will promote creative expression and a growth mindset. Surprisingly, there is research to suggest that creative people are also extrinsically motivated by professional achievement and recognition, with the thinking that “their work is a key aspect of their identity...” (Byrne, Mumford, Barrett, & Vessey, 2009). After reading Mindset, I am weary of the people working with these end goals in mind as it is very characteristic of the fixed mindset. Are they motivated only by being better than others and keeping a status? Is their identity in life defined by their work? What happens when they don’t produce?

In Dweck’s book, the reader can see how important an attitude or mindset is to creative advancement. With the many examples she gives of business leaders, coaches, athletes, and teachers it is easy for the reader to recognize people they know or maybe positions they’ve taken in their life in terms of the two mindsets. Successful companies built upon creativity like IDEO rely on the growth mindset. Even the CEO feels no need to prove himself and is an active member of the group to get the job done. Things would never improve if people’s self esteems were at risk or if it was impossible for them to learn from their mistakes. Personally, the book made me challenge the way I think about my failures and what I am doing to learn from them and how they affect my future endeavors. If this book can effect others the way it effected me, we would have a much more productive society with a focus on creative change.


Byrne, C.L., Mumford, M.D., Barrett, J.D., Vessey, W.B. (2009). Examining the leaders of creative efforts: What do they do, and what do they think about. Creativity and Innovation Management, 18(4), 256-268.

Davis, G.A. (2004). Creativity is forever (5th ed.). Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt.

Puccio, G.J., Firestien, R.L., Coyle, C. & Masucci, C. (2006). A review of the effectiveness of CPS training: A focus on workplace issues. Creativity and Innovation Management, 15(1), 19-33.

Puccio, G.J., Murdock, M.C., Mance, M. (2007). Creative leadership: Skills that drive change. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

Puccio, G. J., & Cabra, J. F. (2009). Creative problem solving: Past, present and future (327-337). In T. Rickards, M. Runco, & S. Moger (Eds.), The Routledge Companion to Creativity. Oxford, UK: Routledge.

Book Review: A fine line: How Design Strategies are Shaping the Future of Business

Book Title: A fine line: How Design Strategies are Shaping the Future of Business
Author: Harmut Esslinger
Year of publication: 2009
Reviewer: Deedee Clohesy, CRS 625, Spring 2010

“I understood very early on that businesses need creativity like humans need oxygen, and I was able to convince my clients that they needed to ‘breathe’ in order to flourish” (Esslinger, 2009, p. xii).

By all accounts, frog design, inc. has done everything right. In his book Fine Line: How Design Strategies are Shaping the Future of Business, frog’s founder, Hartmut Esslinger, takes readers on a personal and professional journey through forty years of cutting-edge design thinking, creative strategies, and innovative problem-solving. Remaining down to earth and surprisingly un-pompous, Esslinger’s narrative is straightforward and informative from both a design and a business perspective, and offers invaluable insight to anyone looking for an insider view of the industry and how design and business principles can be combined for greater force within it.

While still a student, Esslinger had an experience – a rejection in a design competition – that served as an epiphany. Dismissing the current world of design as a stiff and limiting hierarchy, he founded his first design firm, esslinger design (Esslinger purposely did not capitalize the name), in 1969 with one simple vision: that design could be relevant to business and industry and be redefined as a strategic profession. He formulated a six-step, simple but ambitious plan that included working for the client rather than for himself and always looking for the best people when it came to not just business partners and employees, but in clients, too. Providing the best for the best was, in Esslinger’s plan, the way to success. And it worked.

Founding frog (again, no capitalization, as a purposeful rebellion against grammatical rules) shortly thereafter, Esslinger formed a business relationship with Steve Jobs of Apple Computer and created the “Snow White language” that would serve as the basis for Apple’s revolution and a precursor for Apple’s present-day colossal market presence.

Leadership, to Esslinger, was the hinge upon which a company’s success could swing. Principles and vision and strategy were all part of success, but without effective leadership, nothing else could work. Having witnessed the implosion of Apple after Jobs’ dismissal in 1985, he attributed the ensuing dysfunction on lack of foresight and poor leadership. Leaders, Esslinger said, are obligated to make all the right decisions – for their company, its employees, its shareholders, their families, and the local economy; it’s what Tim Brown (2008) of IDEO calls “the people first approach” (87). The most important factors in effective leadership are the desire to explore the unknown, to be willing to take risks, and above all – flexibility. Creative strategy is flexible. So must be its leaders. Frog’s motto, in fact, is Change Is Fun (Esslinger, 2009).

In 2008, Amabile and Khair wrote an article for the Harvard Business Review, in which Amy Edmunson, a professor at Harvard, stressed management’s role in creating a psychologically safe environment in order to foster trust and creativity. Esslinger obviously built frog on this principle, yet was focused and confident, wielding what Jack and Suzy Welch (2007) referred to "The Velvet Hammer” (116) – the firm but gentle approach to managing creative personalities.

Esslinger moves through the various schools of thought in the design world, pointing out the importance of choosing the right creative partner for the job. His strategy was nothing new; domain specificity and interdomain creativity differences have been studied by researchers and scholars like Howard Gardner for years. Donald MacKinnon’s seminal research into the ego, personalities, and self-images of architects in the 1960’s laid solid ground for such theory. (Runco, 2007). Esslinger recognized this and worked it into his success. Putting, for example, a classic designer like Dieter Rams on a project more suited for an artistic designer such as Ross Lovegrove was, to Esslinger, counterintuitive and an irresponsible way to run things. Frog’s strategy, nonetheless, is still one of holistic design, of “strategic designers who are fluent in convergent technologies, social and ecological needs, and business”(p. 53). Like Pixar’s Ed Catmull (2008) noted about his company’s peer culture and creative process, “everyone is fully invested in helping everyone else turn out the best work” (p.69).

(And as an interesting aside, the building in which Pixar is located was designed by Steve Jobs).

Frog’s influence is far-reaching and deeply pervasive and, despite the current economic situation, is still turning a profit as a global design entity. Esslinger and frog have spent the last forty years proving what works in design and industry, and how to incorporate and merge them together to form success in business. A Fine Line puts it in plain, simple terms that not only make sense, but serve as a motivating factor to anyone wishing to follow frog’s lead. Leadership, vision, innovation, and confidence are all overwhelming factors in frog’s rise to the top of the creative design ladder, and are founded on core creativity and business principles that, when patched together the right way, spell great success.


Amabile, T. and Khaire, M. (2008, October). Creativity and the role of the leader. Harvard Business Review. 101-109.

Brown, T. (2008, June). Design thinking. Harvard Business Review. 84-92

Catmull, E. (2008, September). How Pixar fosters collective creativity. Harvard Business Review. 65-72.

Runco, M. (2007). Creativity theories and themes: research, development, and practice. Burlington, MA: Elsevier.

Welch, J. and Welch, S. (2007, September 27) Wielding the velvet hammer . Business Week. 4051. 116. Retrieved from

Book Review: The Design Of Business

Book Title: The Design of Business
Author: Roger Martin
Year of publication: 2009
Reviewer: Lindsay Brauer, CRS 625, Spring 2010

“The Design of Business” written by Roger Martin is a great source of collective data on various businesses that have adapted and used design thinking as a means to better their business.

Martin discusses the aspects of design thinking in the business world. Martin coins the term “knowledge funnel” and describes it as a path a business takes to create a successful product or service. The funnel is described as a great tool to help aid in the funneling in of details, implications, individual thinking processes, group thinking process and all other ideas that exist.

Martin discusses the two different parts of business; analytical thinking and intuitive thinking. Martin describes analytical thinking as:

“…Harnesses two forms of logic- deductive reasoning and inductive reasoning….the goal of this thinking is mastery through rigorous, continuously repeated analytical processes. Judgment, bias, and variation are the enemies.” (Martin, pg.5)

and describes intuitive thinking as “the art of knowing without reasoning”. Martin believes a business needs an equal amount of analytical and intuitive thinking for success. (Martin, pg. 6) The belief in the two forms of thinking is shared by Leron & Hazzan who believe that “analytical thinking is respectable by peers while intuitive is declared as illegitimate” (Leron & Hazzan, pg. 266)

The earlier definitions of design thinking was focused around the idea that it is a process for practical, creative resolution of problems or issues that looks for important future results (Simon, 1969). Stepping into the present, design thinking relays on reliability vs. validity according to Martin (pg. 26). Tim Brown from IDEO says design thinking is “a discipline, that uses the designers sensibility and methods to match people’s needs with what is technologically feasible and what a viable business strategy can convert into customer value and market opportunity” (pg 62).

Martin brings in examples of businesses we all can relate to and are familiar with, and in some cases, felt the failure and then the recovery due to design thinking. Apple, IBM, Colgate, McDonalds and Procter and Gamble are just a few of the detailed experiences each business went through prior to implementing design thinking and after.

Being able to read the background stories of some of the most popular and well-known businesses is a great motivator to prove that a business if given the right direction, can be successful. The more recent stories such as Procter and Gamble allow readers who may have been affected by the crash in stocks, to have an understanding as to what occurred and why it took so long to recover and get back on track. The reader is given the details as to what steps they took, who they went to and why.

Martin discusses for every business mentioned that when they began to recover from failure the businesses were creating an equal balance between analytical thinking and intuitive thinking. Diego Uribe’s belief in dynamic balance plays an important role in developing a successful business he states: “Dynamic balance is a state of equilibrium that emerges from the interaction between two or more forces” (Uribe, 2010).

Martin goes further with his research and discusses how exploration vs. exploitation are also factors that need to be known in order to have a successful design of business. “Quality Exploitation deals with the quality management practices that aim to control the known problems and processes…while quality exploration includes quality management practices that aim to explore the unknown and to identify and purse novel ideas/solutions” (Zhang, 2010). Martin’s concept of exploration vs. exploitation agrees with Zhang. Martin breaks down the concept each into seven parts that easily explain the purpose and the effect of each in the business world of design.

Martin speaks about the development of your own personal knowledge system, how we acquire and knowledge. He also discusses how your own personal knowledge system can be turned in to a successful business knowledge system. The importance of understanding personal knowledge system or any knowledge system is seen in research by David Chen, where his results then introduced a new concept to schools that focused on human nature and the nature of their knowledge (Chen, 2010).

The strengths of this book revolve around all the great examples of popular and well-known businesses. Not only does it allow you to see what occurred within the company before adopting design thinking, but it also gives you details of how they came about bringing design thinking to life in their business. Many of us watched on the news as some of these businesses crashed over the last few years and this book provides excellent insider information as to the business failure due to lack of design and the rebirth of the business including design. It clearly shows evidence and proof that creative thinking in a business is needed to be successful. The more businesses adapt this type of thinking and this type of creativity, the more successful they will become and the more creative and innovating products will be born.
The book lacks the instructional part of design thinking, or the step by steps as to what it is and how to successfully adopt it to any business. Although the examples were great, and had great detail as to how design thinking helped them, the book still lacked a formal review of the steps needed to successful adapt and maintain design thinking in a business. The book provides you with examples of success, but without the actual breakdown and steps needed to implement design thinking, the idea of creativity advancing seems slim without those steps being elaborated on or more clearly expressed.

Chen, D. (2010). Schooling as a Knowledge System: Lessons from Cramim Experimental School. Mind, Brain and Education, 4, 8.

Uribe, D. (Director) (2010, February 22). Harvesting Dynamic Balance for a Better World.. TEDx Tampa Bay. Lecture conducted from TEDx, Tampa Bay.

Leron, U., & Hazzan, O. (2009). Intuitive vs Analytical Thinking: Four Perspectives. Springer Science + Business Media, 1, 1-15.

Martin, R. (2009). The Design of Business. Boston: Harvard Business Press.

Simon, H. (1969). The Sciences of the Artificial. Cambridge: MIT Press.

Zhang, D. (2010). Quality exploitation versus quality exploration: measurements,
antecedents and performance implications. Industrial & Organizational Psychology, 70, 2616.

Book Review: Creative Recovery: A Complete Addiction Treatment Program That Uses Your Natural Creativity

Book Title: Creative Recovery: A Complete Addiction Treatment Program That Uses Your Natural Creativity
Authors: Eric Maisel, PhD and Susan Raeburn, PhD
Year of publication: 2008
Reviewer: Jenna Ziegler, CRS 625, Spring 2010

While Maisel and Raeburn directed Creative Recovery towards a specific population, that being creative people who are suffering from addiction, that is not to say that the definitions and explanations provided in this volume couldn’t be valuable to readers of varying perspectives. One such perspective is the reader who is looking to understand the illness that is addiction. For that reader, Maisel and Raeburn outline several aspects of addiction including types of addictions, the addiction spectrum, and the types of risk factors that contribute to addictive behavior. Enter creativity. The authors explain how being a creative person is in itself a risk factor for addiction and how the creative person is more susceptible to addiction due to some of the characteristics determined to be typical of the creative personality. Rather than diving into the immense body of research that has been done about the creative personality, the authors cite one trait in particular that they assert contributes to addiction the most: individuality. According to the authors, the more than 75 traits that are related to the creative personality all flow from individuality. It is traits like these that come together to make the creative person more prone to addiction as they attempt to express their individuality. In his studies of personality, Gary Davis (2004) categorized over thirty personality traits that can be attributed to or fall under the heading of “independent.” One of these traits is “individualistic”, and it is not a far stretch to see how the others listed in the category can contribute to one’s sense of individuality, such as outspoken, uninhibited, and strong willed. Other traits that make the creative person vulnerable to addiction, as described by the authors and supported by Runco (2007) include an openness to experience as well as an attitude of non-conformity. A person who is open to a wide variety of experiences may also suffer from issues of self-control which have also been linked to addictive behaviors (Miller, 2007). Clearly, the assertions that the authors make to support the creative person as more prone to addiction than their non-creative counterpart are rooted in several personality studies and hefty personality research. In summary, the authors successfully illustrate that there are many overlaps between the creative personality and the addictive personality.

After giving a background on addiction - its meaning, its warning signs, and its risk-factors - the authors dedicate the remainder of the book to outlining an addiction recovery program geared towards the risks faced particularly by the creative person. It is in these steps that the authors forfeit some of their readers by defining creativity rather narrowly. In the beginning of the book, Maisel and Raeburn (2008) describe what they believe to be the creative person and essentially define creativity. In their opinion, the creative person is:

a sensitive, intelligent, thoughtful, ethically responsible person with a deep desire to actualize [their] potential; someone who responds to beauty and is interested in beauty; a person with a strong sense of individuality who nevertheless needs to make more-than-just-me connections; someone who would love to live an artful, art-filled, and possibly art-committed life that feels rich and authentic (p. 3).

While this definition begins broad and seems to include creative endeavors of all kinds by simply defining the creative person, it ends by restricting creativity as pertaining to arts and aesthetics. What follows in the remainder of the book is an outline of a recovery program that is based on this definition and tailored to the type of creative person defined above. At the conclusion of each chapter the authors provide exercises designed for the various types of creative people, intended to reinforce the particular aspect of the recovery program they described in that chapter. While they do indeed make use of the reader’s creativity, the exercises, which are directed toward dancers, musicians, writers, visual artists, and scientists, limit the ways in which people in other creative fields could benefit from their recovery program. The one way in which the authors compensate for this is by offering one last set of exercises, vaguely directed at “the dreamer.” This works as a “catch-all” for those creative people that do not fit into the categories listed above.

The final section of this book deals with maintaining sobriety and overcoming the challenges that stem from the need to create. This section, which has the benefit of being proactive, discretely calls upon some rather robust principles of creativity. One of these principles in disguise is the need to live an authentic life. The authors describe an authentic life as one which is ethical, passionate and creative, and one in which we strive for personal integrity. This description is very reminiscent of the self-actualized life described by Maslow (1968). Another principle stressed by the authors comes in the form of a caveat. In order to avoid relapse, the authors recommend a careful, reflective balance of our creative personality, the creative work itself, and the world in which we find ourselves creating. It is just as important that we pay attention to the ways we work through the creative process and to those steps that might be the most troublesome to us and therefore threaten sobriety. It is easy to see how closely these elements resemble the model of creativity presented by Rhodes (1987) and how equal attention to each aspect - person, product, process, and press - is necessary in order to live a sober life that is free of relapse. As implied in any system model, neglect of any one of these pieces can threaten the health of the whole, which in this case is the sobriety of the person involved.

By no means do the authors purport that addiction is restricted to those members of the population that show creative tendencies. Instead, they put forth the idea that since certain aspects of the creative person make him or her more likely to fall victim to addiction, then there ought to be a recovery program that takes these aspects into account and is designed particularly with this person in mind. Throughout this text, the authors examine addiction with creativity as the backdrop. Though their definition of creativity might exclude some creative people from reaping the full benefit of their program, there are several arguments, steps, suggestions, and considerations that can be taken to heart by any person seeking to recover from addiction or aid a loved one who is.


Davis, G. (2004). Creativity is forever. Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt.

Maisel, E. & Raeburn, S. (2008). Creative recovery: A complete addiction treatment program that uses your natural creativity. Boston: Shambhala Publications, Inc.

Maslow, A. (1968). Toward a psychology of being. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

Miller, W. R. (2007). Is addiction a problem of self-control? In J. E. Henningfield, P. B. Santora, and W. K. Bickel (Eds.), Addiction Treatment: Science and Policy for the Twenty-first Century (pp. 19-23). Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press.

Rhodes, M. (1987). An analysis of creativity. In S. G. Isaksen (Ed.), Frontiers of creativity research: Beyond the Basics (pp. 216-222). Buffalo: Bearly Limited.

Runco, M. A. (2007). Creativity: theories and themes, research, development, and practice. New York: Elsevier Academic Press.

Book Review: Child of Wonder: Nurturing Creative & Naturally Curious Children

Book Title: Child of Wonder: Nurturing Creative & Naturally Curious Children
Author: Ginger Carlson
Year of Publication: 2008
Reviewer: Sarah Komendat, CRS 625, Spring 2010

Child of Wonder offers parents insights and ideas into how their child’s brain works and what activities can be done together as families. Ginger Carlson recorded this information for parents after she herself became a parent and realized that children deserve more credit than what they are given. She is also passionate about helping and teaching children to keep their “wonder” into adulthood, since so many people lose their spirit of play as they grow-up (p. XV). The reason why I chose this particular book to review is because I too am curious why people give up playing. I also wanted to see what kinds of activities I can implement within my family to foster creativity. The following paragraphs are a review of Child of Wonder.

A very helpful tool for parents / teachers is the “creativity busters” section on pages eight and nine. The section lists phrases that will hinder and bust creativity, and it warns parents of the implications of saying the busters. Readers may connect Carlson’s “creativity busters” with Gary Davis’ “creativity squelchers”. Knowing what busts or squelches creativity is valuable for parents to know since many people blurt out phrases like “act your age” or “don’t paint that the wrong color” without even thinking. It is good that Carlson made readers aware of unintentional wrongdoings.

The theme of the book is an overall strive to make learning fun, placing a solid emphasis on connecting learning to play. Play is a very valuable learning tool that often gets taken for granted. People (children and adults) do not play enough. Carlson does an excellent job of showing parents how to play and join in on “childish” activities with their families. Particularly with the cooking and “yes day” activities, she informs readers of the amazing potential growth from allowing children to experiment with unordinary elements. Carlson relates to Mainemelis’ and Ronson’s (2006) theory that “creativity is born out of some form or moment of play” (p. 85). By experimenting with cooking recipes, a child may create the family’s new favorite dish.

In each chapter Carlson displays a picture book list. At the end of each section she gives parents a list of books that may enhance their child’s curiosity in that section’s subject matter. This is a valuable tool for parents that want to expose their child to a variety of activities to find their interests.

Possibly the greatest potential this book has to offer is that it might help adults become more playful and creative. By reading this book, parents will gain insights about why playing with their children is so valuable to the relationships that they build with their children. Play is helpful for an adult’s business life as well. Statler, Roos, and Victor (2009) made a case for play to be a necessity for success in the workplace, and that adults often fail to “keep imagining” (2009). When a whole family plays together, every individual in that family benefits.
Teaching children how to play and discover has potential to enhance their social learning skills. Through guided play and creative activities, a child’s self-control, self-regulation, and self-efficacy can blossom (Snowman, McCown, & Biehler, 2009). Many of Carlson’s suggestions for activities cater best to pre-school age children, in the hopes of getting them ready for kindergarten.

One concern about the book is how to better construct the title of the book so that readers can know that the book will be mostly about learning and how to make learning fun, with creativity as a subset. Carlson often refers to children as “your learners” implying that the suggested activities stress learning over creativity. A possibly better title is, “Child of Wonder: Nurturing Learning and Creativity using the Arts in Curious Children.”

Carlson gave a plethora of activities to do with children, but she leaves readers with little insight about why those activities work. To better educate the readers about why the activities are valuable, in a future edition, Carlson may want to figure out how to add more scientific research backing to each chapter. Cornett (2007) provides a similar theme to her book, Creating Meaning Through Literature and the Arts. For a more detailed introduction of why play and learning go so well together, readers should invest in Cornett’s book.

Overall, Child of Wonder is a great read. Anyone who wants ideas for bringing creativity to their household should consider purchasing Child of Wonder. Readers must understand that these activities need not only be done with children, but can be fun for adults as well. My highest recommendation for this book goes out to parents who want to foster creativity in and grow a meaningful relationship with their children.


Cornett, C. E. (2007). Creating meaning through literature and the arts: an integration resource for classroom teachers. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson.

Davis, G. A. (2004). Creativity is forever. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company.

Snowman, J., McCown, R., & Biehler, R. (2009). Psychology applied to teaching. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.

Statler, M., Roos, J., & Victor, B. (2009). Ain’t misbehavin’: taking play seriously in organizations. Journal of Change Management, 9(1), 87-107.

Mainemelis, C., & Ronson, S. (2006). Ideas are born in fields of play: towards a theory of play and creativity in organizational settings. Research in Organizational Behavior, 27, 81-131.