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Creativity

The worst tool for idea generation?

Alex Osborn was the real life Don Draper. He co-founded the advertising agency BBDO—the inspiration behind the fictional Sterling Cooper agency in Mad Men, one of my all-time favorite shows. In the 1930s, Osborn invented a practice at BBDO to boost creativity. The goal was to generate ideas for client …

Spectacularly you

Back in 1998—before Spotify was a thing—Derek Sivers started a company called CD Baby that allowed musicians to sell their albums online. If you purchased a CD on the website, you’d get a generic automated email letting you know that the order had been placed and thanking you for your …

Write one of your own

Nine months. That’s how long 6-year-old Stephen spent bedridden at home instead of attending the first grade. His problems started with the measles and progressed to repeated ear and throat issues. To entertain himself, he’d read comic books—tons of them. From time to time, he’d also copy the books he …

To create better, shut down your mind

Carl Sagan was the voice of scientific reason. His creative process, however, was anything but reasonable. He had a practice of letting his thoughts run wild at night, often with the aid of marijuana. He’d smoke a joint, start talking to himself, and record his thoughts on a tape recorder …

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