Book Review: The Accidental Creative

by Todd Henry

When did your last creative idea arrive in your mind? Was it in the midst of an intense brainstorming session, or was it in a quiet, private moment, one free of deadlines, concentration and (most likely) other people? Unfortunately, the nature of today’s work environment means that executives are expected to be brilliant on command. As Todd Henry, author and CEO, jokes with more than a subtle twinge of seriousness, “No pressure, right?” However, as Henry demonstrates in his book The Accidental Creative: How to Be Brilliant at a Moment’s Notice, you can influence your creative process and make your ideas more effective. This book is now available as a Soundview Executive Book Summary.

Executives will find Henry’s list of “creativity assassins” every bit as important as his methods for defeating them. His description of workplace dissonance as a killer of creativity is particularly poignant. Think of what you need to do in the next hour. Do the items that fill that to-do list have any true bearing on why your job is crucial to the goals and values of your company? It’s through such thought-provoking questions that Henry unlocks creativity and puts it into a manageable practice.

The Accidental Creative uses the term “creative rhythm” to describe the interaction between a person and his or her creative process. Henry introduces five areas that contribute to creative rhythm: focus, relationships, energy, stimuli and hours. While the sections devoted to each area are filled with unique insights, executives may find “Hours” to be the most useful. Henry describes time as the “currency of productivity,” and as with life itself, it’s not the number of hours one is allotted but what he or she chooses to do with them that matters most. A good start would be to devote a fraction of one hour to reading the Soundview Executive Book summary of The Accidental Creative.