New Summary: The Spark and the Grind by Erik Wahl

the-spark-and-the-grind-hardcover-whiteWe’ve been conditioned to think about creative genius as a dichotomy: dreamers versus doers, the spark of inspiration versus the grind of hard work. But what if we’re wrong? What if it’s the spark and the grind? Erik Wahl, a visual artist, speaker and entrepreneur, helps us unite the yin and the yang of creativity — the dynamic new ideas with the dogged effort. He shows why we won’t get far if we rely on the spark without the grind or the grind without the spark. What the world really needs are the creators who can hold the two in balance to further innovation. Wahl offers surprising insights and practical advice about how to fan the sparks and make the grind more productive. He deftly synthesizes the wisdom of other artists, philosophers, scientists and business visionaries throughout history, and adds the secrets of his own practice. If you want to ensure constant creativity in your life and produce your most innovative work — this is your guide.

• To discover the creativity within yourself, as well as how to harness and cultivate that creative spark into something tangible.
• To trust the unpredictable nature of the creative process, and then develop a disciplined routine that will strengthen your creative drive.
• To embrace the unfamiliar, take risks and find comfort in being an amateur knowing that the unknown can only fuel those creative sparks.

Upcoming Webinar: What Hackers and Punks Can Teach Us About Navigating the New Normal

featuring Geoffrey Colon
Thursday, January 12, 2017
1:00 PM EST
Register here

Technology hasn’t just reshaped mass media, it’s altering behavior as well. And getting through to customers will take some radical rethinking.

Toss the linear plan, strip away conventions, and join Soundview Live for our webinar, What Hackers & Punks Can Teach Us About Navigating the New Normal with Geoffrey Colon, on a provocative, fast-paced tour of our changing world.

Packed with trends, predictions, and stories from a career spent pushing boundaries, this event will propel you out of your comfort zone and into the disruptive mindset you need for future success.

What You’ll Learn:

  • Where selling is dead, but ongoing conversation thrives
  • Where consumers generate the best content about brands
  • Where people tune out noise and listen to feelings
  • Where curiosity leads the marketing team
  • Where growth depends on merging analytics with boundless creativity

Fixing the 7 Fatal Flaws of Thinking

Image result for winning the brain gameEach day, a game of mind versus matter plays out on a field defined by the problems we must solve. Most are routine and don’t demand a more mindful approach. It’s when we’re faced with more difficult challenges that our thinking becomes vulnerable to brain patterns that can lead us astray. We leap to solutions that simply don’t work. We fixate on old mindsets that keep us stuck in neutral. We overthink problems and make them worse. We kill the ideas of others as well as our own. Worse, we keep doing these things, over and over again, naturally and instinctively.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. In Winning the Brain Game, author and creative strategist Matthew E. May explains these and other “fatal flaws” of thinking, revealing seven observable problem-solving patterns that can block our best thinking. Calling on modern neuroscience and psychology to help explain the seven fatal flaws, May draws insights from some of the world’s most innovative thinkers. He then blends in a super-curated, field-tested set of “fixes” proven through hundreds of creative sessions to raise our thinking game to a more mindful level. Regardless of the playing field, mindful thinking is the new competitive advantage, and the seven fixes are a magic set of tools for achieving it. Winning the Brain Game will lead you to better decision-making, higher levels of creativity, clearer strategies and overall success in business, work and life.

• The seven fatal flaws of thinking and the fix for each one.
• The importance of reframing and generating the right questions.
• Concrete ideas and strategies for practicing each cure.
• How neuroscience can help solve problems.

Everything Connects: How to Transform and Lead in the Age of Creativity, Innovation and Sustainability

Check out the FULL SUMMARY

The constant cascade of new technologies and social changes is creating a more empowered population. Workforces are increasingly dispersed, demanding of self-expression and quite possibly disengaged. Within this topsy-turvy context, leaders must spark creativity, drive innovation and ensure sustainability.

Get a FREE sample summary!

What are the remedies? The newest problems of the world find solutions in the oldest and timeless practices such as mindfulness, authenticity and perseverance –– because Everything Connects. Everything Connects is a kaleidoscopic view of the way humans –– by being able to think out of the box –– have been able to achieve greatness for themselves, their organizations and the world at large. It is your step-by-step guide for working with yourself and others for meaningful success.

Part philosophy, part business and part history, Everything Connects offers the wisdom of 2,500-year-old Eastern philosophies and the interconnected insights of Leonardo da Vinci. Couple that with Fortune 100 corporate cross pollination for creativity and startup thinking for how to adapt with ease, and you’ll quickly discover that Everything Connects.

This isn’t just a quick fix for your next financial quarter; this is how you succeed in the long run. It is a systemization of the best practices of spirituality and entrepreneurship –– loaded with knowledge, humor and humanity.


Seth Godin Paves the Path of the Artist


How High Will You Fly?

To be a success today, writes prolific marketing thought-leader Seth Godin in his new book, The Icarus Deception, you must be an artist. Everyone in every field, including business, must be an artist, because artists — true artists — are not afraid to stand out, to take chances, to reject conformity and the old way of doing things. “Art is an attitude,” Godin explains. “Seizing new ground, making connections between people or ideas, working without a map — these are works of art, and if you do them, you are an artist, regardless of whether you wear a smock, use a computer, or work with others all day long.” (Godin notes that many painters are not artists, because they simply paint the same things as other painters who came before them. Their work, Godin insists, is not art.)

Being an artist is required because today, Godin writes, your comfort zone — the corner office, the degree from a famous college, the secure job with the big company — is no longer the safety zone. Comfort zone and safety zone used to be one and the same — you did want to earn that degree and get that secure job because it was both comfortable and safe. But here is where the problem rises today, Godin writes: When you’re comfortable, you’re probably not safe. Not in what Godin calls the “connection economy.” In the connection economy, the plushness of your office or the size of your factories mean nothing if you’re not making connections. “If your factory burns down but you have loyal customers, you’ll be fine,” Godin writes. “On the other hand, if you lose your customers, even your factory isn’t going to help you — Detroit is filled with empty factories. The comfort zone used to be found in the mass market. Efficiency of marketing and manufacturing kept you and your company safe.”

But the Internet changed everything, Godin writes. The real safety zone lies in making products for the “weird,” not for the mass market. “It’s now cheaper and more efficient to make edgy, amazing products for the weird edge cases (who are listening and talking and who care) than it is to push yet another average product onto the already overloaded average people in the middle of the curve,” he writes. In other words, it’s safer to market to the edge.

And that is where being an artist becomes important, according to Godin. He put a considerable amount of artistry into the creation of his own book. The Icarus Deception is partly the product of Godin’s fundraising effort on It was the publishing equivalent of a PBS pledge drive on overdrive, complete with premium items tiered by the amount donated.

Assets of the Artist

In a chapter entitled “The Connection Economy Demands That We Create Art,” he explains that in today’s economy, success depends on six “assets”: trust, permission, remarkability, leadership, stories that spread, and humanity (connection, compassion and humility). “These assets aren’t generated by external strategies and MBAs and positioning memos,” writes Godin. “These are the results of internal trauma, of brave decisions and the willingness to live with dignity. They are about standing out, not fitting in, about inventing, not duplicating.” In other words, these six indispensable assets “are the result of successful work by artists.”

Successful leadership today is also the work of the artist, Godin writes. Instead of the controlling boss of the past, the new leader is vulnerable and willing to take us to new, unsafe places. Also, in the past world of limited choice, shelf space was the key asset. As Godin explains, “You could buy your way onto the store shelf, or you could be the only one on the ballot, or you could use a connection to get your resume in front of the hiring guy.” Today consumers have an overabundance of choices, which makes such tactics obsolete. To gain the attention and trust of others, you need to launch “stories that spread,” Godin writes.

In The Icarus Deception, Godin argues that we have been deceived into believing that we shouldn’t try to fly too high. Godin notes that the other side of the story — that Icarus was also warned not to fly too low — is never told. There is a bias against those who reach for the sun, he insists. The Icarus Deception is an assault on that bias, filled with typical Godin humor, imagery and passion.

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.

Book Review: Disciplined Dreaming

Creativity is often mislabeled as a mysterious force. The concept dates back to ancient history when poets and musicians were beholden to muses or gods for moments of creative brilliance. In today’s business world, the importance of generating a constant stream of new (not to mention good) ideas is too great to be left to fate. Fortunately, the creative process isn’t shrouded in mystery. According to Josh Linkner, author of Disciplined Dreaming: A Proven System to Drive Breakthrough Creativity (now available as a Soundview Executive Book Summary), executives and their teams can arrive at great ideas without resorting to incantations or ceremonies.

One key aspect of Linkner’s philosophy is that creativity should serve as a force of empowerment within an organization. This is counter to the classic concept of the “idea man” in a company. While it is understandable to assume that ideas come more naturally to some rather than others, a closer look may prove that the person rich in ideas is also diligently (if unknowingly) following many of the ideas about which Linkner writes. Executives need to understand the power that comes with making and maintaining a work environment in which people can be creative. It makes one’s office a workplace in which the next great idea can come from any direction.

Linkner also helps executives avoid the common, seductive trap of dismissing others’ ideas outright. Part of the reason employees hesitate to provide meaningful solutions is because they don’t feel as if their ideas count. Linkner provides numerous examples, including some memorable stories from his own company ePrize, that prove the old adage, “The mind, like a parachute, works better when open.”

To get your copy of the summary of Disciplined Dreaming, visit Soundview’s Web site