Creativity – The Interplay of Freedom and Structure

Let the Elephants Run - Book Review

Let the Elephants Run book review - cover

Is everyone creative? And, how do you unlock your creativity? David Usher answers both questions in Let the Elephants Run by looking at human development over the last 10,000 years.10,000 years ago, the human race had almost been extinct due to climate change and severe droughts. Then the human population grew from 2000 to  over 7 billion people, becoming the most dominant species on Earth. That development was possible even though humans have no natural defences. We have no fur to protect us against the cold. We have no claws to take down prey. We can’t run very fast or jump very high. We can’t fly or spit poison. And ur babies are vulnerable and don’t walk until they are a year old.

How were we able to survive?

Usher answers this compelling question and uses it as the hook for his book. We have big brains, and creativity is in everyone’s DNA. Almost no other species on earth can bring multiple disparate ideas together and make something completely new.

Usher examines creativity based on his own experiences as an award-winning musician who has sold more than 1.4 million albums. The company that he founded, CloudID Creativity Labs, works on a vast range of innovative projects, from building web platforms to creative consulting for companies like Cirque du Soleil and Deloitte. He looks at creativity through the lense of an artist as well as an entrepreneur and innovation expert. In art, as well as in business, creativity is the interplay of freedom and structure. Creativity is 95% work and discipline and 5% inspiration. Successful artists and Nobel Prize winners build  frameworks that allow their creative ideas to grow and become fertile. Creatives need to find the balance between letting their ideas (their elephants) go wild and crazy and finding the discipline to tame and manage them.

Let the Elephants Run is a book that is visually appealing and invites you to read it from cover to cover or skim through it and enjoy beautiful designs, graphics, and typography.

It is an easy and quick read. Usher shares a lot of personal examples and stimulating stories that might not dive very deep into the complexity of creativity but inspire and transport the core message:

Build a structure that allows your creativity to grow and make the changes that you need to allow your creativity to flourish.

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