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The Luncheon Society/Best-selling Author of “Imagine” Jonah Lehrer on creativity and grit/SF—Fior D’Italia/April 5, 2012

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Note:  The luncheon took place only weeks before Jonah Lehrer’s reputation collapsed around him with charges of plagiarism.  This was a great luncheon, nonetheless.  We thought we would leave things in their original state.

One of the coolest things about The Luncheon Society is to sit with an author who telescopes ahead to his next project.  

That was the case when The Luncheon Society sat down with Wired Contributing Editor and frequent New Yorker columnist to discuss his latest book Imagine, which is Lehrer’s attempt to put together a series of metrics on how creativity bubbles new ideas upward.

The takeaway: before the breakthrough happens, we have to work through the block.  Its more than a magic trick of the mind.

TLS friend Betsy Burroughs has a great take on the Luncheon with her post at The Five-Stir and I would recommend that you check it out.

What Lehrer does—and does quite well—is to think about putting metrics to life’s intangibles.   Can we figure out why athletes choke in critical situations?  Can it be studied and avoided—or at least better understood?  Lehrer’s thoughts on daydreaming might open the window to more thoughtful creativity.  His piece on cognitive dissonance ponders why so many so many people reject Darwin’s evolution in these scientific times.

With that in mind, Jonah Lehrer zeroed in on “grit,” that notion of sticking to something that was dear to one’s heart even if the odds appeared to be long.  Out of the variables proposed by Angela Lee Duckworth , this might be the magic bullet on bringing ideas to their successful fore. It will be a future article in The New Yorker.

Since we often view success through the rear view mirror, delving back onto the hard work after the fact, we often find ourselves building metrics of what made it successful.  Edison said that he never really invented the light bulb but discovered hundreds of filaments would not work incandescently.  That was grit in all of its beauty. Continue reading