Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Thnikertoys and the Arts or Business Not (Necessarily) Be Damned!

Picking up from the last post I would like to mention Michael Michalko’s excellent book Thinkertoys.  Written for the businessman, this book is full of ways to trigger creative thought and many of the lessons can apply to writers and this brings up a challenge:  I have often considered there to be a divide, a bifurcation between business and art, between businessmen and artists.  In fact,

I have spent much of my life sneering at businessmen for their compromises, the abortion of their artistic bents, their ham-handed handling of human sensitivities and etc.  Never mind that I’ve spent nearly thirty years working for a small business engaged in insurance and retail enterprises and that I have been, in a sense, a corporate mouthpiece.  (I hasten to add that I have been blessed with an atypical boss/owner/president who is remarkably creative, quick-witted and decent.)

Creativity is often snuffed out by the workplace but it is folly to reason that therefore all workplaces and their denizens are not creative.  There is great creativity in the workplace but it rarely serves art.  It serves bottom lines by way of product development, production development and marketing.  Barbie lives because of someone’s creativity.  The creativity in the workplace is usually just excellent use of the left brain whereas creativity in the arts is usually associated with the right brain.

I think the world would be well-served if the two brains worked together more.  This is where Thinkertoys comes in.  Yesterday’s post was in part prompted by Michael Michalko’s book and the idea that we can appeal to an authority in our minds and ask how to solve a problem, how he/she would solve a problem, answer a question.  This technique can apply equally well to a business problem or an artistic challenge.

I don’t think the rift between art and business will ever be healed and I don’t think it should be.  Nonetheless, we are all the same species, walk the same planet and can be quickened by encounters with the arts, however brief or sustained.

So long for now.

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