The Creative Curve | Allen Gannett

Summary of: The Creative Curve: How to Develop the Right Idea at the Right Time
By: Allen Gannett

The Creative Curve

The rise and fall of the Ed Hardy clothing brand is a perfect example of what the author has deemed the creative curve. This describes our paradoxical preference for both familiarity and novelty. The more familiar we are with something, the more we like it. Researchers have discovered that in addition to our desire for familiarity, we also have a counter-desire for novelty. The creative curve is a balance between the two, and it explains why the brand became popular, and then fell out of favor.


Welcome to the engrossing world of ‘The Creative Curve: How to Develop the Right Idea at the Right Time,’ where author Allen Gannett unravels the intricate secrets behind the power of creativity. This book dives into the mysteries of imagination and intelligence, shedding light on the intricacies of divergent thinking and how sheer practice can unlock our creative potential. Furthermore, it explores the role of timing and historical context in designating individuals as geniuses and how familiarity and novelty influence our preferences in a phenomenon known as the creative curve. Embark on this illuminating journey to uncover the essence of discipline and positioning on the creative curve, and how embracing the social component can foster genius.

Unlocking Your Creative Potential

Are you curious about how creative you are? Take a test to find out your ability for divergent thinking. Scientists have found that having a high IQ does not necessarily lead to a high potential for creativity. Around 80% of the world’s population has the same creative potential as geniuses. However, becoming an expert in any field requires practice that emphasizes challenging yourself and receiving continuous feedback. Studies suggest setting tangible goals and practicing areas where you need improvement to unlock your creative potential.

The Untold Story of Geniuses

The concept of a genius is often associated with uniqueness and exceptionalism. However, the truth is that timing and historical context play a significant role. An example of this is the case of Charles Darwin and Alfred Wallace, where Darwin’s sense of urgency and reputation played a vital role in history, and Wallace was largely forgotten. Similarly, the definition of genius changes with time, and what is considered a groundbreaking masterpiece in one era may be outdated in another. Thus, it’s important to recognize that geniuses are not always universally extraordinary but rather a product of their time.

Ted Sarandos: The Creative Curve

In his teenage years, Ted Sarandos worked at a video rental store, endeavoring to watch every movie available and became a walking recommendation machine. Ted uses his experience to curate and commission shows for Netflix. He looks for shows that are fresh, novel yet familiar. The author conducted interviews with various creative professionals who shared that they spend roughly 20% of their day consuming media related to their industry. Spending time consuming media can enhance creativity and keep one updated with the latest industry trends.

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