The one-sentence summary

Being consistently creative requires a rigorous system as a way of life.

Can’t be bothered to read it? listen to the 5-minute summary.



· Many of us assume that our creative process is beyond our ability to influence, so we only pay attention to it when it isn’t working properly.

· In fact, chances of ‘being creative’ increase when you have a method, and concentrate on it as a way of life.

· Those in creative jobs are under a lot of pressure to invent brilliant solutions that meet specific objectives by defined deadlines.

· The method is to create your own Creative Rhythm based on 5 main areas:

Focus: make clear choices, know what to concentrate on, cluster tasks, always have a Big 3 you are working on to think about.

Relationships: be purposeful with helpful people, reduce contact with creative vampires (who suck up time and ideas), have clear head-to-head sessions.

Energy: conserve it, prune things out of your life, and don’t overwork – it’s counterproductive.

Stimuli: output quality depends on input quality so be careful what you ingest. Take notes on everything – you never know what will connect with what.

Hours: categorise your time to spend the right amount on different tasks: Idea Time and Unnecessary Creating (often the best source of insight).

· The Fallacy of Compartmentalisation makes us believe that our work and home lives are different buckets, but in fact, it’s all hardwired together.

· Successful, consistently brilliant people do the little things that no one else is doing (too obvious, simple, or just plain common sense).


· Die Empty refers to getting all your work out of your system, every day.

· Bunting for Singles is a baseball term, meaning making a short run to the next base rather than going for a full home run. Similar to Jim Collins’ 20-Mile March, this philosophy makes you concentrate on a number of effective smaller tasks rather than going for the big one every time.

· Creativity involves being expectant without expectations.

· Common sense is not always common practice.

· The Ping is the author’s expression for being distracted – the little feeling that makes you check your email. We need to learn to pay attention to what is in front of us rather than what might be happening elsewhere. Most of us these days suffer from Continuous Partial Attention.

· We are defined by what we say no to.

· Wisdom is taking a backseat to perpetual stimulation. One is deep, the other shallow.

· “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.”

F. Scott Fitzgerald.


· Nothing. It’s short and clear.