Creativity: A Short and Cheerful Guide

Creativity: A Short and Cheerful Guide

by John Cleese


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Don't let this slim volume fool you. The co-founder of Monty Python knows a thing or two about creativity, and he boils it down in this short guide. Believe it or not, John Cleese has been studying and lecturing about creativity for decades. It can be learned if you keep an open mind and if you're ready to have fun.

The legendary comedian, actor, and writer of Monty Python, Fawlty Towers, and A Fish Called Wanda fame shares his key ideas about creativity: that it’s a learnable, improvable skill.

“Many people have written about creativity, but although they were very, very clever, they weren't actually creative. I like to think I'm writing about it from the inside.”—John Cleese
You might think that creativity is some mysterious, rare gift—one that only a few possess. But you’d be wrong. As John Cleese shows in this short, practical, and often amusing guide, creativity is a skill that anyone can acquire. 
Drawing on his lifelong experience as a writer, Cleese shares his insights into the nature of creativity and offers advice on how to get your own inventive juices flowing. What do you need to do to get yourself in the right frame of mind? When do you know that you’ve come up with an idea that might be worth pursuing? What should you do if you think you’ve hit a brick wall?
We can all be more creative.
John Cleese shows us how.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780385348270
Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/08/2020
Pages: 112
Sales rank: 59,038
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.10(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

John Cleese was born in Weston-super-Mare in 1939 and educated at Clifton College and at Cambridge. He achieved his first big success in the West End and as a scriptwriter and performer on The Frost Report. He went on to co-found the legendary Monty Python comedy troupe, writing and performing in the TV series and in films that include Monty Python and the Holy Grail and Monty Python’s Life of Brian. In the mid-1970s, Cleese and his first wife, Connie Booth, co-wrote and starred in the now-classic sitcom Fawlty Towers. Later, he wrote and co-starred in A Fish Called Wanda and Fierce Creatures. He has appeared in many other films, from James Bond to Harry Potter, and has guest-starred in numerous TV shows. He is also the author of So, Anyway...: A Memoir.

Read an Excerpt


By creativity, I simply mean new ways of thinking about things. 

Most people think of creativity as being entirely about the arts—music, painting theatre, movies, dancing, sculpture, etc., etc.

But this simple isn't so. Creativity can be seen in every area of life—in science, or in business, or in sport. 

Wherever you can find a way of doing things that is better than what has been done before, you are being creative. 

Another myth is that creativity is something you have to be born with. This isn't the case. Anyone can be creative. 

When I was at school in the late forties and the fifties, no teacher ever mentioned the word creativity. Just think how extraordinary that is. 

Mind you, this was partly because I did science at school—my A levels were in Maths, Physics, Chemistry—and, of course, there wasn't much room for me to be creative in those subjects. 

You have to learn an awful lot of science before you can even begin to think about taking a creative approach to it. 

Then I went to Cambridge and studied Law. Not much creativity there. You just had to decide whether one particular set of facts fell into this category or that category. 

But, regardless of the subjects I chose to study, it's clear that nobody in charge of the English education system seemed to have realised there was any need to teach creativity. 

And you can teach creativity. Or perhaps I should say, more accurately, you can teach people how to create circumstances in which they will become creative. 

And that's what this little book is all about.

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