Cosmology, Collidors, and Creatively Playing the Fool

I was delighted to be asked to talk about creativity at this year's Hawkesbury Upton Literary Festival with two of my heroes. Orna Ross's brilliance and kindness and inspiration have meant so much over the years to me personally as well as the wider literary world. Joanna Penn is a creative and motivational inspiration to … Continue reading Cosmology, Collidors, and Creatively Playing the Fool

Lessons in Creativity 1: Little Puffy Clouds

I’ve spent a lot of time here talking about the way creativity is, for want of a better term, about mashing things up and seeing what you get. But what I haven’t done yet is talk about how to develop the skill of the interesting collision. Skill, maybe, is the wrong word, because that takes … Continue reading Lessons in Creativity 1: Little Puffy Clouds

Why We Are Wrong About Creativity

Creativity. Whether we are a massive organisation looking to break new ground or an individual wanting out of a rut, it is the one thing everyone wants more of. Yet of course it is the great unquantifiable. Anyone my age with any kind of artistic leaning will probably remember the inner – or, quite possibly, … Continue reading Why We Are Wrong About Creativity

We Need to Talk About TED

TED is the thing many in how-to and life-improvement and, I guess, culture in general love to hate. I love watching TED talks from time to time. Today, on International Women's Day, I've been rewatching one of my heroes, Anna Frost, talking about the brilliant non-profit Sisu Girls. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a4PUl-HZvf8 The problem with TED is that … Continue reading We Need to Talk About TED

Why Statistics Matter

I sometimes forget just how spoiled I am in Oxford. Like the time last term when I got to take part in a round table with one of my heroes, the French author Marie Darrieussecq, only a few days after I’d chaired a panel at Waterstones with the legend that is Philip Pulman. And this … Continue reading Why Statistics Matter

“Not for the likes of you”: How The Self-Improvement Industry is Failing People with Mental Ill Health

You are probably here because, among other reasons, you are, like me, ever so slightly obsessed by self-improvement books, articles, and videos. I devour self-improvement books, and I can usually pick up something from pretty much each one I read. But I also have a big problem. And with the self-improvement, how-to-succeed, be-a-successful-entrepreneur industry as … Continue reading “Not for the likes of you”: How The Self-Improvement Industry is Failing People with Mental Ill Health

All the Broccoli Became James Corden: The Problem of Finding Creativity’s Goldilocks Zone

In Originals, his brilliant tour through the inner and outer worlds of the world’s most innovative thinkers, Adam Grant tells us that these stars in our firmament have one thing in common. They fail more than other people. In his 2013 speech to London Book Fair, Neil Gaiman acknowledged this same trait with his call … Continue reading All the Broccoli Became James Corden: The Problem of Finding Creativity’s Goldilocks Zone