Your Creative Mind: A book review by Bob Morris

Your Creative Mind: How to Disrupt Your Thinking, Abandon Your Comfort Zone, and Develop Bold New Strategies
Scott Cochrane
Weiser (September 2016)

“If you give me six hours to chop down a tree, I’ll spend the first four sharpening the ax.” A. Lincoln

This is another book I recently re-read, curious to see how relevant its material is a few years after it was first published. I think it is even more relevant now in a business world that has become more volatile, more uncertain, more complex, and more ambiguous than at any prior time I can recall.

Briefly, Scott Cochrane focuses on several challenges, all of which have the same prefix: HOW TO

o Let go of new habits
o Achieve success in “a bold new world”
o Develop creative power and then apply it effectively
o Avoid or escape from what Cochrane characterizes as a “death spiral”
o Manage your mind
o Develop and then strengthen neoplasticity
o Avoid or escape from “the ideology of comfort and the tyranny of Custom” (James O’Toole)
o Formulate bold objectuves to inspire and high-impact strategies to achieve them
o Create coincidences (i.e. maximize serendipity)
o Transform relationships
o Think innovatively about innovation

The mind is what the brain does. Think of it as an ax that needs constant sharpening.

Fortunately, Cochrane wrote this book in order to help each reader to stimulate their intellectual curiosity and maximize their cognitive skills. He agrees with Tom Kelley and David Kelley: “As brothers who have worked together for more than thirty years at the forefront of innovation, we have come to see this set of misconceptions as ‘the creativity myth.’ It is a myth that far too many people share. This book is about the opposite of that myth. It is about what we call ‘creative confidence.’ And at its foundation is the belief that we are [begin italics] all [end italics] creative…Creative confidence is a way of seeing that potential and your place in the world more clearly, unclouded by anxiety and doubt. We hope you’ll join us on our quest to embrace creative confidence in our lives. Together, we can all make the world a better place.” (Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All, 2013.

As Cochrane explains, “Cognitive rigidity — the inability to consider different viewpoints or innovative solutions to a problem — afflicts all of us at times to varying degrees. At its mildest, it is merely the inability to change one’s opinions about a subject, even when presented with significant evidence to the contrary. At its most extreme, it can involve a nearly sociopathic lack of empathy.”

I highly recommend the Kelleys’ book as well as Cochrane’s, and that they be read in combination. Can they enable anyone who reads the two books to develop the talents of Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and Thomas Edison as well as Cochrane and the Brothers Kelley? Of course not. But the material in both books can help each reader to strengthen substantially the cognitive skills they have now. They will sharpen your “ax.”

* * *

Scott Cochrane is the President of The Bold Mind Group, Inc., a corporate advisory firm which focuses on creating “catapult actions” that make a meaningful difference in their client’s entire ecosystem; its leaders, staff, partners, providers, clients, customers and the greater community around it. His academic activities have included serving as adjunct professor in MBA and International management programs at various European universities, as well as giving conferences on business & innovation at European and North American educational institutions.


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