cover image The Creative Act: A Way of Being

The Creative Act: A Way of Being

Rick Rubin, with Neil Strauss. Penguin Press, $30 (432p) ISBN 978-0-593-65288-6

Grammy-winning music producer Rubin debuts with a meditative manual on how to boost one’s creativity. “Your entire life is a form of self-expression,” Rubin contends, applying lessons he’s learned in the recording studio to inject creativity into everyday life. Observing that listeners sometimes require time to come around to a novel new song, Rubin suggests that the “ideas that least match our expectations are the most innovative” and encourages readers to consider “radically new” ideas even if they turn one off at first. A project is only done “when you feel it is,” he posits, entreating readers to seek out the perspectives of others when nearing completion while recognizing that not all feedback will be helpful because innovative work is “likely to alienate as many people as it attracts.” Rubin stresses that readers should find what works for them, as when he urges readers to incorporate into their routines creativity-inducing habits that might include exercise, meditating, or “looking at sunlight before screenlight.” The dispatches read like ancient spiritual texts in their Zen-like wisdom, as when Rubin writes, “Accessing childlike spirit in our art and our lives is worth aspiring to.” Music fans will rejoice. (Jan.)