The Shape of Ideas by Grant Snider

The Shape of Ideas: An Illustrated Exploration is a graphic novel despite the fact that its subject matter is factual. Can’t we come up with a better name for a non-fiction book published in the style of a graphic novel? Anyway, Grant Snider uses artistic panels drawn like a comic book to explore the concept of creativity.

The book is divided up into ten sections:

  • Inspiration
  • Perspiration
  • Improvisation
  • Aspiration
  • Contemplation
  • Exploration
  • Daily Frustration
  • Imitation
  • Desperation
  • Pure Elation

I had seen lots of praise for this book, so my expectations were high going in. I have to admit I was let down, mostly because it didn’t deliver on what I thought it would. And that’s on me. For what it is, it is wonderful. Rather than showing you what creativity is or how it works, it delivers more of what it feels like to create. The up and downs, the highs and lows, the exhilaration, the frustration. The art is very creative and evocative and, as a result, very effective.

However, I am still not a big fan of this book. I just don’t see a higher purpose in this book. Sure, it tells me what it feels like to be creative. But what if I want more? What if I want to know how to create? For that, I would recommend The War of Art by Stephen Pressfield. But if you are looking for a quick, evocative read about creativity, this book might be for you.

My rating: 3/5

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