Summary of A Powerful Way to Unleash Your Natural Creativity

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According to prevailing wisdom, “to do two things at once is to do neither.” Yet as journalist Tim Harford explains, multitasking can, in fact, enhance your creative potential – if you do it the right way. Citing Albert Einstein, Charles Darwin and Michael Crichton as exemplary “slow-motion multitaskers,” Harford makes a strong case for taking a measured approach to juggling diverse tasks. His thesis will inspire creative people to venture into new projects.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How juggling multiple projects at once can stimulate your creativity, and
  • How multitasking helped Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein achieve scientific breakthroughs. 

About the Speaker

Economist and journalist Tim Harford is the author of The Undercover Economist and Adapt. 



In 1905, Albert Einstein successfully published four landmark scientific papers, each on a different topic: Brownian motion, the theory of special relativity, the photoelectric effect and mass-energy equivalence. Although conventional wisdom rejects the merits of multitasking, Einstein’s pattern of behavior is, in fact, widespread among creative people. A study by psychologist Bernice Eiduson on the working habits of prolific scientists found that the most innovative scientists each wrote their first 100 papers on an average of 43 different topics. This method of alternating among multiple projects over a long period, or “slow-motion multitasking,” is effective for three reasons:

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