Summary of How Frustration Can Make Us More Creative

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How Frustration Can Make Us More Creative summary
Step-by-step isn’t the only way forward. Detours and bumps in the road enrich a creative journey.


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People instinctively resist obstacles and disruptions. Yet persevering in spite of such difficulties forces you to become more imaginative and resourceful and compels you to produce your best work. Journalist and economist Tim Harford explores this idea of creative improvisation. Employing several vivid anecdotes, he convincingly argues in favor of “a dash of mess.” getAbstract recommends his inspiring, disrupting talk to logical problem solvers everywhere.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How “a dash of mess” can boost creativity,
  • Why incremental improvements provide marginal gains instead of great leaps forward and
  • How disruptions force you to become more creative.


In 1975, Vera Brandes, a young German concert promoter, invited jazz pianist Keith Jarrett to perform at the Cologne Opera House. On the day of the concert, Jarrett found the venue’s piano...
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About the Speaker

Tim Harford is a Financial Times columnist and the author of Adapt: Why Success Always Starts with Failure.

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