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Book Reviews
THEIR CREATIVITY by Winston Fletcher (Hutchinson Business Books,
1985), 141 pages, £14.95, hardback, ISBN 0-09-174043-6.Winston Fletcher is a successful advertising executive and theatrical financier.He has managed, or been involved with, many people who would 留学生论文网beconsidered high creative performers in these fields. Before writing this book
he interviewed chairmen and chief executives of companies which arebroadly in the communications/media business (plus Sir Ralph Halpern ofthe Burton group).
The result is a document of some interest to a wide range of people whosework brings them into contact with these businesses, or who are interestedin their management. It is easy to read and, mercifully, jargon free. It alsocaptures a view of creativity in the performing arts which is consistent witha lot of other evidence. In short, this book summarises how a lot ofinfluential people think about the creativity of the top performers in theirfields of knowledge.
Some years ago (Rickards 1985) I described this as the elitist view ofcreativity. Implicitly (and in this book, explicitly) the view focuses on asmall sample of exceptional people and seeks to differentiate them from therest of the world. Here the elite group is made up of "the creatives".
Creatives are unreasonable, have poor sense of time management and needconstant ego soothing and stroking. I knew a gerbil like that once. Indeed,some way into the book I began to read "gerbil" for "creative": "Amorphousnature of gerbils", "contemporary demand for gerbils"; "need for lotsof cuddles, verbal and physical;" "gerbils require constant reassurance andencouragement", (Sir Ralph Halpern, drawing on his extensive knowledgeof gerbils in the Burton group and beyond—"Sorry, did I say gerbils? Imeant creatives.")
The elitist view of you-know-whats has to be recognised as pervasive andfascinating, yet limiting. It belongs to an increasingly discredited body of
knowledge whose other branches include great leaders, great inventors,great businessmen and great explorers. One difficulty is the temptation toequate the greatness or creativeness of the individual with the impact of hisworks. (This, incidentally, may explain why Mr Fletcher went to an all
male, all white, sample of managers of "creatives".)The non-elitist view starts from a broader perspective of human creativityas the process of persona! discovery and development. A maturing society
recognises the varied and creative contribution of its citizens through itseducation and social practices. If this is a bit more complex than simplydividing the world into high creatives and the rest, I might just add thatthe view is not just mine, it is shared, and communicated with greatconviction by President Gorbachev in his Perestroika (1988).

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