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What I'm reading: John Cleese on creativity

What I'm reading: John Cleese on creativity
Pexels/Rodolfo Clix

A second lockdown proved to be good news for some, as many of us were able to use this time to learn and soak up the quality information that we are surrounded by. 

Important books hang around and stay in print: the Bible, the Quran, Shakespeare, Geoffrey Chaucer, and Franz Kafka. There is a reason these books still exist. When warriors from other lands came to burn the villages, people ran with their children and their books. These works allow us to be entertained, to learn and to secure a future history. It is worth delving into them.

I have been reading James Clear’s book Atomic Habits: An Easy and Proven Way to Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones.

One of my mentors explained a few years ago that the way to make it in life was to be aware of and focus on habits, both mine and my clients’. 

   Our habits are better than the autopilot on any jet aircraft. If you get the right habits in place your life will change. The wrong habits of course produce chaos. Atomic Habits is an epic read as good habits are a great way to transform everything you do and not only in business. 

On that subject, I may even pick up and re-read Glorious Rock Bottom by Bryony Gordon. Alcohol, drugs and outrageous behaviour from this Telegraph journalist and author. This is how bad habits can change your life – and it is a great read. 

I have also enjoyed reading John Cleese’s Creativity: A Short and Cheerful Guide. This is a short read, but full of lessons. Everything we see and do was once an idea – anything that helps us find more of them has to be a good thing, even the really bad ideas teach us something. 

Kafka’s The Trial is also worth a read, and a re-read. Fiction for me is a time sink and I rarely read without getting fully absorbed. My son suggested this as a bucket-list book. I will be honest, it has me hooked. So I am partway through (again) the puzzle that is this book.

Also back on the reading list for December is Capitalist Realism by Mark Fisher. In this, Mr Fisher puts his finger on something in this quick read and gives an insight to a system that is clearly not working as it should – or perhaps is working exactly as it should. Go read it, then decide.

I have also been listening to a series of podcasts.

• The American Society for Microbiology’s This Week in Microbiology. The micro world is damn important. With a couple of eminently qualified people in each show, they research old papers and test theories from eons ago and teach how the world of microbes impacts us all. 

• Perry Marshall’s Evolution 2. Charles Darwin did not finish his work and some of his theories do not really add up that well. No matter how much we fiddle with fruit flies, we still can’t make them fruit flies plus. Mr Marshall’s podcast looks at some of the reasons why.