Brain Pickings

Andrew Zuckerman: Curiosity and Rigor are the Secret to Creativity


Getting past the myth of “inspiration,” or why the fear of failure might be a good thing.

I’m a longtime fan of photographer Andrew Zuckerman‘s work, especially his brilliant Wisdom project. In this excellent talk from The 99 Percent, Andrew shares insights on creativity and getting projects done, touching on everything from where ideas come from to the fear of failure. The part that resonates with me most deeply is the incredible importance he attributes to curiosity in the creative process, something I too firmly believe and have spoken about myself.

What gets projects done for me is not inspiration. I have no idea what inspiration really is. I know that I get really curious about things, and when that gets mixed with rigor, a project gets completed. And that’s basically it, it’s that simple. When curiosity and rigor get together, something happens. And when one of these things [isn’t] there, nothing happens, or the project doesn’t really reach people.” ~ Andrew Zuckerman

Here’s the trailer for Wisdom:

Zuckerman’s latest project, Music, is just as much of a treat, featuring beautifully shot, deeply moving interviews with 50 of the greatest living music icons:

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