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Staying nimble, defeating tigers


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New books accompany courses on Creativity and Story.

By Caitlyn Spencer

Although Patrick Finn’s profile has risen dramatically with the advent of his classes on Story, Creativity, Love, and Happiness, along with his advocacy of “loving thinking” over its critical counterpart, he declined repeated requests from his publisher to write a book inspired by one of the courses.

“I tried to use coursepacks,” Finn, a drama instructor, says. “Then I found out that this year the coursepacks were going to become so expensive that it wouldn’t make sense for an option course, so I agreed to write the textbooks for them.”

Enter Creativity: Simple Steps That Change Everything, and The Story of Story. The first book has been available to order since September, and the second will be released in January of 2012.

“The books are designed as conversations,” Finn says. “The reason the classes are good is we share ideas from a wide range of perspectives. There are five pages per topic, written in casual language, and designed to be accessible to people from all backgrounds.”

While some eyebrows may raise at the foci of Finn’s books, Finn believes creativity and story are topics everyone has a stake in. “We want a book on creativity because no matter what discipline you’re in, you need to stay nimble and inventive enough to stay employed, when everything’s changing so quickly,” he says. “Universities in China demand courses on creativity. In Harvard medical school, it’s a requirement.”

So too with story. “People say what you need to live as a human is food, clothing, and shelter. My response to that is to get those things, you need to communicate, and the primary form of communication we have is story,” Finn explains. “If you and I are about to be attacked by a ferocious tiger and I tell you the story of how I once defeated a tiger, you can use that story, and together we can fight the tiger off.”

Although Finn has done speeches for City Hall, TEDxYYC, and the Calgary Foundation this year, his agenda is modest. “These aren’t so much my ideas as ones I’ve unearthed and named. I talked to students, to advisors, to professors from across campus. I think we all want to be there, to be loving thinkers.”

To order Creativity: Simple Steps That Change Everything, visit Kendall-Hunt’s website. For more information on loving thinking, watch Finn’s TEDxYYC talk here.