SAMUEL W. FRANKLIN ’04
The Cult of Creativity: A Surprisingly Recent History
(University of Chicago Press, 2023)
Creativity is an American value, but the idea that “creativity” can be cultivated originated in the 1950s. During the postwar era, creativity was championed by psychologists, engineers, and advertising people as a cure for the conformity and alienation they feared was stifling American ingenuity. It was touted as a new middle-class aspiration that suited the needs of corporate America and the spirit of anticommunism. But creativity is more than any single definition or theory, allowing all sorts of people and institutions to claim it as a solution to their problems, from corporate dullness to urban decline. In The Cult of Creativity, Samuel W. Franklin provides an eye-opening history which explores the contradictory nature of creativity as “mental and material, playful and practical,” to define what it is, and whom it serves.
KENNETH MILLER ’80
Mapping the Darkness: The Visionary Scientists Who Unlocked the Mysteries of Sleep
A century ago, sleep was considered a state of nothingness—even a primitive habit that we could learn to overcome. Then in 1938, pioneering sleep scientist Nathaniel Kleitman conducted a month-long sleep experiment in the depths of a Kentucky cave that awakened the general public to the unknown—and vital—world of sleep. Kleitman went on to mentor both Eugene Aserinsky, whose discovery of REM sleep revealed the astonishing activity of the dreaming brain, and William Dement, the father of sleep medicine. Dement, in turn, mentored Mary Carskadon, who uncovered an epidemic of sleep deprivation among teenagers, and launched a global movement to fight it. In Mapping the Darkness, award-winning journalist Kenneth Miller weaves together science and history to tell the story of four outsider scientists who took sleep science from fringe discipline to mainstream obsession through spectacular experiments, technological innovation, and single-minded commitment.
KAMAR THOMAS ’12
The Artist’s Creative Vision: How to Create Art that Makes Change and Earns a Living
(New Degree Press, 2023)
Following a poorly-executed job interview, Kamar Thomas embarked on a years-long intellectual journey across various fields—psychology, leadership, economics, marketing—to discover his unique creative vision. This book is the culmination of that search, and it provides a step-by-step formula for developing your own creative vision—a unique combination of your lived experiences, the history of art, and how your interests fit the marketplace. The Artist’s Creative Vision is intended for new and veteran artists who want to learn how to make unique art that also earns a living. Fine artist Kamar Thomas distills his knowledge of the industry and decade of experience as a professional artist to teach others how to establish structures for their artistic practice that will lead to marketable, sustainable, and fulfilling projects for a lifetime.
PHILIP A. WALLACH ’05
(Oxford University Press, 2023)
Congress is a pillar of the American constitutional system, with more power and responsibility than any other branch of government. Yet today, contempt for Congress is nearly universal. Why Congress covers the past, present, and future of the institution to understand how it became so dysfunctional and divisive. Readers will learn how a healthy Congress made it possible for the country to work through difficult challenges, including World War II and the struggle for civil rights. Transformations that began in the 1970s ultimately empowered congressional leaders to suppress dissent within their own parties and frame a maximally divisive agenda. Contemporary challenges facing Congress, such as immigration and COVID-19, have only exacerbated these divisions. This book presents a stark portrait of what our political future holds if we allow Congress to decay. It also suggests a solution: a Madisonian revival of deliberation that would allow our system of government to work through deep divides and agree on compromises with broader appeal.
LISA WEINERT ’01
Narrative Healing: Awaken the Power of Your Story
(Hachette Go, 2023)
In Narrative Healing, Lisa Weinert empowers writers and non-writers to identify, understand, and tap into the healing power of their personal stories. Weinert believes we hold our stories in our bodies and that those stories have a healing purpose and are meant to be shared. As we better understand our stories, we are more able to practice empathy and compassion toward those around us. This book combines bodywork and movement practices, creative prompts, and mindfulness exercises, to guide you through the six steps of healing through storytelling: awaken, listen, express, inspire, connect, and grow. Incorporating creativity as a core part of the process, Narrative Healing provides readers with a comforting and empowering process to find a path to themselves and find deep connection with the world around them.