Review of the book Group Genius: The Creative Power of Collaboration. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Paul Silvia, Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:

Abstract: Reviews the book, Group genius: The creative power of collaboration by K. Sawyer (2007). This book is written for a popular audience. It takes several themes from the author's past work on the sociocultural approach to creativity, particularly his research on improvisation and his book Explaining creativity, and develops them into an innovative analysis of improvisation and collaboration. The message of this book is that creative ideas emerge from collaborative webs, not from the minds of lone creators. Sawyer proposes that creative teams and organizations have moved beyond conventional notions of innovation--isolated Research and Development departments, for example--and instead harness collaborative webs. These webs include obvious ones, such as collaboration within the organization, as well as surprising ones, such as collaboration with consumers and with competitors. Researchers in the psychology of creativity will find a lot of food for thought in this book. The reviewer notes, however, that little attention is given to individual differences. This omission will madden many researchers. Researchers will also find a nascent integration of the sociocultural approach and the cognitive approach. Criticisms aside, he suggests that Keith Sawyer is one of psychology's finest writers: his books have a graceful tone and an understated erudition. The distinction between content and form is specious--writing unifies "what" and "how"--but creativity researchers will get as much out of this book's "how" as its "what".

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2007
cooperation, creativity, organizations, social groups, teams, psychology

Email this document to