The Spark

The Spark: Igniting the Creative Fire That Lives Within Us All
created by Lyn Heward
written by John U. Bacon
Inspirational. 135 pp.
Currency Doubleday. 2001.

flap copy:

Creativity and imagination are widely recognized as essential to success in business and so many aspects of our lives. For over two decades, Cirque du Soleil has been a world-renowned laboratory of creativity, enthralling audiences by fusing dazzling acrobatics, staging, choreography, and music, along with beautiful costumes and technical effects, to inspire and create magical, almost otherworldly theatrical experiences. in The Spark, Cirque's former President of Creative Content, Lyn Heward, invites readers inside the world and ideas of Cirque du Soleil through the story of an ordinary man searching for meaning in his work and life.

Like so many other people in their careers, sports agent Frank Castle has lost the passion he once had for his job. But a chance encounter with an inspiring Cirque du Soleil director takes him inside Cirque du Soleil to meet the artists, managers, designers, and technicians who create, shape, and perform in their acclaimed shows. As the story unfolds, the artists reveal surprising secrets about the sparks that ignite their creativity—from the pressure of deadlines and the exhilaration that comes from risking it all, to the chance encounters and everyday occurrences that have changed the way they live and work. As Frank comes to discover, every one of us is creative—wherever we work or whatever our job title is—but it's up to us to tap into that powerful force.

As The Spark makes clear, there is no single formula for creative success—each of us must unlock the power of our imagination in our own way. An inspiring tale that draws on behind-the-scenes stories from the most creative people in entertainment as well as some out-of-this-world Cirque du Soleil magic, The Spark is an unparalleled guide on how to make creativity a part of everything you do.

Last year, I went to a gym management conference in San Fran. One of the keynote speakers was Lyn Heward. And though I don't remember the details of what she talked about, I remember that she was phenomenal. So when we were in Vegas and wandering the Ká gift shop after the show and I saw her book, I knew I had to buy it. Besides, knowing that I was going back into the job market (blech), I figured I could do with some good inspiration.

This book has some good inspiration, but I must confess to not liking the presentation. At all. It's set up in a fictional narrative. Cool concept, but it just doesn't work right. I think this is because we are introduced to all these characters who are intriguing and wise and brilliant in their own way, but they each only get a page and a half to offer up some variation of an anecdotal soliloquy. And that was frustrating. For me, the end result is that I'm disappointed because I didn't get to spend enough time with the characters I wanted to and I don't get to walk away from it with the nuggets of wisdom that I wanted to pick up. I imagine that if I read it a second time and highlight those bits, I'll be happier, but that's not how I want to feel after reading an inspirational book about creativity.

Of course, I do think there is a bit more flame to my creative spark right now, so that might have made it worth it.

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