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America values two things more highly than just about anything else: creativity and productivity. Once one might have said wealth or ease were the highest cultural values, but in the past several years a discernable shift has taken place. Entire genres of literature are devoted creativity and productivity. Conferences and webinars are built around them. Seth Godin and others like him helped to make these values valued and now ride their wave. People devour TED talks and blogs in a hunt for inspiration and to learn the latest life hacks and new ideas.
A strange thing has happened, though. Two values built on invention, innovation, and formation have been subverted for the sake of consumption. Instead of becoming more prolific in the production of goods and services in a creative manner we have become consumers of information. We have settled for intake instead of output because it makes us feel like we are involved in creation and production without actually doing any of the hard work.
Creativity literature — all those books, seminars, conferences, blogs, and TED talks — should be viewed like fuel for a car.
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