Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer

Did you know that the most creative companies have centralized bathrooms? That brainstorming meetings are a terrible idea?  That the color blue can help you double your creative output? Shattering the myth of muses, higher powers, even creative “types”, Jonah Lehrer demonstrates that creativity is not a single gift possessed by the lucky few.  It’s a variety of distinct thought processes that we can all learn to use more effectively.

Lehrer reveals the importance of embracing the rut, thinking like a child, daydreaming productively, and adopting an outsider’s perspective.  He unveils the optimal mix of old and new partners in any creative collaboration and explains why criticism is essential to the process.  The he zooms out to show how we can make our neighborhoods more vibrant, our companies more productive, and our schools more effective.

Food Rules: an Eater’s Manual by Michael Pollan

Michael Pollan’s Food Rules began with his hunch that the wisdom of our grandparents might have more helpful things to say about how to eat well than the recommendations of science or industry or government.  The result was a slim volume of food wisdom that has forever changed how we think about food.  Now in a new edition illustrated by artist Maira Kalman, and expanded with a new introduction additional food rules, this volume marks an advance in the national dialogue that Food Rules inspired.

Several of the new rules  — Place a bouquet of flowers on the table and everything will taste twice as good; If you’re not hungry enough to eat an apple, you’re probably not hungry  –underscore the central teaching of the original Food Rules, which is that eating doesn’t have to be so complicated, and food is as much about pleasure and communion as it is about nutrition and health.

How God Became King by N.T. Wright

Despite centuries of intense and heavy industry expended on the study of all sorts of features of the gospels.  Wright writes: we have often managed to miss the main thing that they, all four of them, are most eager to tell us. What we need is not just a bit of fine-tuning, an adjustment here and there. We need a fundamental rethink about what the Gospels are trying to tell us.
What Wright offers is an opportunity to confront these powerful texts afresh, as if we are encountering them for the first time.  How GodBecame King reveals the surprising, unexpected, and shocking news of the gospels: this is the story of a new king, a new kind of king, a king who has changed everything, and a king who invites us to be part of this new world.

In Praise of Reading Fiction by Mario Vargas Llosa

On December 7, 2010, Mario Vargas Llosa was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. His Nobel lecture is a resounding tribute to fictionspower inspires readers to greater ambition, to dissent, and to political action.  We would be worse than we are without the good books we have read, more conformist, not as restless, more submissive, and the critical spirit, the engine of progress, would not even exists, Vargas Llosa writes. Like writing, reading is a protest against the insufficiencies of life. When we look in fiction for what is missing in life, we are saying, with no need to say it or even to know it, that lifeas it is does notsatisfyour thirst for the absolute -the foundation of thehuman conditionand should be better.

The Opposable Mind by Roger Martin

You know them when they walk into a room, running a meeting with ease, and come up with ideas that are superior to those around them. Just what is it that makes great thinkers and great leaders different from everyone else?

According to Roger Martin, such brilliant leaders are skilled at integrative thinking: the ability to hold two opposing ideas in their mind at once, and then reach a synthesis that contains elements of bothbut actually improves on each. By refusing to accept unpleasant trade-offs and conventional options, integrative thinkers are able to find creative solutions to seemingly intractable problems.

But is integrative thinking a talent reserved for a fortunate few? Martin says no. He believes its a habit of thought that anyone can consciously develop to arrive at fresh and creative solutions.

The Discernment of Spirits by Timothy M. Gallagher

The Discernment of Spirits leads us through Ignatius’s Rules for Discernment, showing both their precise insight into the human soul and their ability to illustrate the real-life struggles of spiritual seekers today.  Fr. Gallagher’s practical goal is to offer an experience-based presentation of Ignatius’s rules for discernment of spirits in order to facilitate their ongoing application in the spiritual life. This is a book about living the spiritual life.

Congratulations to Loyola’s CIO Louise Finn!

Earlier this month, Loyola’s CIO, Louise Finn, was recognized by SmartCEO as one of Baltimore’s best business leaders.  The SmartCXO award recognizes chief executives who support their organization’s initiatives by supplying fresh ideas, making tough decisions and building strong talent within their companies.

Please click and read Louise’s bio (left) and then take a look at Loyola’s “tip-of-the-hat” to our esteemed CIO (below) from the March edition of the Baltimore SmartCEO magazine.

Congrats Louise!