TLS Podcast Picks: Ridley and Lehrer on Creativity and Ideas

Recommended podcasts:

  • How Creativity Works: An interview with Jonah Lehrer,” by June Thomas, Slate’s The Afterword podcast (Friday, March 30, 2012).  “In Imagine: How Creativity Works, Jonah Lehrer explores some of the myths of creativity and discovers that it isn’t a gift possessed by a lucky few, but rather a variety of processes that everyone can learn to use more efficiently. This 32-minute conversation ranges from the origins of the Swiffer, why 3M is such an innovative company, what people who work alone can do to replicate the creative advantages of the busy workplace, to Steve Jobs’ views on proper bathroom placement.”
  • “Ideas Having Sex” A Conversation with John Tierney and Matt Ridley, (April 5, 2012).
    “Where ideas have sex, is in technologies,” says author and biologist Matt Ridley, “we give far too much credit to individuals for innovation…all of them are standing on the shoulders of lots of other people.”

    Ridley discussed his views on trade, invention and creativity with the New York TimesJohn Tierney at a Reason Foundation event at the Museum of Sex in New York City on March 8, 2012.

    The author of “The Rational Optimist,” tells Tierney that “Every technology we possess has ideas that occurred to different people in different times and different places…most innovation happens by perspiration not inspiration, it’s tinkering…rather than geniuses in ivory towers.”

    Tierney and Ridley also discuss how traders and businessmen, much maligned throughout history as exploiters and “social parasites,” have actually contributed enormously to the spread of ideas and new technological breakthroughs. Ridley describes how Fibonacci, the son of an Italian trader who lived in North Africa, brought the Indian numeral system (the numbers we all know and love today) to Europe as one of the greatest tangible benefits of trade facilitating the exchange of ideas. Ridley implores the public to “Just stop knocking traders, they’re great people, they do wonderful things.”