MAUGHAN: You want to know what we do in my family with action movies?
DUCKWORTH: You watch them?
* * *
DUCKWORTH: I’m Angela Duckworth.
MAUGHAN: I’m Mike Maughan.
DUCKWORTH + MAUGHAN: And you’re listening to No Stupid Questions.
Today on the show: what’s the relationship between creativity and happiness?
MAUGHAN: “I wonder what this crayon would taste like? I’ll put it in my mouth!”
* * *
DUCKWORTH: Mike, we have an email from one, Patrick Dillon, from Michigan. He signed his email: Michigan, U.S.A.
MAUGHAN: Okay, I wonder where in the Michigan five — you know how the people use the hand to say where they’re from in Michigan?
DUCKWORTH: They do! They always use the hand. I think that’s so helpful. If only my state were shaped like a hand.
MAUGHAN: I know, no other state has the ability to do that.
DUCKWORTH: Patrick does not want to tell us where in Michigan he resides, but he does want to ask us this question: “Hi, Angela and Mike. My question is about the opportunity to express creativity and the associated level of happiness in life.” He says: “My background is in engineering, and I work in my current career as a practicing physician. While I loved pursuing a degree in engineering, it didn’t provide much latitude to express creativity. And, while I find my career as a cardiologist-slash-electrophysiologist exciting and fulfilling, I, again, find myself with little latitude to be creative in my decision-making. I often look on from the outside at those who can express creativity in their career, like musicians or writers, and I wonder if there’s a link between careers that allow one to be more creative and overall happiness in life? I would love your thoughts on the topic, maybe in an NSQ episode.”
MAUGHAN: Well, guess what, Patrick? You’re getting an NSQ episode.
DUCKWORTH: Yeah, a whole one — wherever you are in Michigan.
MAUGHAN: Okay, I think this is a really fascinating question, basically: is creativity associated with happiness? Is creativity associated with career happiness? And Patrick, I do have some actual research for you from the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project. So, they interviewed 13,500 graduates at 154 institutions.
DUCKWORTH: And are they all art students?
MAUGHAN: Yeah. All at art institutions. And they found that 92 percent of people who are in these arts academies found work after graduation. Because I think so often as a parent, if your child’s like, “Hey, I want to be an artist, or I want to go into this job,” you’re like —.
DUCKWORTH: Yeah, “you’re going to be a starving artist.”
MAUGHAN: “Hey! That’s such a good idea. Maybe we could think about —.” And then you give a much more practical answer.
DUCKWORTH: Right. Like, you could be an accountant!
MAUGHAN: And hate your life. Sorry, accountants. Some accountants are happy. We’ll go with that. But 92 percent actually found work. Sixty-six percent of these young artists said that their first job out of school was a close match for what they wanted to do. So, that’s, I mean, pretty high. And then, 70 percent of them who are employed as fine artists, or photographers, or dancers, or writers, said that they were “very satisfied” with their job. I mean, “very satisfied,” I think, is an incredibly high bar. And they said they were very satisfied notwithstanding the low pay. Now, juxtapose that with Gallup and their study on the State of the American Workforce. And they said in their report that 70 percent of Americans were not engaged or actively disengaged and emotionally disconnected from their workplace.
DUCKWORTH: So, it’s almost like photo negatives, right?
MAUGHAN: Right! So, this — I will admit, both these studies are a little bit old: one’s from 2011, one’s from 2013, but I went back that far because it allowed us to roughly compare timeline to timeline. That was a long time ago — pre-pandemic. We’ve talked recently about “quiet quitting,” about people who are actively sabotaging their workplaces, all of those things. I think if anything, this has all gotten worse. But I think it gives some credence to this idea that creative work often is happy work. You know, you’ve studied passion and perseverance and grit — and that you have to, you know, have some level of passion for what you do and not just be practical with your career. But what’s your reaction to this, and — and maybe scientifically, where do we go from there?
DUCKWORTH: Okay. So, I have had a conversation about happiness and creativity ongoing with Marty Seligman.
MAUGHAN: The great Marty.
DUCKWORTH: The great Marty Seligman. So, Marty and I have known each other for now, like, two-plus decades, and it’s a perennial topic of conversation: what is the connection between happiness and creativity? And Marty has pointed out to me that there is a myth that people who are really unhappy are the ones who are the most creative. Like, we, we think of Sylvia Plath, right?
MAUGHAN: Well, and we think of van Gogh — the, like, tortured artist, you cut off your ear.
DUCKWORTH: You cut off your ear, right? Yeah, I mean, you know, mental illness, like, has been associated with, uh, creative output in music, and in art, and literature for a long time. But, you know, like, take Sylvia Plath — at least Marty’s read on Sylvia Plath was that she wasn’t — I mean, she did kill herself, and she was somebody who was prone to episodes of depression. But Marty’s conjecture is that she actually had her creative output, her writing — you know, The Bell Jar, the poetry — during her manic episodes. So, it may not have been at all to do with the depressive episodes. It might have been in spite of those. But in general, negative emotions, like sadness, anger, and anxiety, are not correlated with creativity. Sometimes they’re negatively correlated, and sometimes there’s no correlation, but the data are pretty clear that negative emotions — and certainly depression, which just sucks. I mean, like, let’s not romanticize depression. Clinical depression, you’re very unlikely to be at your creative best. But even, like, other negative emotions that are not as extreme — yeah, that’s pretty definitive that they don’t correlate positively.
MAUGHAN: So, I have a friend, I’m not going to name him here, but he’s a genuine rock star, but he is a very tortured soul. But I really think so much of his creativity comes from his pain. I wouldn’t say that he’s depressed, but he is able to explore the human emotion, so his lyrics are so profound because he feels pain so deeply. So, how is — walk me through how that’s different.
DUCKWORTH: Yeah, how do we reconcile that, right? Well, okay, can I ask you about your friend? So, this is a musician who expresses his somewhat, like, tortured relationship with existence through his music? Is that right? Well, I think this is complicated. I don’t think, you know, depression is quote-unquote, like, “good for creativity.” But I do think there’s some nuance here. Freud, who is not recognized as a great scientist, but I think should be recognized as an astute observer of human nature. You know, Freud had this idea that we have these defense mechanisms that protect our ego. And, you know, we’ve all heard about these defense mechanisms as being probably bad, right? Like, “oh, you’re repressed” or “you’re in denial.” Like, and these are what, in Freudian taxonomy, would be called, like, “immature defenses” — defenses that get you into more trouble. But there were these mature defenses that got a little bit less attention. One of them is humor. One of them is altruism. These are ways of dealing with the pain of existence in ways that don’t get you into trouble. They get you, and other people, into a better place.
MAUGHAN: Humor, by the way — and especially self-deprecating humor — is 100 percent my defense mechanism. A hundred percent.
DUCKWORTH: Oh, that’s so you.
MAUGHAN: Well, and people will say to me, like, “Hey, stop with the self-deprecating humor.” And I’m always like, “But there’s so much to work with!”
DUCKWORTH: You’re like, “Lay off my defense!” It’s, like, so working for me. And it is a mature defense, in this Freudian taxonomy. And — and the one that’s most related to Patrick’s question about creativity and happiness — and this is why things are, you know, complicated — is that there is a Freudian defense called “sublimation,” and sublimation is when you, you know, like when Carrie Fisher said, “It’s when you take your broken heart, and turn it into art.” So, sublimation is taking pain and then transforming that into artistic expression. So, maybe your unnamed, famous, tortured musician friend is taking negative emotion and sublimating. And so, I guess you could argue like: oh, that’s a way in which unhappiness can lead to creativity. But it’s almost, like, despite being unhappy, you know, like, because in general, positive mood is correlated with creativity.
MAUGHAN: And it makes a lot of sense that people who are creative and who are happy go hand in hand, because the act of creation is inherently, I think, a joyful act. You’re discovering. You’re making something new. You’re doing something for the first time in a new way.
DUCKWORTH: Okay, so let me give a little bit of theoretical cred to this idea that happiness and creativity not only go hand in hand, happiness does predict creativity over time, and creativity also has been shown to predict happiness over time. So —.
MAUGHAN: It’s a beautiful circular path to creativity and joy.
DUCKWORTH: It is! It’s positive feedback loop, da-da-da-da-da! But here’s the theory behind it. It’s the creative genius of a psychologist named Barbara Fredrickson, and it’s called “broaden-and-build theory.” So, basically, what broaden-and-build theory says is that: when we have negative emotions, like fear, and sadness, and anxiety, and anger, we do things that are more or less fight or flight and that helps us survive in bad times. And when we have positive emotions, like happiness, joy, elation, pride, calm, and so forth — we have those positive emotions because those are a signal that times are good. And that’s when we should broaden the possibilities that we’re thinking of and build our resources and connections. And so, when you are in a positive state of emotion — when you are happy — your mind kind of spontaneously thinks more creatively, more expansively. You make connections that you wouldn’t otherwise make. So, I do think it’s a positive feedback cycle.
MAUGHAN: What’s amazing though — as you were describing broaden-and-build and negative emotions lead to sort of this narrowing, positive emotions to expanding, I thought immediately of body language. Think about when you feel threatened or something, right? Or you’re fearful. You, kind of, like, shrink in, or people always fold their arms if they’re not open. But if you’re relaxed and in this happy state, I mean, what immediately came to my mind was laying on a — a beach, with your arms spread and your legs spread and just, like, being free.
DUCKWORTH: So, what’s so interesting is that a lot of times people think that emotions are only expressed through your facial expressions, like you’re smiling, you’re frowning, your forehead is wrinkled, or it’s not wrinkled. But actually, your body — and your body posture — is also an expression of your emotions, and sometimes even more reliably so. And in general, I think positive emotions — they’re getting you to approach the world. Like, you’re not retreating from the world. You’re not hiding. You’re not, like, protecting. You’re not preserving. You’re exploring, and if you just have this, like, image of, like the carefree four-year-old who’s just, like, picking stuff up and, you know, “I wonder what this crayon would taste like? I’ll put it in my mouth! Oh, don’t like that. Maybe I’ll take it out of my mouth.” Like, I think there is something about that image that is what the picture of, like, creativity and positive emotion looks like. And if you think about a crying four-year-old, or scared four-year-old, or an angry four-year-old, you don’t get the picture of doing things to explore the world, but in fact the opposite.
MAUGHAN: That’s so interesting to think through.
DUCKWORTH: Right? Yeah. And, Mike, I think you and I would both love to hear from our listeners a story about a time in your life when you were at your creative peak. I’m interested in knowing whether you were especially happy or, I don’t know, maybe especially unhappy. Regardless, record a voice memo in a quiet place with your mouth close to the phone, and email us at NSQ@Freakonomics.com. Maybe we’ll play it on a future episode of the show.
Still to come on No Stupid Questions: Angela and Mike explore how constraints inspire creativity.
DUCKWORTH: I love Napoleon Dynamite!
MAUGHAN: You do?
* * *
Now, back to Mike and Angela’s conversation about the relationship between creativity and happiness.
MAUGHAN: What immediately came to mind when I heard you ask this question is the research out of Michigan State University on winners of the Nobel Prize — that they are 2.85 times more likely than the average scientist to have an artistic or crafty hobby, which one might say is this creative expression.
DUCKWORTH: I’ve heard that statistic — that somebody who wins the Nobel Prize in medicine or economics is more likely — not less likely — to allocate time in their busy schedules for a serious hobby. Why do you think that might be?
MAUGHAN: So, my immediate thought process is that it gives your brain time to reset. This is really silly, but I do this New York Times puzzle every morning called “Connections,” and it has a 4×4 set of 16 little boxes, and you have to say which sets of four are aligned to each other. And I’ll often read all 16 words, and then take a break and go do something else, because when you first read them, you’re like: I don’t know how these all connect. I just go take a little break, and when I come back, often it’s very clear to me very quickly, whereas I may not have seen it at the beginning. That is such a silly little example compared to the science that a Nobel Prize winner might be doing. But I — I wonder, tell me, you know, is there something to this idea of doing something divergent or something creative that lets your mind process these deep things a little differently?
DUCKWORTH: Well, I have a story for you that I think will resonate, because it’s similar. So, my dad was an organic chemist for his whole professional career. And I have to say, he was a awesome organic chemist. Like — he worked at DuPont his whole life, and I know it’s not sexy, and it certainly would never win the Nobel Prize in chemistry, but he worked on automotive refinishing products. So, like, car paint, but specifically the car paint you get when you have a dent and then you have to get your car repainted, which apparently is an incredibly complex problem, because when you have a car, over time — because of sun, and rain, and time — the car paint changes color, kind of idiosyncratically, depending on where you live, and how much sun, and so forth. So, when you dent your car and you just have to get that one part repainted, you need the car paint to match exactly in color and luminance. And, like, that’s what my dad worked on for his whole life. He reached the highest level of any scientist in DuPont. He was at the, like, distinguished scientist level. And there’s, like, literally a bronze cast statue of my dad in, you know, the headquarters.
MAUGHAN: Wait, that is amazing, though. There is a statue of your dad.
DUCKWORTH: I know! Who does that? Who wants a statue of anyone, really? But apparently they cast one of my dad. So, I speak with the authority of, you know, my father’s accomplishments, I guess, when he said, “if you’re really stuck” — because I remember asking him in college, I was, like, taking — gosh, who knows, maybe I was taking organic chemistry, or — you know, it was just, like, a really hard science class, and I was like, “I don’t understand this, my brain’s not working.” And he said to me to go watch an action movie.
MAUGHAN: Go watch an action movie?
DUCKWORTH: Like, a Schwarzenegger film.
MAUGHAN: You want to know what we do in my family with action movies?
DUCKWORTH: You watch them?
MAUGHAN: This is my brother Dave’s favorite joke. If we ever eat, like, a big meal — like Thanksgiving — and you’ve eaten too much food, he always says, “Well, better go watch an action movie to work all this off.”
DUCKWORTH: I like that. You know, not sure it’s going to burn calories, but here’s why my dad recommended it: he said that when he was working on a really hard scientific problem, he would do something totally different, take his mind off of it, like watch an engrossing action movie or read a book or — my dad really loved to take baths and read these, like, serial novels in Chinese, effectively the literary equivalent of a soap opera. But they were in Chinese, so I couldn’t read it, so I’m guessing. And he would, you know, have these insights that would come to him while his mind wasn’t specifically on the task. Anyway, that reminds me of this puzzle that you’re doing and you, like, take your mind somewhere else and then you come back to it. And, you know, my dad’s not the only one, right? Like, many scientists have said that when they come to their best ideas, it’s because they’ve put a lot of information in their head — so it’s not that they have just goofed off for their whole lives, but: you work really hard; you put a lot of knowledge in your head; you think to the point where you can’t usefully think anymore, and then — in this time where you’re more relaxed and your mind is ostensibly somewhere else — there is a part of your thinking, let’s call it subconscious thinking, that is putting ideas together, and then, you have, like, the epiphany.
MAUGHAN: Another thing that I think about — and maybe some practical advice for Patrick, and maybe some response to why Nobel Prize winners are so busy but still find a way to play the piano — there was an article in the Harvard Business Review written by Duncan Wardle, who’s the former Vice President of Innovation and Creativity at the Walt Disney Company. When I think of creativity, I think of Disney, right?
DUCKWORTH: Yeah. That would be a good synonym for creativity: Disney.
MAUGHAN: So, Duncan Wardle, he writes in this H.B.R. article: “I’ve learned that people with the fewest number of resources tend to be the most creative.” And the reason I loved that — at Qualtrics, we’ve always had this line that “constraints breed creativity.”
DUCKWORTH: “Necessity is the mother of invention.”
MAUGHAN: He goes on to use examples, like distilleries during the pandemic used nothing but the inventory of ingredients they already had to create hand sanitizer. Or a 3D printing company that creates respirator valves in 24 hours in Italy when they needed them so desperately in all of their I.C.U. units. And I think of so many stories of people who have used constraints to breed that creativity. And I even think about these Nobel prize winners who are the most busy people. But those constraints have almost created opportunities for creativity in their own way. I’ve got a friend, Jared Hess, he’s a screenwriter, and director, and producer. And he wrote a film while he was an undergrad in college called Napoleon Dynamite.
DUCKWORTH: I love Napoleon Dynamite!
MAUGHAN: You do?
DUCKWORTH: So much, that’s such a great movie.
MAUGHAN: He said he based it off of his little brother — no offense to his little brother. He said those are all lines from growing up. But this is what I love about the story of Jared and Napoleon Dynamite, is — he said so many of his classmates, they were assigned to write a screenplay, and they would write these things that would need Tom Cruise, and Gal Gadot, and $200 million to produce. And that was their screenplay. And Jared and his wife, Jerusha — who were classmates — they said, “Why don’t we do what we can do today? We want to control our own destiny.” So, these constraints they had bred the creativity to write something that they could produce. And so, Jerusha went to every Goodwill within hundreds of miles to do all the costuming. And Jared, you know, wrote things that he knew, and they went up to Idaho where he grew up, and the cast was, like, sleeping on the floor of relatives’ houses, and they found the guy who played Napoleon Dynamite as one of their classmates. They were just very scrappy. But because they filtered all these constraints, Jared told me that all the people that worked on Napoleon Dynamite from his classes are still in film today. And all the people who wrote these big screenplays, none of them are in the movie industry. And his takeaway was that because he just figured out how to get started on what he could do today — well, that day, right? Back then.
DUCKWORTH: Yeah, without $200 million.
MAUGHAN: Right! That’s what allowed him to get into the industry and go.
DUCKWORTH: So, you’re saying that in your experience — and in the experience of the geniuses behind Napoleon Dynamite, which is definitely a genius film, that, like, not having infinite resources actually produced something really innovative. And I think there’s lots of stories like that, right? Where, like, you wouldn’t have had to be creative except for you did have to be creative, right?
MAUGHAN: Yeah, I think that’s fair. Look, I think even in a business environment — I think that when people have a lot of money — so companies that have taken a ton of funding — I think that can lead to laziness. I think that if you have so many people on your team, then people are just busy, not necessarily productive. So, I think in all of these environments, constraints breed that creativity. If you don’t have a team that’s big enough for what you think you need to do, then you only do the things that are the most impactful. It was the old Stephen Covey: “Do first things first and second things, not at all.” Right? If you can’t do everything, then it forces you to figure out: what are the few things that will have the biggest impact? Let’s go there. So, I wonder — you know, Patrick is saying, I don’t have time to be creative. I don’t know, Patrick, I’m certainly not in medicine. But I wonder if some of the greatest breakthroughs in medicine, when we talk about these Nobel Prize winners, et cetera, came because they were looking at new ways to do it, different ways to do it. They gave themselves the freedom to not just say, “I want to be excellent at doing X surgery, but can I do it better or different or in a new way?” And that’s where the breakthroughs come from.
DUCKWORTH: So, I — I want to agree with that, that absolutely necessity can be the mother of invention. What I think we would also want to say, though, in the same breath, is that all this research on happiness and creativity means that, like, poverty is not the mother of all invention. Like, having no time to think because you’re working three jobs is not necessarily the mother of invention. It’s more like, I don’t know, if necessity is the mother of invention, happiness is the father, right? Because, like, it’s both having some constraints, but also, I do believe that this capacity to relax a little, to be in a good mood, and therefore your mind wanders a little more expansively, like, I think people rarely say what else you need other than constraints, and I think Patrick’s question allows us to at least add that happiness is another factor.
MAUGHAN: You’re absolutely right. Poverty, of course, does not lead to creativity. It does not lead to happiness. And there’s so much research about the massive negative externalities of uncertainty that comes with poverty, of all of those challenges that are associated.
DUCKWORTH: So, you don’t mean constraints in the sense that, like, you really don’t have enough resources at all. You just mean that, like, there are some constraints in your schedule or your resources that will at some level make you think more innovatively.
MAUGHAN: Taking a risk here to bring up Maslow. I think we’re talking about constraints breed creativity once you’re further up the hierarchy.
DUCKWORTH: Oh, Abraham Maslow? The psychologist of the Hierarchy of Needs?
MAUGHAN: Yes, Hierarchy of Needs. Once you have basic needs satisfied, right? I’m — I’m speaking in a high-productive work environment, not in a Hierarchy of Needs.
DUCKWORTH: Right. I want to say that, you know, if necessity is the mother of invention, and if happiness is the father of invention, I mean, if you just kind of bop along in the world and you follow the rules that education systems and workplaces lay out for us, you know, we may miss the opportunity to be creative and, therefore, happier. So, I don’t know, Patrick, I think there’s such a deep link between happiness and creativity. You know, whatever you do, you probably want to be a little more creative — certainly Patrick would like to be. I mean, what I’d like to end on this article called, “Happiness and Creativity: Going with the flow,” written by none other than the psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. And Csikszentmihalyi, you’ve heard of, right? Like the flow guy, who discovered the flow state that artists and other creative people — as well as athletes and other high performers — end up being, like, so absorbed in what they’re doing, that they so often describe it as “being in the flow.” And in this article, Csikszentmihalyi says that “Creative persons differ from one another in a variety of ways, but in one respect they are unanimous: they all love what they do. It is not the hope of achieving fame or making money that drives them; rather, it is the opportunity to do the work that they enjoy doing.”
This episode was produced by me, Rebecca Lee Douglas. And now here’s a fact-check of today’s conversation:
In the first half of the show, Mike and Angela marvel at how Michiganders can share their location simply by pointing to an area of their hand. And indeed, residents of “the mitten state” are known for using the Lower Peninsula’s glove-like shape as a convenient cartographic tool. Mike says that no other state has the ability to do this, but Wisconsintes would disagree. In 2011, Wisconsin was represented as a brown mitten in some of the state’s winter tourism ads — leading to controversy between the midwestern neighbors. Dave Lorenz, then Michigan’s manager of public and industry relations, told the Kalamazoo Gazette, “We understand their mitten envy, but there is only one mitten state.” A Wisconsin P.R. man named Tom Lyons responded, “Wisconsin is the left mitten. Michigan is the right mitten. Even children know that one mitten doesn’t cut it when it comes to Midwest winters.”
Later, Angela says that the DuPont headquarters houses a bronze-cast statue of her father, Ying K. Lee. This isn’t entirely true. Lee received many awards over the course of his career, including two from DuPont: a Distinguished Scientist Award and a Lavoisier Medal for Technical Achievement. In celebration of his accomplishments, a bronze plaque featuring an engraving of Lee’s likeness is on display at the DuPont Experimental Station facility in Wilmington, Delaware.
Finally, Mike attributes the quotation “Do first things first and second things not at all” to Stephen Covey, author of the 1989 book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. The line actually comes from the 1966 book The Effective Executive, by Peter Drucker, whose work was a significant influence on Covey.
That’s it for the fact-check.
Before we wrap today’s show, let’s hear some thoughts about last week’s episode on whether GPS and other modern technologies are affecting the way we think.
Brad UMANSKY: Hi, this is Brad and I loved your episode about GPS. The question that I’ve been thinking about is how many marriages have probably been saved because of GPS. No longer do you have spouses sitting in the front seat of their car arguing over which direction to go. GPS now solves that problem, and I think it likely has saved many, many marriages.
Matt GREENING: Hi, my name is Matt. I live in Nova Scotia, Canada. I share the mindset that modern technology has improved the way that we think. A single example that I find myself experiencing regularly is my vocabulary. Having essentially the entire wealth of human knowledge at my fingertips at any moment’s notice has led me to be able to quickly look up and remember new words. If I had to think of a word and go home and search it in a dictionary, I feel I would have long forgotten it before that point. But being able to immediately search it, listen to how it’s pronounced, and being given its origins and popularity over time, definitely make them stick. Without modern technology, words like “eponymous” and “colloquialism” would likely not have made it to my lexicon.
That was Brad Umansky and Matt Greening. Thanks to them and to everyone who shared their experiences with us. And remember, we’d love to hear about your stories about a time when you were most creative. Were you happy? Depressed? Locked in a flow state? Send a voice memo to NSQ@Freakonomics.com, and you might hear your voice on the show!
Coming up next week on No Stupid Questions: How do we disagree better?
MAUGHAN: “I’m right. No, I’m right.” “You all suffer from the sin of certainty. Maybe you’re all wrong.”
That’s next week on No Stupid Questions.
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No Stupid Questions is part of the Freakonomics Radio Network, which also includes Freakonomics Radio, People I (Mostly) Admire, and The Economics of Everyday Things. All our shows are produced by Stitcher and Renbud Radio. Lyric Bowditch is our production associate. This episode was mixed by Greg Rippin with help from Jasmin Klinger. We had research assistance from Daniel Moritz-Rabson. Our theme song was composed by Luis Guerra. You can follow us on Twitter @NSQ_Show and on Facebook @NSQShow. If you have a question for a future episode, please email it to NSQ@Freakonomics.com. To learn more, or to read episode transcripts, visit Freakonomics.com/NSQ. Thanks for listening!
MAUGHAN: Patrick, Poppy, Poppy — how are the p’s? Is this better?
- Stephen Covey, author.
- Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, professor of psychology and management at Claremont Graduate University.
- Barbara Fredrickson, professor of psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
- Sigmund Freud, psychologist and founder of psychoanalysis.
- Jared Hess, filmmaker.
- Abraham Maslow, 20th-century psychologist.
- Sylvia Plath, 20th-century poet and novelist.
- Martin Seligman, professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania.
- Duncan Wardle, former head of Innovation and Creativity at the Walt Disney Company.
- “The Science of Why You Have Great Ideas in the Shower,” by Stacey Colino (National Geographic, 2022).
- “So, You Think You’re Not Creative?” by Duncan Wardle (Harvard Business Review, 2021).
- “The Correlation Between Arts and Crafts and a Nobel Prize,” by Rosie Cima (Priceonomics, 2015).
- “Report: State of the American Workplace,” by Gallup (2014).
- “Poverty Impedes Cognitive Function,” by Anandi Mani, Sendhil Mullainathan, Eldar Shafir, and Jiaying Zhao (Science, 2013).
- “Forks in the Road: The Many Paths of Arts Alumni,” by the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (2011).
- “A Meta-Analysis of 25 Years of Mood-Creativity Research: Hedonic Tone, Activation, or Regulatory Focus?” by Matthijs Baas, Carsten K. W. De Dreu, and Bernard A. Nijstad (Psychological Bulletin, 2008).
- “The Relationship Between Creativity and Mood Disorders,” by Nancy C. Andreasen (Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience, 2008).
- “The Broaden-and-Build Theory of Positive Emotions,” by Barbara Fredrickson (Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, 2004).
- “Happiness and Creativity: Going With the Flow,” by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (The Futurist, 1997).
- “Why Are Rich Countries So Unhappy?” by No Stupid Questions (2022).
- “Do You Really Need a Muse to Be Creative?” by No Stupid Questions (2021).
- “Does All Creativity Come From Pain?” by No Stupid Questions (2020).
- “How To Be Creative,” series by Freakonomics Radio (2018-2019).
- “How to Be Happy,” by Freakonomics Radio (2018).
- Napoleon Dynamite, film by Jared Hess (2004).
- The Bell Jar, by Sylvia Plath (1963).
- Connections, game by The New York Times.