Steve Jobs

Inspiring Pick-me-ups: Two Awesome Websites

I mentioned in an earlier post that my husband always has great advice, and I have him to thank for letting me know about the following two awesome websites.


If you ever want your mind blown by awesomeness, head to the TEDTalks website. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design, and started out as a conference bringing together people from those three industries. TED’s motto is "ideas worth spreading" and the talks are definitely ideas worth hearing.

Two of my favourite talks are below. The first is a fascinating and hilarious talk about nurturing creativity by Ken Robsinson, the author of a fantastic book called The Element featured in a previous post. The second is a captivating talk about a new way to think of “genius” by the author of one of my favourite books, Eat Pray Love’s Elizabeth Gilbert.

The 99%

According to their website, “The 99% provides insights on productivity, organization, and leadership – all designed to help creative people take action and push their ideas forward.” I’ve only read a few articles so far but they’ve all been great and it’s definitely a resource that I’ll go back to for inspiration.

I referenced an article from this website the week before last when I listed author Jonah Lehrer’s new book How We Decide as one I’m eagerly waiting to read. Here’s the beginning of that article, called Developing Your Creative Practice, in which Lehrer and composer, musician, and producer Brian Eno appear:

Current neuroscience research confirms what creatives intuitively know about being innovative: that it usually happens in the shower. After focusing intently on a project or problem, the brain needs to fully disengage and relax in order for a “Eureka!” moment to arise. It’s often the mundane activities like taking a shower, driving, or taking a walk that lure great ideas to the surface. Composer Steve Reich, for instance, would ride the subway around New York when he was stuck.

Science journalist Jonah Lehrer, referencing a landmark neuroscience study on brain activity during innovation, writes:

“The relaxation phase is crucial. That’s why so many insights happen during warm showers. … One of the surprising lessons of this research is that trying to force an insight can actually prevent the insight.”

The ebb and flow of concentrated focus and total disengagement has been a subject of particular interest to the composer, musician, and producer Brian Eno (U2, Talking Heads, Roxy Music). Drawing on interviews from throughout Eno’s career, Eric Tamm’s book, Brian Eno: His Music and The Vertical Sound of Color, delves deeply into Eno’s “creative process.”

Read the rest of the article at

Another 99% article, called 10 Awesome Videos On Idea Execution & The Creative Process, lists some great, inspiring videos. Among them, the previously mentioned TEDTalk from Elizabeth Gilbert, J.K. Rowling’s commencement speech to Harvard’s 2008 graduating class, and a truly moving address from from Apple and Pixar co-founder Steve Jobs to Stanford University’s 2005 graduating class (see below).