Book Review. How Creativity Rules the World: The Art and Business of Turning Your Ideas into Gold

Great art inspires you.

It can inspire thought, understanding, emotional release. At best, it can inspire you to take action.

Maria Brito’s book, “How Creativity Rules the World: The Art and Business of Turning Your Ideas into Gold”, does all these things.

Divided into four parts, the book covers the intersection of creativity, art and business; habits of the mind; tools of the trade; and advice for merging these into a creative career. The structure is scaffolding for Brito’s seamless integration of art history, insider art world insight and inspirational stories of her experience in turning her love for art into a business.

It all hinges on Brito’s conviction that creativity is a universal power, personally manifested. It is for everyone, available to everyone, “an amalgam of habits and mindsets nurtured by will and design.” But what we produce with our creativity is the unique result of who we are, accessible through our willingness to develop an honest, loving, inquisitive relationship with ourselves.

There’s an interesting parallel between the creativity prompts Brito prescribes and the mental health exercises described in David Burn’s “Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy. In creating, we practice the tools that can build mental resilience.

Each chapter ends with tips to prompt the reader to take action towards their creative goals. These are interesting and useful and may whet your appetite for a more structured book on developing a creative practice. (See for example, Jacob Nordby’s “The Creative Cure”.)

Where this book excels is in Brito’s deft storytelling. With lightness and authority, she weaves through myriad examples across centuries, continents, artistic genres and academic disciplines, displaying deep understanding of and passion for creativity and its awesome power. Making art, she reminds us, is about making meaning of our lives and giving our hearts and souls to the things that matter to us.

She’s your most convincing friend, delighting you with stories of artistic triumph to encourage you to go after yours.

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