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The Imagination Muscle

Paperback / ISBN-13: 9780349134796

Price: £12.99

ON SALE: 15th February 2024

Genre: Humanities / Philosophy / Popular Philosophy

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‘Beautiful, moving, profoundly imaginative in itself – this book is as entertaining as it is relevant and practical’ ALAIN DE BOTTON

‘Anyone who has an imagination – that is, everyone – should read this book’ EDWARD ENNINFUL

An extraordinary book – an elaborate cabinet of curiosities’ SPECTATOR

For some, the imagination is a luxury in the modern age; something which is by turns elusive, difficult to employ and better left to others. But what is it to imagine exactly? How do we go about it, and why is it so important that we imagine for ourselves?

In this insightful and life-affirming book, Albert Read puts the imagination back at the forefront of our lives. Not merely a nebulous concept reserved for artists and creatives, it is a muscle – an essential faculty of the mind to be trained and developed over a lifetime. It is boundless in its potential, infinitely rewarding and central to human achievement.

Spanning pre-historic times through to the twenty-first century, The Imagination Muscle explores the genesis of ideas – from Thomas Edison’s serial embracing of failure to Jane Jacobs’ vision of how we should build cities together; from Steve Jobs’ approach to office design to the Japanese concept of Ma. Touching on art, music, film, literature, science and entrepreneurship, this book examines how the imagination has evolved – in shape, power and pace – through the millennia.

Albert Read reveals how we can harness the imagination in our day-to-day lives and why, in the new Age of Technology, it is more pressing than ever that we do so. Discover where to find ideas, how to foster skill in observation and connection, and how to be more attentive to the fluxes of our own minds.

After all, as Read expertly outlines, the imagination is our supreme gift, our biggest opportunity, our greatest source of fulfilment and our most vital asset for the future.


Buoyant, beautifully distilled . . . Consistently entertaining
The Times
The perfect book for your weekend . . . in [Read's] fascinating new book, he explores how ideas have developed over thousands of years, across art, science, film, and literature, and explains how you can start find more of them
What a great book . . . amazing
Chris Evans
Beautiful, moving, profoundly imaginative in itself - this book is as entertaining as it is relevant and practical
Alain de Botton
Anyone who has an imagination - that is, everyone - should read this book
Edward Enninful
Super sharp ... brimming with big ideas. An extraordinary book
A moving hymn to creativity
A sparkling romp through all the sunniest and most positive-feeling corners of the mind. A guidebook to free-thinking . . . A hymn to the capacity for delight
Adam Nicolson