Mastering the Art of Meaningful Distractions

KalmanUncertainty.jpgObservation is the catalyst of creativity. Innovation “happens” when the everyday things we experience collide.

Unfortunately, those experiences are getting “thinner” the more our calendars bulge with obligations. (“I can’t do a 10:21. Can you make it 10:27?”)

Artist and writer Maira Kalman tries to get us all back on the right track with her book, “The Principles of Uncertainty.”

Kalman’s book celebrates the importance of “meaningful distractions” in our lives—from the simple (a pickle tag on the sidewalk, pom-poms on a hat) to the sublime (the philosophy of Spinoza).

It reminds us that we’d all be a lot more creative if we worked occasionally from a park bench or café, rather than hunched over our computer monitors.

If you’re a Kalman fan, or followed her blog on NYTimes.com, the book’s mischievous drawings and wry observations won’t be new to you.

But like a dysfunctional family at Thanksgiving, sparks fly when you bring them all together in one place. And that’s what creativity is all about.