The Imagination Muscle

Where Good Ideas Come From (And How to Have More of Them)

By Albert Read (Author)


Pub Date 7/2/2024

ISBN 9781454958130

Format Paperback



The Imagination Muscle

Where Good Ideas Come From (And How to Have More of Them)

by Albert Read
In this insightful and life-affirming book, Albert Read puts the imagination back at the forefront of our lives as a “muscle” that is boundless in its potential, infinitely rewarding, and central to human achievement.

This beautifully written book explores one subject, imagination, through the lens of history and memoir, with some prescriptive aspects to it as well. The author posits that imagination, while elusive, is not just for artists and creatives, it is a muscle—an essential faculty of the mind to be trained and developed over a lifetime. Spanning prehistoric times through to the twenty-first century, from the earliest cave paintings to Leonardo da Vinci’s inventions to Steve Jobs’s approach to office design, it touches on art, music, film, literature, science, and entrepreneurship, to examine 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. He explores where to find ideas, how to foster skills 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 fulfillment and our most vital asset for the future. The book is illustrated throughout with approximately 60 images.
“Gripping . . . will open you up to the possibilities of your own mind. It is a beautifully measured, eloquent book, one designed to help us to ‘get away from algorithms’ and the monoculture they inspire.”—Vogue

"[Read] argues that imagination itself is a muscle that needs to be trained and used regularly, and that doing so can result in a fuller, more creative life. He delves into the history of great imaginations from around the world and offers practical advice for expanding our own—the results could be, well, unimaginable."—Town and Country magazine, "The 39 Must-Read Books of Summer 2024"

“Beautiful, moving, profoundly imaginative in itself—this book is as entertaining as it is relevant and practical.”—Alain de Botton, bestselling author of The Course of Love

“An extraordinary book - an elaborate cabinet of curiosities.”—The Spectator

“Buoyant, beautifully distilled. . . . Consistently entertaining.”—The London 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.”—The Independent

“A moving hymn to creativity.”―The Economist

“A sparkling romp through all the sunniest and most positive-feeling corners of the mind. A guidebook to free-thinking [and] a hymn to the capacity for delight.”—Adam Nicolson, bestselling author of God’s Secretaries

“Anyone who has an imagination—that is, everyone—should read this book.”—Edward Enninful, author of A Visible Man -

Read more


Albert Read has launched and led businesses for Condé Nast in the UK and across Europe and Asia, overseeing titles such as British Vogue, GQ, Wired, Condé Nast Traveller, and Vanity Fair. A former journalist, he has written for The Spectator, The Telegraph, and the London Times. He studied classics at New College, Oxford, and has an MBA from INSEAD. He lives in London with his wife, the writer Catherine Ostler, and their three children.

Title Details

Pages 320 pages, 60 b-w illus.

Trim 5.5 x 8.25 x 0 Inches

Territories US/Can

Category Body, Mind & Spirit

Carton Quantity 36