Book Review: Caffeine For The Creative Mind: 250 Exercises to Wake Up Your Brain

Jim Basio, Former Viget

Article Category: #Design & Content

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From time to time creatives in our field are bound to run low on creative juice. Like many others, I've recently felt my brain needing a good creative spark to get going. I started looking for a couple of outlets that would give me this creative spark with some requirements in mind: something I could do fairly quickly and preferably away from the computer screen. I wanted to get back to the basics of being creative.

As luck would have it, I came across "Caffeine for the Creative Mind: 250 Exercises to Wake Up Your Brain" by by Stefan Mumaw and Wendy Lee Oldfield.

This book is meant for any designer or creative type who is looking for easy ways to jump start their creativity. The book is packed with simple and conceptual 15-minute exercises designed to help readers stimulate their creative brain.

Each exercise allows the reader to use markers, pencils, digital cameras, and more to develop a creative mindset. The book has a very edgy sketchbook design to help illustrate each exercise.

book front


What I Liked:

I have tried a number of different exercises just about every morning since I started reading the book. I can honestly say that it does get the brain going. It is like caffeine for the brain; how about that! I like that the exercises are all relatively quick, and most of the time they don't require anything that you can't find laying around on your work area.

A nice side effect I noticed while working on these exercises was that they also worked as a great stress reliever. Being focused on a particular creative exercise for 15 minutes completely takes your mind off anything else and is very enjoyable.

I also found the interviews with different creatives in the field, which are placed throughout the book, to be very insightful. They cover useful information such as how they deal with satisfying their creative needs.

book inside 1


What I Didn't Like:

Overall I didn't have too many gripes. My main issue would probably be that a few of the exercises are slightly more elementary than others and not quite as useful.

The edgy sketchbook design for "visual allure" can be over the top on some pages and make the content slightly hard to read. A few pages are just loaded with multiple fonts in various sizes and weights that also make it a bit distracting.

book inside 2



This is a great book for anyone looking for a good creative spark. I would definitely recommend this for anyone who is looking to spend a few minutes each day away from the computer to stimulate their brain doing quick, creative exercises.

Preview and order the book here:
Caffeine For The Creative Mind: 250 Exercises to Wake Up Your Brain



How about we try an exercise from the book!

The Doodle

Perspective is a key ingredient in creative thought. Everyone has a different perspective on everything even if it's only slightly different.

the doodle

Use your own unique perspective to finish this drawing. Turn the paper to whatever angle you desire. There is no "right side up." Simply document what it is you see and finish the drawing using pencil, pen, crayons, inks, or whatever tool you'd like.



Proof that everyone has a different perspective. Here is what other featured interviewees from the book did:


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