Edward Glassman, PhD

Team Effectiveness and Creativity

Edward Glassman, PhDEdward Glassman, PhD, (now retired) was the President of The Creativity College®, a division of Leadership Consulting Services, Inc. and former Professor at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, where he headed the Program for Team Effectiveness and Creativity.

A former Guggenheim Fellow at Stanford University and a Visiting Fellow at The Center For Creative Leadership in Greensboro, North Carolina. He led scores of creative thinking meetings and workshops for large and small organizations, including DuPont; Amoco Chemical; IBM; Texaco; Ciba-Geigy; Hoechst-Celanese; Milliken; Federal-Mogul; Calreco/Carnation; A.T.&T. Bell laboratories; Standard Products; Eastman Chemical; Thetford; Lucas Engineering (UK); and numerous others.

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20 Questions Interview

Posted 9/13/11

1. What's your name?

Ed Glassman.

2. Where are you from?

I was born and raised in NYC.

3. Who are you today?

  • I am a writer. I recently published a creativity book called: Creativity Triggers For College Students.
  • I also am a father of 4 daughters and grandfather of 16 grandchildren
  • writer of a biweekly column on creativity for the Creativity Portal
  • writer of a monthly column on magic ("The Amateur Conjuror") for the Magic Roadshow
  • author of a book on magic: Family Magic I & II: 105 tricks For My Family
  • author of a book on nutrition: Weight Loss Simplified: You Really Do Want To lose Weight, Don't You?
  • retired Professor of Biochemistry & Nutrition
  • retired management creativity consultant
  • retired president of the Creativity College®

4. What do you do? (Elevator speech)

Besides my writing and creating (and doing) magic tricks for my family, I work out with a personal trainer 2 times a week and on my own 2 times a week.

5. What's your story (how did you get here)?

My education (Ph.D.) allowed me to become a scientist and a professor of biochemistry & nutrition.

My lifelong learning in the form of workshops, courses, extensive reading, and other self-taught efforts enabled me to become a consultant and/or writer in education, creativity, magic, nutrition, columns for local newspapers; etc.

6. Why is creativity important to you?

WOW. Creativity provides an inherent part of human nature. We all explode with creativity. That is how we humans survived nature and developed our civilizations and diverse cultures. The difficulty for each individual consists of preserving the process and getting it out into a critical environment.

Creativity is the basis of almost everything I do: science, teaching, consulting, writing, living a full life with my family and friends.

7. When/how did you realize you had a creative dream or calling to fulfill?

When I was about 8, I read Microbe Hunters by Paul DeKruif. From that time I decreed that 'I am a scientist,' similar to when I pretended 'I am a cowboy' when I was 5. However, from that moment, I was a scientist and focused on developing the skills and tools to becoming a better scientist.

Later in life, I became a Visiting Fellow of the Center For Creative Leadership in Greensboro, NC, and stumbled into creativity training.

8. How did you embrace it?

From that experience. I announced to myself: 'I am a creativity consultant.' I went on to read extensively, attend courses and workshops, and eventually lead workshops for many large and small corporations, and write columns, articles, and books.

When I turned 80 years old, I declared: 'I am a writer,' and in five months wrote two books on magic, two on creativity, and one on nutrition and weight loss. All that information I had learned and stored throughout my life came gushing out and I didn't stop until I wrote it all down. Subsequently, I wrote my latest book on Creativity Triggers For College Students.

9. How did that feel?


10. Where has your journey taken you?

I have been a scientist and professor, an educational consultant, a creativity consultant, newspaper columnist, a Guggenheim Foundation Fellow, and a writer always.

I have traveled extensively as a scientist, and later as a consultant. I have a wonderful family and close friends. I live modestly so I can do the creative things I want to do. A great journey, and still moving forward.

11. What challenges have you faced?

Life is a challenge, the ultimate challenge. Passing exams and getting my Ph.D. was my greatest challenge. After that, my professorship, my consulting, my relationships: it seems that I was challenged by myself and others all along the way. And here I am. Who knew.

12. What worked for you?

Announcing to myself and a few trusted others that 'I am … (a scientist, a consultant, a teacher) from the beginning, living as though that declaration were true, and working very hard to develop the skills and tools to become successful worked well for me.

I was able to have a succession of fascinating careers and have fun along the way. And I am still doing it. After all, 'I am now a writer.'

I call this approach 'forceful goal setting.'

13. What didn't work for you?

Setting goals by declaring what I wanted to 'become,' (tepid goal setting) rather than decreeing that I 'am' that person and living that new reality (forceful goal setting).

14. What three tips can you share with those starting on a similar path?

In no particular order ...

  1. Get the highest college degree that you can. It can open new doors.
  2. Start lifelong, independent learning early. Read. Take courses. Attend workshops. Learn meditation. Keep expanding your mind. Follow your passions and interests.
  3. Exercise regularly. Get fit and stay fit. Eat for health. Control your weight. Nothing tastes as good as being thin feels.
  4. Use forceful goal setting when you really mean it, not the tepid kind.
  5. Don't mention that there are more than 3 tips here. Such negativity harms creativity.

15. What are you working on now?

Another creativity book.

16. What's coming up for you in the next year?

Finishing my book

17. What else do you desire/dream to do?

Write a book with my daughter who is a leader of meditation

18. How will you make that happen?

She and I already discuss the core elements of the book.

19. What question do you want to answer that's not on this list?

What's in your book Creativity Triggers For College Students: A Frolicking Guide To Light Up Your Life?

This book brings together the modern, targeted creativity triggers that focus on the real issues within a problem and on its quality solution.

You will find three types of creativity triggers to help solve problems creatively when working alone or in groups:

  • First, creativity triggers to shift paradigms and produce unexpected ideas).
  • Second, creativity triggers that change the creative climate so new ideas flourish.
  • Third, creativity triggers to stop pigeonholing people, including yourself, so you stop stifling creative thinking.

Here's what else you will find:

  • What creativity really is and the many reasons to be creative, including the fun involved).
  • How to unblock yourself from 'writer's block' and 'idea generating block' using "automatic writing".
  • Advanced targeted creativity triggers to carry out the three key creative steps to shift paradigms and solve problems more creatively.
  • Creativity triggers for permanent creativity groups formed from students in your college.
  • Puzzles that illuminate your habits and traps that block you from unexpected, new ideas.
  • How low and high conformers approach creativity differently, and how to get along with both types (Appendices IV & V).
  • Habits that spoil creative thinking, and the triggers to avoid them.

So alter habits and apply new creativity triggers to your problems. Start making new connections from old bits & pieces in your mind, and be more successful and creative.

20. Where can folks find your work online?