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Book Review: Cirque du Soleil – The Spark; Igniting the Creative Fire that Lives Within Us All By Lyn Heward and John U Bacon

It seams my recent book reviews are for “small” books – this one is only 135 pages, but (to my mind) you should not need to write a “mega-volume” to make clear points in an engaging way.

I was loaned “The Spark” by a friend who is a trained psychologist but who works in “quality systems” for many international clients. Her “introduction” was; “I give a copy of this book to all my key client contacts – it’s never failed to provide a powerful message about what I will be working with them to achieve”.

It did not take me too long to “get the message” – one that I believe is just as valid for coaching as it is for quality systems, team development or (especially) personal knowledge and growth..

The Spark is an interesting “tale” about one persons introduction / overview of the creative process and mind-set that is at the very heart of the (very successful) Cirque du Soleil organisation / business. And the story does not get in the way of the “messages” that the creator (Lyn) and the writer (John) wanted to share with the reader. Subjects such as; motivation, team work and community spirit, creativity inside and outside of comfort zones, the value of mistakes, and TRUST are all covered very clearly – and not just the how but the why; their value to the person and the team.

I could not write notes in the book, I was loaned a personal copy; personally dedicated to my friend by the books creator (how’s that for trust in me?).. So, by the time I had read the book twice, it looked like a one-sided Christmas Tree, with lots of Post-it tabs highlighting messages that I found of value.

I won’t spoil your enjoyment of the book and your own finding of the messages, by sharing too many here, but let me share just three:

“Its important to remind people that whatever they do for Cirque du Soleil – whether they’re acrobats or accountants – these shows are why you do what you do. It helps to keep us motivated. Never lose sight of the reasons for your work…”

“It’s amazing how much we fear the unknown – even when the unknown carries with it the possibility of success. We are so determined to stick to our comfort zones that we learn to live with disappointment, as long as it’s familiar and safe”.

And finally; “Most of our life we’re put in a cage, where we sing the same song day in and day out. But life is not about being caged, life is about flying.”

Isn’t that what coaching is about; helping our clients (and ourselves) see the cage, find the way to open the door and finally to FLY?

Why run away to join the circus – when this book shows you how to bring the circus into your own life? Well – not quite, but it certainly highlights the value of creativity in our lives. I’m ordering up copies for my key clients as well as passing on the ISBN details (ISBN 0-385-51651-7) to all those that I coach!!

Reviewed by Malcolm Lugton

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