The book

Developing Multiple Talents

The personal side of creative expression

By Douglas Eby

“If there is one word that makes creative people different from others, it is the word complexity. Instead of being an individual, they are a multitude.”

Developing Multiple TalentsThat is a quote by Creativity researcher Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (pronounced me-high chick-sent-me-high-ee), from several posts of mine, including The Complex Personality of Creative People on The Creative Mind site.

A related perspective:

“Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)”

Walt Whitman, quoted by cognitive psychologist and co-founder of The Creativity Post Scott Barry Kaufman, Ph.D., in his post ‘After the Show: The Many Faces of the Performer.’

This complexity of high ability, multitalented and creative people shows up in many ways, such as having – and often being challenged by – many interests and passions.

Abigail Breslin“I want to do wardrobe. I want to do hair. I want to do makeup… writing… directing… producing. I want to do all of it. I like it.” – Actor Abigail Breslin

“Photography, painting or poetry – those are just extensions of me, 
how I perceive things, they are my way of communicating.”
 – Actor, writer, photographer, publisher Viggo Mortensen

“All creative people have multiple talents, don’t they?”

In his post Creatives With Multiple Talents (on his blog ‘The Artist’s Road’), Patrick Ross writes about meeting two students in a Masters in Writing program who are about to graduate.

“They told me about a talent show their class held at their last on-campus residency. One of them said he had performed on the violin. The other told me he has acting experience but didn’t want to do a one-man show, so he performed magic tricks.

“I said it was interesting that all of these writing students had another talent they could perform. The violin player looked at me as if I had just expressed bafflement that an orange was the color orange. ‘All creative people have multiple talents, don’t they?’

“They do, scientists tell us, even if they don’t realize it,” Ross adds.

“After all, if you’ve never picked up a musical instrument, you may not realize you have a predisposition to excel at it. But the creative brain knows how to both master a skill and think in ways others would find counter-intuitive to breathe new life into that skill.”

From the Introduction.
The book is available in paperback and ebook versions from

Developing Multiple Talents

{Also from Barnes and Noble – see more info at bottom.}

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Reviews :

“Part book about creativity, part compendium of useful tidbits, quotations and research results, and part annotated bibliography, this is a wildly useful and highly entertaining resource. Douglas Eby, a multi-talented writer himself, provides intriguing tastes of amazingly varied and comprehensive views of creativity, creators and the creative life, plus where and how to find more.”
Stephanie S. Tolan, fiction writer and consultant on the needs of the gifted.


“It is not always easy to host a kind of overdose of talents: Often one career direction is not a sufficient outlet for one’s creative thrusts. And being basically uncommon may impede the finding of proper peers as a guide or reference for personal maturation. Douglas Eby’s book is kaleidoscopical, just like the subject he describes. Every turn of a page offers new and colorful peers that reflect on the book’s ingredients. The many links make it possible to read in different levels of detail. The chapters help the reader not to get overwhelmed, that is, if you know when to pause reading.”
Willem Kuipers, counselor for extra intelligent people; author of the book
Enjoying the Gift of Being Uncommon.


“Packed full of insights and resources for the creative life, Developing Multiple Talents offers new ways to thrive as a creative person. Douglas Eby addresses many of the issues we face – fear, lack of confidence and focus – allowing the creative person to feel understood and ultimately empowered. Normalizing the challenges in the creative process provides a huge step toward coping with those challenges. Douglas’s book gives readers a resource for understanding and accepting our problems and our gifts. I highly recommend Developing Multiple Talents as a resource for anyone who wants to understand the psychology behind our creative drive.”
Cynthia Morris, Writing and creativity coach
Original Impulse


Lisa Riley-comp“In my practice working with gifted and talented individuals, I have consistently encountered characteristics, psychological processes and temperaments that commonly overlap. Other books have focused on these aspects individually, but Douglas Eby does an extraordinary job of integrating these complex and dimensional characteristics into a complete overview of the multitalented personality. Developing Multiple Talents is pivotal in providing a thorough understanding and a more comprehensive portrait of the gifted, creative and talented individual. Eby’s extensive collection of previous research, writings and interviews will reshape how we perceive and view the artist, actor or inventor.”
Lisa A. Riley, MA, LMFT, Creativity coach, Family Therapist


Cheryl Arutt“This book is fascinating – a must-read it if you’re interested in creativity, giftedness, high sensitivity, or high achievement!”
Dr. Cheryl Arutt – on her Facebook page

Cheryl Arutt, Psy.D. is a licensed clinical psychologist, specializing in creative artist issues, trauma recovery, and fertility. She is a forensic and media consultant, and a frequent psychological expert on CNN, HLN, truTV and Fox News.

Hear podcast interview with her and see links to her guest articles on TalentDevelop:
Psychologist Cheryl Arutt on Creative Artist Issues


> Book review by Patrick Ross – on his blog The Artist’s Road:

“..Developing Multiple Talents is a comprehensive overview of many perspectives on creativity, from scientists to creatives themselves… Anyone who has spent much time researching creativity online has likely come across Eby’s writings. He’s the man behind a site filled with information and profiles of creatives, Talent Development Resources, and he shares resources on Twitter and Facebook. I’ve been reading Eby’s works for some time now, as my fascination with creativity is surpassed perhaps only by him, and a few others we both like to cite, including Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and Eric Maisel…There is plenty in his book that one could make use of in living a more creative life.”

Continued in his post: Teaching by Personal Example.


From the Psychology Today blog Finding the Next Einstein – Why smart is relative, by Jonathan Wai, PhD – in his post
Steve Jobs Leveraged His Intelligence to More Effectively Create :

“After all, Steve Jobs clearly had exceptional intelligence, but maybe it was his creative training in the arts that allowed him to leverage that intelligence in a way that was clearly unique and personal and gave him that special edge. Perhaps this is nicely captured in the popular writer Douglas Eby’s recent book Developing Multiple Talents: The Personal Side of Creative Expression.”

Jonathan Wai, Ph.D., is a psychologist, writer, and research scientist at Duke University.


> Book Review by Edith Johnston, PhD:

“Douglas Eby shares his story, others’ stories, and a vast amount of information on what it means to be multi-talented. He describes the delights and the challenges. He leads us to options for managing the varied characteristics and integrating all aspects of being multi-talented. In his usual style Douglas organizes a vast amount of information and experiences for us to explore straight through or with as many side trails as we desire. His personal explorations have provided an important resource for all who are searching to understand and integrate their high abilities and multiple talents.”

Edith Johnston, PhD, is a Counselor and Coach for Mult-talented individuals in expressing their potential. The above quotes are from her book review on her site “How To” Life Consultants.


Thanks to all the above for their thoughtful, enthusiastic reviews.

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Why this book?

The dynamic complexity of creative abilities in multitalented people is a huge field of study. My appreciation for the creative work of many actors and countless other performers, writers, musicians, visual artists and other creators has led me into researching and writing on aspects of creativity and high ability for more than twenty years, concentrating on the personal and psychological sides of creators.

Hopefully you find material in this book to be of interest and value in pointing toward areas to more deeply explore, and in helping you more fully realize your own multiple abilities.

My series of websites, columns and articles – and now this book – have grown out of my graduate studies in psychology, and personal research to better understand the dynamics of creative expression, as well as my own social, emotional, personal development and achievement challenges, and to publish material that might help other people as well.

The kinds of topics I have been exploring in my research, plus interviews with writers, painters, actors, directors and other artists, as well as with psychologists and creativity coaches, come up in questions I have asked myself, and noted in the comments of many creative people – such as these:

Why did I feel and think so differently from mainstream culture?

Why haven’t I ever “settled down” into a traditional career?

Why am I so sensitive to outer sensations and my own inner world?

Why am I often so self-critical?

What makes me, and so many other people, vulnerable to dark moods like depression and anxiety?

How can I increase my satisfaction, emotional reward, and sense of meaning from what I am doing with my life?

What strategies can help enhance creative expression?


Book Contents / sections

contents list-500-comp

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> Note: The Kindle, Nook and paperback versions are text-only.

Kindle & Paperback from

Paperback – 218 pages
Developing Multiple Talents

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Kindle Edition
Developing Multiple Talents

[Read it on a Kindle or Kindle Fire.]



Developing Multiple Talents Paperback and ebook



About me – from my Author Page

Douglas Eby, M.A./Psychology, is a writer, researcher and online publisher on the psychology of creative expression and personal growth, and author of the Talent Development Resources series of sites

Two of my related Facebook pages:

Developing Multiple Talents

The Creative Mind

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Notes on making the Kindle cover image:

I created the abstract color graphic online at Silk – Interactive Generative Art.

The resulting image – with a black background – was color inverted to white bg, and re-sized, using GraphicConverter.

That image was then uploaded to Pic Monkey – with titles added, plus a drop-shadow frame.

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