Chaos and Nonlinear Psychology: Keys to Creativity in Mind and Life

(Oxford Univerity Press, 2022)

The pandemic, and our response to it, have shown how unpredictable, irrational, illogical, suddenly changing, and muddled human interactions can be in a time of crisis. How can we make sense of such confusing and baffling behavior?

This book reveals how chaos and nonlinear dynamics can bring new understanding to everyday topics in social sciences. It brings together chapters from leaders at the intersection of psychology and chaos and complexity theories. Conceptual and user-friendly, it is built around six themes: 1) Seeing nonlinearity, 2) Finding patterns, 3) using Simple models, 4) Intervening nonlinearly, and 6) teaching a new Worldview. It takes no specialized study-although there is more sophisticated material and optional math for those wishing it. The techie will, in addition, find concepts and diagrams to ponder.

The volume is engaging, at times startling-whether about the weather, Internet, organizations, family dynamics, health, evolution, or falling in love. It reveals how many social, personal, clinical, research, and life phenomena become understandable and can be modeled in the light of Nonlinear Dynamical Systems (NDS) theory. It even offers a broadening worldview, happening already in other sciences, toward a more dynamic, interconnected, and evolving picture, including a process-oriented appreciation of one’s own experience.

The book offers those in the field of psychology and the social sciences a stunning new perspective
on human behavior.

“The years 1985-2000 witnessed a chaotic revolution in the social sciences. Many of the leading participants in this important development are included in the volume.”

Ralph Abraham

Co-Editor , Yoshisuke Ueda

“Compared to other texts on chaos and complexity in psychology over the past 30 years, this book sits at a unique, and highly accessible, crossroads. Beyond the various branches of academic psychology, artists, physicists, psychotherapists, business consultants, and interested lay readers… each will find useful tools and insights in this book. … the material is as solid as it is accessible.”

David Pincus


“The volume comprises two parts, focusing respectively on theory and practice. The psychological constructs discussed are well-known in the discipline, but this approach to conceptualization will be entirely new to many. The ideas are challenging but important. Readers will benefit from the editors’ contextualizing framework, and deep knowledge of chaos theory and its mathematics is not necessary to grasp the applicability of nonlinear dynamics to psychology in practice.” 

B. C. Beins


Everyday Creativity and the Healthy Mind: Dynamic New Paths for Self and Society

(Palgrave Macmillan, August, 2018)

Good for us, good for our world.  Let us explore and grow!  Everyday creativity, our “originality of everyday life,” offers health, joy, presence, new visions, a fresh worldview and a view of the self-in-world.  One sees self as process, and life as profoundly interconnected, emergent, and healthy as we add our unique piece to this flow.  Included are the traditional “Four Ps of Creativity” as well as topics unusual in the creativity literature including creative relationships, beauty, nuance, spiritual development, and higher consciousness.  Nominated by the publisher for the Ralph Waldo Emerson Award (PBK Society) this book offers new perspectives while helping us change how we live and create each day. 

“Our health and wellbeing depend on the kind of innovative thinking found in abundance in this book.” 

Judith V Jordan

Director, Jean Baker Miller Institute, Wellesley College, USA

“At times confessional, intimate, joyous, funny, playful, challenging, direct, provocative, deep, and wide-ranging, this book is always engaging, run-through with erudition, and just ‘pops’ with ideas on every page.” 

Nick Wilson

Reader in Creativity, Arts & Cultural Management, King's College London, UK.

 “Dr.  Richards has given us a book that combines a scholarly examination of creativity research with encouragement to all of us who may at times unknowingly incorporate creativity into our everyday activities.”  

Antoinette Jakobi

Associate Professor of Psychiatry, University of Rochester Medical School, USA

Everyday Creativity: Coping and Thriving in the 21st Century

(Lulu, 1994/2017)

We miss it!  Our own creativity is everywhere around us, yet have often not named it nor developed it even half as much as we could.  This book can change that.  Creativity is not about only the famous artist or scientist.  Our universal creativity is in fact what keeps us humans alive, and more than that, what can make life worth living.  In whatever we do whether in arts, sciences, landscaping, homemaking, teaching, or driving a new way to work, it’s less about what we do than how we do it. Here is a vivid and healthy way of life. We too are the creation.  The book explores many issues and examples including problems with schooling, growing up “different,” finding one’s own path, breaking down barriers to deeper visions, and awareness of the world.  This is the first of four everyday creativity books.  This so-called “lost book” went missing until rediscovered and released in 2017.  It foretells many innovations in books to come, while balancing theory and research with moving and engaging stories.

“There is abundant evidence that creative problem-solving played an essential role in human evolution, especially what Ruth Richards describes as “everyday creativity.” In this provocative book, she describes ways in which her readers can combine scientific studies and their own creative potentials to face the challenges of the 21st century, and to emerge stronger, wiser, and happier.” 

Stanley Krippner, Ph.D.

Alan Watts Professor of Consciousness Studies, Saybrook University, USA

“This important book not only demystifies creativity… it also shows how to increase awareness of creativity’s many “subtle attractors”… thereby enhancing our sense of joy, personal fulfillment, and well-being.  Brilliantly weaving together research and engaging real-life examples, Everyday Creativity is an indispensable read for parents, teachers, and anyone interested in … thriving in our ever more complex -world.” 

Diane Rosen

Educator, Author, Visual artist

“…a strong and gentle dance through the heartland of creativity…. Everyday Creativity is much bigger than the title suggests.  It’s really about the connectedness and dynamics of creativity at all levels.  It links a vast knowledge of the field of creativity with personal stories that serve as parables.  It is warm and approachable.”  

Jonathan Milne

Co-Founder and Managing Director, The Learning Connexion, university level arts school in Wellington, New Zealand.

Everyday Creativity and New Views of Human Nature: Psychological, Social, and Spiritual Perspectives

(R Richards, Ed., American Psychological Assoc., 2007)

What is everyday creativity? A capacity, a strategy, a process, all of these. It is an ability that is intimately woven into our daily lives and our personalities, one that we use from hour to hour; yet it remains, for most of us, underdeveloped and, unfortunately, underacknowledged. Writes editor and leading creativity researcher Ruth Richards, “Everyday creativity is about everyone, throughout our lives, and fundamental to our very survival. It is how we find our lost child, get enough to eat, make our way in a new place and culture…With our everyday creativity, we adapt flexibly, we improvise, we try different options, whether we are raising a child, counseling a friend, fixing our home, or planning a fundraising event.”

In this provocative collection of essays, an interdisciplinary group of eminent thinkers and writers offer their thoughts on how embracing creativity—tapping into the “originality of everyday life”—can lead to improved physical and mental health, to new ways of thinking, of experiencing the world and ourselves. 

“What is everyday creativity? This book offers a great synthesis of the literature and a wealth of ideas and perspectives about everyday creativity from the leaders in the field. It is scholarly, interesting, and practical–an excellent combination. Ruth Richards continues to develop this important concept and tells us the practical benefits of everyday creativity.”

Sandra W. Russ, PhD

Distinguished University Professor, Department of Psychology, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH, USA

“This work is a tremendous leap forward in our understanding of human nature. It demonstrates that everyone is capable of discovering creativity in the immediate moment. Our senses come alive, our emotions are stirred, an inward door opens, and our consciousness is expanded. Everyday behaviors and cognitions are transformed into flashes of intuitive insight that feed the growth-oriented dimension of personality. With this volume, we cross the threshold into a new psychology.”

Eugene Taylor, PhD

Saybrook University, San Francisco, CA, Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.

“This collection assembled by Dr. Ruth Richards represents a remarkable range of ideas, characterized by sound scholarship, beautifully written prose, and surprise. The book, itself, embodies the essence of creativity in its presentation, and its breadth and thoroughness destine it to become a multidisciplinary classic.” 

Jeanne Achterberg, PhD

Professor of Psychology and Senior Editor of the Journal of Complementary and Alternative Therapy, Saybrook University, San Francisco, CA, USA

Eminent Creativity, Everyday Creativity, and Health

(M. Runco & R. Richards, Eds., Praeger, 1998)

Eminent Creativity, Everyday Creativity, and Health brings together key past and present cutting-edge papers in the hot area of creativity and mental health. Included are major papers that have attracted interest in the international press (including the New York Times, Japan’s Asahi Weekly, and New Scientist in England). Other emphases include creativity and unhappy childhoods, coping with adversity, and immune function and health. Nowhere else is all this material available in one place, together with helpful integration and synthesis. For anyone interested in creativity and health, this book offers a one-stop shopping approach.

“This book is a classic in its field. Eminent Creativity, Everyday Creativity, and Health contains an enormous amount of information presented in essay format and written by leaders in the mental health field. The editors, Mark Runco and Ruth Richards have done an excellent job in gathering these contributors and then in organizing their essays into groups to facilitate their transmission to the reader, such as “Psychological Health and Creativity” and then “Societal Health and Creativity.” The essays not only show a connection between creativity and illness but also between creativity and wellness. Richards has also written an excellent series of introductions to each section to educate and orient the reader. The book will interest the general reader who is creative or would like to be creative but it can also be used as a textbook for students and as a resource book for health professionals.”

Tobi Zausner, PhD

Faculty and Clinical Social Worker, Saybrook University and NYC, USA