House of Anansi Press Imprint Logo

Let the Elephants Run

Written by David Usher

  • 256 Pages
  • 9781770898684
  • 8.5" x 6.25"
  • BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Entrepreneurship
  • SELF-HELP / Creativity



Publication Date March 07, 2015

At David Usher’s company, CloudID Creativity Labs, there is a sign on the wall that reads: “Dream big, let the elephants run!” The words are a reminder for us to hold a place in our minds for creativity, where big ideas can form and our imagination can run free. Based on his wildly popular speaking engagements, Let the Elephants Run shows us how to reignite creativity whether in the head office, the home office or the artist’s studio.

Usher believes creativity is in our DNA; it's in everyone, not just the creative class. We all start our lives as creative beings but for many that spark becomes lost over time. How do we jump-start our creative process as adults? What does it means to be a creative person? How do we follow through with our ideas and turn them into tangible outcomes?

Usher empowers readers to achieve more “aha” moments through two cornerstone principles of creativity: freedom and structure. Using a mix of personal anecdotes and professional examples from the worlds of industry, technology, science, music and art, he shows us that creativity is not magic; it is a learnable skill that any person or business can master. The dynamic full-colour design includes photographs, artwork and illustrations, as well as action pages to help readers start cultivating the habit of documenting their ideas for future execution.

Let the Elephants Run is an essential guidebook to reconnecting with our imaginations and nurturing our creativity in accessible and productive ways.


David Usher
David Usher is a musician, entrepreneur and keynote speaker. He has sold more than 1.4 million albums and toured all over the world. When Usher is not making music, he is equally passionate about using technology to build new and interesting businesses. His company, CloudID Creativity Labs works on vast range of innovative projects, from building web platforms to creative consulting for companies like Cirque du Soleil and Deloitte. Usher sits on the advisory board of McGill University’s Institute for the Public Life of Art and Ideas and is the founding director of Amnesty International’s Artists for Amnesty. Find him on Twitter @davidusher.


"Go ahead, write in this book. I dare you. David’s writing will change you, possibly forever." Seth Godin author of The Icarus Deception

"This book is an enthralling exploration of the creative process that will both fascinate and challenge you. David’s insightful take on how to both unleash and control one's own creativity is particularly relevant in today’s world, where new ideas and innovation are becoming a key part of our everyday lives." Justin Trudeau, politician

"Let the Elephants Run is a wonderful exercise into the questions we were always so afraid to ask. It’s a look inside our own patterns as human beings, and teaches us how to bring out the best in our creativity and ourselves." Béatrice Martin, musician (Coeur de pirate)

"Let the Elephants Run is a wake-up call for sleeping synapses, and an ode to our natural curiosity and imagination. The reader is invited to dare, to reflect, and to play." Gillian Ferrabee, Director of Cirque Du Soleil Creative Lab

"David Usher has written a passionate, eclectic, rule-breaking and practical guidebook to finding your creative side. Unlike most such books, however, this isn't merely arm-waving: it is data-driven and grounded in David's many years of success as an artist and entrepreneur. I loved it." Dr. Paul Kedrosky, venture capitalist and contributing editor to Bloomberg

"This is not the kind of book you want to borrow, but buy and own, write and color inside of and return to throughout your artistic journey. It will provide an ephemeral burst of inspiration to even the most closed of minds, and for those that are truly receptive to it, the contents of this book could do anything from blast away writer’s block to radically shift your perception, and ultimately, your life." The Clarion

"The entire book is also visually stunning, with beautifully chosen photos, typography, and graphics throughout…Usher offers inspiration and a clear map to creativity." Publishers Weekly

"There’s a real artistic quality to [the book], but it’s also very direct and easily digestible" City Life Magazine

"an imaginative but practical guidebook to finding and nurturing our creativity… I couldn’t put it down." Waterloo Chronicle

"For both the young or the inexperienced entrepreneur, Usher offers some valuable insights." BetaKit

"Usher’s credibility comes built-in: he has established parallel careers as a keynote speaker and creative consultant, but it’s as an artist…that he commands the most attention, and the book is at its strongest when he draws directly on that experience." Montreal Gazette

"…reads like a TED talk; it has that level of focus and intensity but it also has that universality to it…It’s one of those books that it doesn't matter who you are, it doesn't matter what form your creativity takes, it will be valuable to you." CBC All Points West

"there’s sure to be something fresh and inspiring waiting in the pages for you to discover" Apartment 613