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4.6 out of 5 stars
Disciplined Dreaming: A Proven System to Drive Breakthrough Creativity
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52 of 58 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
This book was sent to me for review. The title is particularly apt. Linkner encourages dreaming but the emphasis is on discipline. Unlike many authors, he actually shows how to integrate creativity into a corporate setting, even one that has a buttoned-up culture.

For the most part I enjoyed reading the book. I would recommend it especially as a book to give someone who either is a senior executive or who owns a business. All books on creativity face this challenge. Most organizations (deep down inside) don't value creativity; they just give it a lot of lip service. Unless you're in a position to be a change agent without losing your career, you may just get frustrated with unexplored possibilities.

The book makes a convincing argument for why we need creativity in business today and why we need to care. Hopefully this section will give readers some ammunition to make a case to their higher-ups.

Linkner is a good writer who illustrates each point with vivid examples. He gives particularly detailed explanations of creativity briefs, which will be a good way for companies to introduce these ideas in the corporate framework.

The best parts of the book were the questions he uses to encourage readers to open their minds. I particularly liked Chapter 4, which proposes a series of exercises and ends with a section on developing your creativity chops. The meat loaf story (which most of us will recognize at once) and the cosmetic color story were fun to read and made the point. We also can benefit from taking classes that bring out our creativity, such as art classes or improv acting.

I think it's important to add that you need a strong sense of your market before applying any innovation, creative or otherwise. When innovations work well and are embraced by a market the effect seems magical. Starbucks and Zipcar are great examples. However, I think it's all too easy to ignore an innovative idea and dismiss it because we're sure the market isn't ready, nobody else is doing it, and our business consultants shake their heads firmly. I for one plan to try the exercise "Do the opposite."
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
The title of this book refers to what its subtitle promises to provide: "a proven system to drive breakthrough creativity," one that requires highly-developed mental and emotional discipline. Josh Linkner introduces a methodology, a five-step process, that he calls "Disciplined Dreaming." He interviewed more than 200 people whose creativity has driven their success. What he learned is shared in this book. After making the case for creativity in the first chapter and then explaining the Disciplined Dreaming system, Linkner organizes his material within a sequence of five steps: Ask (Chapters 3&4), Prepare (5&6), Discover (7), Ignite (8&9), and then Launch (Chapter 10). He adds an Epilogue, followed by two appendices. In the first, he invalidates "six common myths that inhibit creativity"; in the second, he provides "Additional Warm-Up Exercises to Jump Star Creativity."

Back to Disciplined Dreaming. Consider the differences between (a) allowing your mind to wander aimlessly and (b) filling your mind with a wealth of information relevant to answering a question or solving a problem and then allowing it to absorb and digest the information. I call the latter "mulling" and it can either be active and aggressive or passive and patient. During the course of his narrative, Linkner explains how to

o Define a "creativity challenge" (e.g. answering an important question, solving a serious problem or taking full advantage of a major opportunity)

o Prepare (mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually, and environmentally) for the process by which to create or reveal a correct answer or effective solution

o Discover various "avenues" by which to reach that answer or solution

o Ignite forces (i.e. "juices") with various techniques to generate an abundance of creative ideas

o Launch the process by which to realize (literally, to make a reality of) each of the best ideas within a framework provided in Chapter Ten.

Those who are curious to know the nature and extent of their readiness to embark on Disciplined Dreaming process will be delighted to know that Linkner includes "Building Your Creativity Chops: The Self-Assessment" on Pages 31-38, an exercise that includes detailed explanations of what the results indicate. I also commend him on his eloquent as well as rigorous examination of immensely complicated issues associated with terms such as creativity, innovation, co-creation, integrative thinking, and inspiration. Whenever possible, he anchors information, insights, and even recommendations in a real-world context with which most readers can identify.

Readers will also appreciate what he calls "The Eight Commandments of Ideation" (Pages 164-166) as well as the aforementioned invalidation of "six common myths that inhibit creativity" and "Additional Warm-Up Exercises to Jump Star Creativity" in the two appendices. Josh Linkner brilliantly integrates what he learned from more than 200 interviews with what he has learned his own observations and (yes) disciplined dreaming. He has prepared his reader well for a journey only the reader can take. I join with him in expressing "Bon voyage!" to those who embark on it.

* * *

Note: I wish to acknowledge my debt to Oliver Wendell Holmes who inspired the title of my review. Long ago, he observed, "I would not give a fig for simplicity this side of complexity but I would give my life for simplicity on the other side of complexity."
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31 of 36 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
First let me note I tend to dislike titles that have 'Dream' in them. Disciplined Thinking would have been a better title. More mature and leadership mode.

And I agree 100% with reviewer Dr Cathy Goodwin from Seattle who wrote 'For the most part I enjoyed reading the book. I would recommend it especially as a book to give someone who either is a senior executive or who owns a business. All books on creativity face this challenge. Most organizations (deep down inside) don't value creativity; they just give it a lot of lip service. Unless you're in a position to be a change agent without losing your career, you may just get frustrated with unexplored possibilities.'

Unless you are in a position to actually put the ideas in this book in play, there is little useful information that can be used. For the individual, Write It Down, Make It Happen: Knowing What You Want And Getting It by Henriette Anne Klauser PhD is a book I would highly recommend because it helps change how you think, or how to focus and know the difference between just wanting something and knowing specifically what it is you want or need and then getting it.

Sometimes you the underling need to change how you do things in order to help effect change in others and especially in groups of people. Its why we have more followers than we have leaders.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 2, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
Sometimes it feels like there's no way to find that creative solution you need to reach your goals. This book is a great place to find ideas on how to maximize creativity and discover answers in unconventional ways. Sometimes it simply takes a change of view or a spark of imagination and you find yourself showered in new ideas. In Disciplined Dreaming Josh Linkner has created a five step method to find this creative spark and explains in detail just how to go about utilizing this important skill.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
If you and your team can become more creative and innovative, then you'll have a leg up on your competition. Josh Linkner provides and an easy and fun process that will help you.

Why I enjoyed this book:

**The easy, yet effective process of Ask, Prepare, Discover, Ignite and Launch.

**The straightforward exercises provided for each stop of the process. I especially liked his suggestions to restate the challenge and to shake things up by doing everyday things in a different order.

**The concrete examples showing how the process works. Josh provides examples from different industries, including his own company, ePrize. I especially enjoyed reading about the dead squirrel episode.

**How Josh balances the need for discipline and the need for free thinking. He suggests you start by describing your desired outcome to help you stay on track.

**Josh's analogies between creativity and jazz. I am unfamiliar with jazz, so even this was a good learning process for me. I love working my brain in new ways.

While there is nothing new or unique in this book, it is how Josh has organized the ideas that make it so powerful. Even if you only do a few of the exercises, you will benefit. We could all use more creativity in our lives, no matter what our industry.

I was inspired, challenged and energized after reading this book. I give it a very enthusiastic 5 stars and highly recommend it!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
Disciplined Dreaming is a useful business book that takes a new and more interesting approach to an important ingredient to business operation. This book stresses the importance of creativity to the success of any business and it offers a clear plan of action; walking the reader through the necessary steps from start to finish and encouraging/supporting the reader each step of the way.

Management books are often quite boring and they often rehash the usual themes such as customer service, employee retention, motivation, etc. Disciplined Dreaming, on the other hand, tackles a subject not often discussed in management circles. Most business books don't discuss creativity very frequently because a high percentage of authors and businesses do not feel it is critical to success. It isn't considered a basic need and is thus overlooked by those in the management field. Disciplined Dreaming, however, takes the opposite approach. The book and its author are convinced that creativity is not only important, it is often the missing ingredient that distinguishes the so- so companies from the truly extraordinary.

Most of the places I have worked placed very little emphasis on creative thinking and it is precisely this status quo mindset that Disciplined Dreaming says has caused so many companies to be stuck in a vacuum. A little creativity can go a long way to help a business succeed and this book points out many reasons why. First, creativity encourages employees to think outside the box. Second, it makes employees feel more important and more engaged in company processes. It often adds to company morale and is often highly satisfying. Employees feel they are part of a team and are anxious to go to work and make a difference. A newfound emphasis on creativity can have a huge impact not just on employee morale, but also on the bottom- line.

Management books are often dull and repetitive, but Disciplined Dreaming is different. It is written in a more engaging manner and is loaded with tips and tricks to get your business moving in a creative direction. Some of the ideas presented in this book could be very useful and could easily help to transform a business into a creative minefield. The book isn't just a long lecture- it includes interactive games, exercises, and other activities that are almost certain to get employees thinking about ways they can improve their company and the way it operates.

Businesses need to be aware of many things, from customer service to communication and beyond. There are, however, plenty of other important factors to running a successful company and creativity is one of them. What Disciplined Dreaming recommends will not necessarily apply to every business but most every company can benefit from at least some of the suggestions offered in this useful guide. Even a small amount of creative thinking can go a long way toward improved morale and a better working environment and Disciplined Dreaming is prepared to take your company to new heights.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 28, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Josh has created a platform that enables a business leader to more effectively create, convey and execute a successful vision in business. Many leaders are naturally good at dreaming big dreams. Few leaders are good at taking a disciplined approach to execute their dreams and to deliver results through creative and critical thinking. I found Josh's book to be an excellent resource for creating a systematic way to generate results through creativity and a focus on the execution, resulting in the all-important "buy in" from the entire organization. I recommend this book to anyone who senses a gap between his or her dreams and actual results.

While the subject of the decline of the American dynasty has been a popular one in the past several years, with many analogies to the fall of Rome, one cannot help but notice the dominance of American technological creativity over the world culture. Whether it is using Google to access information, using Facebook to connect with others around the world, using Apple to access information and entertainment, or watching American movies to be entertained, one cannot help but be astounded by the continued success of America's creative force around the globe.

Josh's book provides an important system to help others in reaching their dreams and goals, whether in business or personal life, through a disciplined approach to creativity. One leaves the book more optimistic and confident about his or her ability to bring creativity and change to one's environment. That sense of optimism and confidence is something that we can use more of, in today's world!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
If you work in an organization that could be described as “creatively bankrupt” – this book will help you jumpstart the process. Written by CEO of ePrize – this book presents a five step process to encourage creativity distilled from the author’s efforts to interview 200 business leaders, billionaires, entrepeneurs. His 5 step process … Ask – Prepare – Discover – Ignite – Launch, features several thought starters and basic tools on how to use each one in a business setting.

Throughout the book, you will likely find useful snippets of wisdom that could immediately be applied to many different situations. There are tips and tricks for creative brainstorming, guidelines such as the “Eight Commandments of Ideation” and plenty more tactics to try in each phase. While some of the examples and advice may seem a bit basic for those who work in highly creative roles or organizations already – Disciplined Dreaming remains a good reminder that adding a structure to creativity can greatly increase its impact.

This book was shortlisted for the 2011 Influential Business Book Awards - a curated list of the best business books from the past year. The finalists each year are selected from hundreds of marketing and business books released over the past twelve months.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 10, 2014
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
Josh Linkner is an incredibly creative thinker. He has an amazing ability to help company's unleash their creative talent. After reading Disciplined Dreaming I contacted Josh and engaged him to speak at two company events. Our group walked away energized with new skills that were immediately put into practice. Josh has given us very practical tools, like role storming, that we have used on numerous occasions to fire up creative approaches to business issues that we are facing. I'd rank Disciplined Dreaming as one of the top 5 business resources that I have encountered in my 30 year business career. I've pre ordered 50 copies of Josh's newest book for our team.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 24, 2014
Format: Hardcover
One of the best books I've ever read about igniting the creative spirit. Mr. Linkner truly has a handle of innovative methods of firing up a team and keeping them motivated not by fear, but by fun and achievement in a common cause. He writes in an easy, personal style that helps make the book fun to read. I'm an advertising writer and as such, must come up with creative concepts regularly. I know that I'll use many of the tips in this book to help me do so. Invaluable for leaders and managers who want to craft and maintain a fun, creative atmosphere and a place at which people will want to work. Worth many times what I paid for it.
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