Customer Reviews: A Kick in the Seat of the Pants: Using Your Explorer, Artist, Judge, and Warrior to Be More Creative
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This book should be read in combination with A Whack on the Side of the Head...preferably after you have read that book. At least that's my suggestion. In Kick, first published in 1986, von Oech introduces four stereotypes:
The Explorer
The Artist
The Judge
The Warrior
Von Oech devotes a separate chapter to each. Also, he assigns to each quite different values, priorities, mind sets, predispositions, and parameters relative to creative thinking. This is a brilliant conceit. In varying proportions, each of us is (simultaneously) an Explorer, an Artist, a Judge, and a Warrior. Each plays an important role in the creative process. Von Oech explains how and why.
As in A Whack on the Side of the Head, he provides various exercises in combination with a rigorous analysis of each of the four stereotypes. As is true of Whack, Kick will be immensely valuable to executives in any organization which needs a culture within which to generate and then nourish fresh ideas and new perspectives. The same is true of all self-employed people (especially independent consultants) whose customers or clients expect them to address the same need. Finally, I think that school, college, and university classroom teachers can devise all manner of appropriate applications of von Oech's ideas.
I strongly suggest that you buy both Whack and Kick. Also Roger von Oech's Creative Whack Pack. Read and then re-read all three. Absorb and digest the material. Let the ideas percolate for a while. (The material in all three is remarkably cohesive...and intellectually combustible.) Then try this experiment the next time you and others in your organization get together to brainstorm. Whoever chairs the discussion is designated the Judge. Depending on the size of the group, designate one or two others to be (respectively) the Explorer, the Artist, and the Warrior. Require everyone to think and comment ONLY within the strict limits of each assigned role. After about 15-20 minutes of brainstorming, re-assign all roles. Same requirement: each must think and comment only within the strict limits of her or his role. No exceptions.(Once you read Kick, you'll know exactly what I am suggesting...also why.) I'll bet you a beverage of your choice that the results will surprise and delight everyone involved. Also, and more to the point, it will prove to be the most productive brainstorm session that anyone in the group had as yet participated in. Just think (creatively, of course) how much more will be accomplished at the next session!
In addition to von Oech's A Whack on the Side of the Head, there are other excellent books also worthy of your consideration. They include those written by Edward de Bono, Guy Claxton, Michael Michalko, and Joey Reiman.
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on April 15, 2005
I was a huge fan of von Oech's "A Whack in the Side of the Head." That is why I was bitterly disappointed by "A Kick in the Seat of the Pants." It is ironic that a book about creativity is almost a carbon copy of its predecessor. "A Kick.." has at least 50 percent of the text and cartoons from "A Whack." I feel robbed, as this book is little more than a revised edition of "A Whack."

If you already read "A Whack" and feel like you are experiencing deja vu while reading "A Kick", you are not alone. This book is a rip-off. How would you like to pay to see "The Empire Strikes Back," only to find that half of the movie is footage from "Star Wars?'" Shame on von Oech and the publisher for tricking me, and shame on me for being duped. Anyone who enjoyed this book either failed to read "A Whack on the Side of the Head" or has extremely short term memory.
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on July 24, 1998
"Whack" is just plain good. With an entertaining manner, the author gives the nuts-and-bolts of being creative. A fast reader will get through it in an hour or so, but everyone should slow down and think about what Von Oech says.
I personally credit this book with showing me how to excercise my creativity, which had always yielded uneven results before. Even more, I've taught the techniques and know they can help everyone from gifted artists to techno-geeks to MBAs.
Hooray for Roger Von Oech!
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on May 22, 2001
"Creativity...what's it good for and how to get it for yourself" might be a less confrontational title, but maybe not as "creative. Von Oech doe an amazing job in presenting a 4 part strategy for becoming more creative. His book is full of illuminating excercizes and I've found it to be a great text for a college class which I teach: "Stimulating Creative Behavior" class.
The only criticism I might have is that he hasn't included a section on feedback in the creative process. In addition to his aptly titled four creative roles of "Explorer," "Artist", "Judge," and "Warrior,"I have added the "the Returns Manager." Would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in getting a creative edge in any field. The chapters are full of ways to bring out the natural creativity within everyone. You can't go wrong with this book.
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on May 29, 2006
I am a raving fan of Roger von Oech's creative work as embodied in his books & card decks, namely:


- A Whack on the Side of the Head;
- A Kick in the Seat of the Pants;
- Expect the Unexpected;

Card Decks:

- Creative Whack Pack;
- Innovative Whack Pack;
- Ancient Whacks of Heraclitus;

I have used all his creativity stuff ever since I started my own strategy consulting (& book store) business in late 1991.

From my personal & professional experience, I would like to say that the entire collection of Roger von Oech's creative work has been designed to serve three strategic purposes:

- understanding - & removing - your mental blocks;
- breaking your habitual patterns;
- shifting your focus & changing your paradigms;

As a matter of fact, once you appreciate & commit to these three strategic purposes in your life, you will soon realise that there is nothing in this world to stop you from getting rid of old ideas & getting new & fresh ideas.

Allow me to quote Edward de Bono: "...the mind is habitually uncreative - it is usually preoccupied with organising masses of incoming data into convenient patterns. Once this pattern is established, then the mind tends to rely upon that pattern in future situations, in order to facilitate decision making & action in an otherwise complex world..." (The Use of Lateral Thinking).

Breaking old habitual patterns is definitely the first & foremost priority in your journey to creativity!

Once your shift your focus, you begin to change your paradigms or the way you look at the world around you. Always remember this: Your brain follows the direction of your dominant thought. Once you focus on something, that thing becomes the foreground. Everything else around it will fall into the background. Most opportunties are unfortunately hidden in the background. The moment you begin to shift your focus, you are pushing the 'foreground' into the 'background', & pulling the 'background' into the 'foreground'. Get it?

'A Whack on the Side of the Head' will help you to break through your mental blocks. They will open up your mind for innovation. This book is filled with provocative puzzles, exercises, stories & helpful tips.

'A Kick in the Seat of the Pants' takes you on a guided tour through the four stereotype roles of the creative process - Explorer, Artist, Judge & Warrior. Understanding - & applying - these roles will fire up your personal & professional creativity. Tactically, they will change your mental focus as you change to play each of the four roles. I would like to add one more role from what I have learned from the Japanese creativity experts: Antique Dealer. This singular role will allow you to combine all the four roles into one.

'Expect the Unexpected' uses thirty of Heraclitus' (the world's first creativity master) epigrams as creative springboards. It has intriguing questions designed to topple old habits of thought & fire up your imagination.

All the three card decks are basically extensions of the three books, to allow convenient usage during brainstorming sessions.

From my strategy consulting experience, these three card desks have proven to be inexhaustible sources of inspirations.

In fact, the 'Innovative Whack Pack' combines the creative power of both the 'Creative Whacks' & 'Ancient Whacks of Heraclitus'.

I strongly urge readers to seriously consider having the entire collection of Roger von Oech's creative work added to your Creativity & Innovation Library, & all the three card decks placed permanently on your desk top at all times.
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on July 7, 2013
I read through this book completely. Not just because I wanted to learn something, but because it read like it was written just for me. Plain and simple. I gave away the other books I had on this topic. I also highlighted many areas in the book so I could find that information easily, and I do look at that information often.
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on June 13, 2006
I came to this precious book in the 3M Library in Caracas while I was working there, the funny thing is that there was the most un-creative work enviroment I ever seen in my life!!

This book was the kick-off that got me to exercice my creative gears.. the clasification of subject themes by hardware/ software proved to be invaluable in my later marketing career.

I would recommended to all, specially those who think they are as creative as the need to be.
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on April 19, 2013
I loved A Whack on the Side of the Head better than this one. It may be because of the first book bringing new concepts and ideas and this last one functioning just as a reminder for what we've learned on the first one.
Anyways, it's fun to read and it actually does function as a reminder on how to keep our creativity flowing.
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on May 27, 2012
I have read this book almost 20 years ago and to this day still apply, teach and share it's gems.

~ Fresh! (Still to this day, current, an "un-boxed" way of thinking, easy to read, clear, to the point, solid and insightful to name a few. )
~ Complementary! (far from being the same as "A Whack On The Side Of The Head" the 4 creative role adds a lot to the equation.)
~ Informative! (Plenty of examples from all walks of life, young and old, past and present, etc, etc)
~ Practical! (Lots of creative, fun and easy thinking exercises.)
~ Encouraging! (The author carefully helps out to empower throughout the process in the many exercises presented)
~ Dynamic! (Fun n easy to read, start from anywhere in the book to easily 'see' and apply any creative roles to one's project at hand)
~ Clear and Insightful! (The four creative roles helps a lot to see where one maybe often stuck / 'spinning around' and how to move out of it and best of all how to recreate the balance between those thinking modes so as really take off and be the creative genius if you want to)
~ Freeing! (It does not bind one to any specific ideas or way of thinking, rather, the added and offered knowledge opens up the thinking process.)
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on July 15, 2013
I first read this book about twenty years ago. I kept the book. I keep going back to it. I use some of the exercises in the college classes that I teach. I read his other book "Whack..." and I like this one better. I think because I read this one first. Use it as a career motivator. Use it to be a better thinker. Time spent with this book will be time well-spent.
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