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A Technique for Producing Ideas (Advertising Age Classics Library) Paperback – February 11, 2003

ISBN-13: 063-9785381914 ISBN-10: 0071410945 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Series: Advertising Age Classics Library
  • Paperback: 64 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill; 1 edition (February 11, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071410945
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071410946
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 5 x 0.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (88 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #95,806 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

A step-by-step technique for sparking breakthrough creativity in advertising--or any field

Since its publication in 1965, A Technique for Producing Ideas has helped thousands of advertising copywriters smash through internal barriers to unleash their creativity. Professionals from poets and painters to scientists and engineers have also used the techniques in this concise, powerful book to generate exciting ideas on demand, at any time, on any subject. Now let James Webb Young's unique insights help you look inside yourself to find that big, elusive idea--and once and for all lift the veil of mystery from the creative process.

"James Webb Young is in the tradition of some of our greatest thinkers when he describes the workings of the creative process. The results of many years in advertising have proved to him that the key element in communications success is the production of relevant and dramatic ideas. He not only makes this point vividly for us but shows us the road to that goal."
--William Bernbach, Former Chairman and CEO, Doyle Dane Bernbach Inc.

About the Author

James Webb Young was a driving force behind the creation of the modern advertising industry, and is one of advertising's most honored educators and practitioners.


More About the Author

James Webb Young was a driving force behind the creation of the modern advertising industry, and is one of advertising's most honored educators and practitioners.

Customer Reviews

Anyone can be creative and everyone should read this book.
G. Matthew Clark
I was expecting much more from this book but found that it contained no more than basic concepts that are common to most people and, poorly written.
Stephen P. Anderson
"A Technique for Producing Ideas" is an extraordinary book.
Carla Fair-Wright

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

54 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Amrit Tiwana on November 9, 2006
Format: Paperback
I am not an advertising professional but in the profession of scientific research. Yet this book (which was written in the 1940s for advertising people) is just as relevant to my work as it is to anyone else who is a knowledge worker. This little book is one of the simplest summaries of commonsense---and articulating common sense is this book's greatest virtue. The book lays out a five step process for generating novel and not-so-novel ideas, articulating them, and giving them a life of their own. There are no examples, no case studies, just crisply articulated common-sense that you can put to immediate use. Everything that he says is stuff that you likely already know, so this is not one of those books that talks the lofty talk about "retraining your mind" and such obscure, undoable things. The idea in this book that most resonated with me was his comment that novel ideas are simply unusual connections among things that already exist and you might already know. The book takes about an hour to read from cover to cover (and I'm not even a fast reader).

Although Mr. Bernbach probably never intended this book for consumers like me in the scientific research profession, I'd bet my money that this little gem might be just as "duh" or "aha"-evoking to people in any other knowledge-intensive line of white-collar work. The only note of caution: This book was originally written in the 1940s and the gender bias ("the creative man," "he") is pervasive throughout its 48 pages.

If you are in a profession where your "wealth" is measured in intellectual output, this is some of the best seven dollars you can invest in your education. Highly recommended for anyone whose profession requires novelty, new ideas, and creativity. Buy---don't borrow--read, reread, and dog ear this little gem!
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45 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Carla Fair-Wright on February 1, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have a small collection of books that I consider "private stock". These are books that I never lend and I read over and over. This book is a private stock favorite. James Young has created one of the best books I have ever read on the process of creative thinking. The technique is simple and it works. I have applied this technique to a variety of situations when I needed "outside the box" solutions and it has never failed me. "A Technique for Producing Ideas" is an extraordinary book. It is a book that will make you wonder about the power of the mind and the nature of consciousness itself.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Ahmad Jordan (ajordan@visdesigns.com) on July 14, 1998
Format: Paperback
Very often I notice that the execution of an ad is translated as "Creativity." James Webb Young reminds us in his small book that ideas are the soul of any good ad. This book is a critical tool for any teacher who wishes to instruct his or her students in the same principle.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 27, 2002
Format: Paperback
How to Get Ideas and other books on the subject of creative thinking are mainly just elaborations on the core thoughts laid down by James Webb Young. This is a classic read; short, pointed, and truthful. If you are in the business, you will find your hunches confirmed in simple, memorable language. The other books on the subject are very rah-rah; this book just tells it like it is. Not a self-help book, more like an instruction manual for your brain.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 22, 1997
Format: Paperback
spend 2 hours to read the book and enjoy your life-time in creative journey. james webb young defines creative into 5 processes, which is the core idea behind all things
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By TW VINE VOICE on November 25, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There are common themes among idea producing books that cover all aspects of developing the necessary state of mind to produce valuable ideas. Young covers the basics in this book but offers little else. At best this book represents an outline of the common themes, and at worst is it a 20 page book stretched into 47 pages (very large font, small book, less than 20 lines per page - likely 15-20 pages for standard sizes).

I rate this book as a two instead of a one as it does momentarily capture the essence of idea production in the following statements:

"An idea is nothing more nor less than a new combination of old elements."

"The capacity to bring old elements into new combinations depends largely on the ability to see relationships."

"The habit of the mind which leads to a search for relationships between facts becomes the highest importance of the production of ideas."

Beyond these quotes the book encompasses little else other than a three page chapter about taking action. I sincerely believe that if you understand the above quotations as well as the notion that once you have the idea, you have to actually use the idea for it to have value, then you already know everything this book has to offer.

I highly recommend much better material on the subject found in "How to Get Ideas" by Jack Foster; a book that will not disappoint you as it is laced with real world examples, applications, and exercises to produce countless ideas.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Sulin Lau on October 4, 2001
Format: Paperback
without giving too much away, the "technique" is so darn commonsensical you will no doubt whack yourself on the head at the simplicity of it all
i have tried his technique and shared it with close friends and it has become (so far) a fail proof way of striking creative oil. won us a fair amount of new business.
another plus is the book so small and concise it fits in most purses and can be read cover-to-cover during your morning latte.
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