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Disciplined Dreaming: A Proven System to Drive Breakthrough Creativity Hardcover – February 22, 2011

4.6 out of 5 stars 66 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


#4 New York Times Best Seller (Advice, How-To and Miscellaneous)
#8 New York Times Best Seller (Hardcover Business)
#2 Wall Street Journal Best Seller (Hardcover Business)
#9 Wall Street Journal Best Seller (Hardcover Nonfiction)
#9 Washington Post Best Seller (Hardcover Nonfiction)
#1 USA Today Best Seller (Money)
#10 Entertainment Weekly Best Seller (Hardcover Nonfiction)
#10 Publishers Weekly Bestseller (Hardcover Nonfiction)

“In today’s fiercely competitive global marketplace the most important resource any business has is the creative thinking of its people. In Disciplined Dreaming, Josh Linkner lays out a road map that will guide individuals, teams, and companies to higher levels of creativity. It is a journey that will lead to better ideas and breakthrough thinkingand those who take it will also have a lot of fun along the way.”
Bill Ford, executive chairman, Ford Motor Company

“The creativity gap is real and it’s getting worse. Josh Linkner challenges you to become a disruptive force for change, and I hope you will.”
—Seth Godin, author, Linchpin and Purple Cow

“Josh Linkner is a tremendous business leader who has established a successful and sustainable company, as well as a culture that nurtures employees to help them maximize their potential.”
—Hon. Jennifer M. Granholm, governor, State of Michigan

“At Zappos, one of our core values is to be adventurous, creative, and open-minded. Disciplined Dreaming can help spark your creative potential.”
—Tony Hsieh, CEO, Zappos.com and author, Delivering Happiness

“The world has changed dramatically, and we have now entered a new era of creativity. Disciplined Dreaming is a roadmap to new ideas, and helps business leaders at all levels unleash their creativity in order to reach their full potential. This important and thoughtful book is a must-read to compete in the next era of business, and life.”
—Charlene Li, founder, Altimiter Group and author, Groundswell and Open Leadership

“There’s a lot business people can learn from jazz musicians. The days of managing by musical score are gone—today, victory goes to the improviser. If you are not tinkering with your business every day, sooner or later the markets will begin to tinker with you—and it won’t be pleasant. Disciplined Dreaming helps you avoid these pitfalls and provides a systematic approach to becoming that winning improviser.”
—Keith McFarland, #1 best-selling author, The Breakthrough Company and Bounce

“It is often said there are dreamers and there are doers. Never before has someone connected the dots and clarified the path between ‘dreaming’ and ‘doing’ like Josh Linkner has in Disciplined Dreaming. This is a must-read for the innovators and creators who want to cross over to the execution side and make their dreams come to life.”
Dan Gilbert, chairman and founder, Quicken Loans, and majority owner, Cleveland Cavaliers

“Creativity fuels the growth engine that drives results. Disciplined Dreaming gives us a practical and inspirational roadmap to move us from incremental improvements to radical breakthroughs. Josh Linkner has successfully built some of the most creative companies in the world and shows us the way.”
—Jeff DeGraff, professor, Ross School of Business, University of Michigan and author, Leading Innovation and Creativity at Work

“Now all those days I spent dreaming can be put to good use. Disciplined Dreaming helps you harness your creativity. Well worth your time.”
—Keith Crain, chairman and CEO, Crain Communications

“In Disciplined Dreaming, Josh Linkner offers a guide for encouraging and protecting creativity as one of the few sustainable advantages in a relentlessly competitive environment. I would recommend it highly for the leaders and advisors to any high growth organization.”
—Victor E. Parker, managing director, Spectrum Equity Investors

From the Inside Flap

"As economies and world markets continue to change, businesses are constantly being pulled into cost cutting, automation, and risk management. Although these are important elements of business success, we can't lose sight of the driving force of prosperity, the reason that any company exists in the first place, the source of both business and human fulfillment: creativity."—From the Introduction

In Disciplined Dreaming, business innovator and jazz musician Josh Linkner shows exactly how you can create profitable new ideas, empower employees to flex their creative muscles, and tap into the power of creativity to sustain a competitive advantage over the long haul. Drawing on interviews with hundreds of successful CEOs, entrepreneurs, and artists, Linkner distills exactly how creativity can be encouraged, as well as its impact on the bottom line.

Disciplined Dreaming outlines a proven, easy-to-apply 5-step process—Ask, Prepare, Discover, Ignite, and Launch—that will help you and your team develop your creativity chops. Through illustrative stories, real-world examples, and fun yet practical exercises, Linkner shows leaders and team builders how to become immediately more effective in discovering new routes to profitable solutions.

Designed to be flexible, Disciplined Dreaming clearly demonstrates how creativity can be used for everything from innovative, game-shifting breakthroughs to incremental advances and daily improvements to business processes. With Disciplined Dreaming, even the most resistant corporate bureaucracies can cultivate creativity and become more competitive in today's shifting marketplace.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (February 22, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470922222
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470922224
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.9 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #304,869 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Dr. Cathy Goodwin TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 17, 2011
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.
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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.
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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.
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