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Serious Creativity: Using the Power of Lateral Thinking to Create New Ideas Paperback – May, 1993

4.6 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

De Bono's term "lateral thinking" (the title of a previous book) refers to problem-solving by apparently illogical methods. In a fertile user's manual to the mind, de Bono, a prolific author and business consultant, tackles creative thought as a skill that can be taught, a systematic process of breaking free of old concepts and finding alternatives. In an informal, discursive style, he presents an arsenal of techniques for cultivating ideas and harvesting the usable onesto avoid mixed metaphor; also, harvest is late stage of agricultural process, so should come after 'nurture' or 'cultivation' . Rooted in his theory that creativity flows out of the way human perception works as a self-organizing information system, these techniques include random word generation, multiple focuses, "provocations" that provide a novel framework through which to look at things, and the "six hats method" encouraging cooperative exploration instead of adversarial thinking. His insights seem broadly applicable to business, education, law and other fields.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Harperbusiness (May 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0887306357
  • ISBN-13: 978-0887306358
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.2 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #504,868 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on December 5, 1999
Format: Paperback
By now I think I have read about fifteen of De Bono's books and this is certainly the best. Many of the others seem to be mostly regurgitations of the the same old stuff. Does he get paid by the word? He claims to have written about 25 books, but I think he has to a great extent written one book over and over again. And he seems so pompous and arrogant. How can someone with such arrogance be creative? He never quotes others (perhaps to him there are no others) or cites other works on creativity, even in cases where his ideas were clearly not first his. This is an excellent book, but by an ego-centric author and that unfortunately colors all his writing.
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Format: Paperback
I read the review written by someone from New York. I was surprised that he or she had the same feelings about the book as I had. This is a shocking book. On the one hand, it is excellent and teaches people a lot about how to think about a problem. On the other hand, the author is so self-conceited that sometimes I asked myself: if he is so creative, why didn't he invent ANYTHING apart from his own way of making money?
The funny thing is, that I still recommend this book!
Peter Fabri, Budapest, Hungary
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Format: Paperback
I recently attended an Optimal Thinking for Leaders seminar by Dr. Rosalene Glickman who referred to Dr. De Bono as the world authority on creativity. She recommended to the audience of 500 to read this book and especially to take note of the "Small Map" and the "Big Map". Well, I have to say De Bono is a brilliant author, and I finally understand what creativity means and how to apply it most effectively during conflicts and other situations. I highly recommend this book.
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Format: Paperback
To my mind, Edward de Bono is one of the grand masters of creative thinking. In this book, he covers the how and why of creative thinking through the framework of lateral thinking, which is his major contribution to this field. De Bono explains why the brain is not geared to be creative; rather it is geared to be conservative, as it is a pattern-seeking machine whose main objective is the survival of the person within whom this brain resides. Patterns help us learn quickly and adapt; they keep us from having to learn the same thing repeatedly; they help us identify danger. But patterns also become ruts and as a result we end up doing the same thing over and over, or building from the same base. To be creative you need to break from those patterns, and the best way to do that is through lateral thinking. Analysis, de Bono claims, will not help us create because analysis simply looks at what is, not what could be. The mind needs to be jarred, in some sense, out of the old patterns to see things anew. De Bono offers his lateral thinking techniques for this: provocations, concepts fans, and escapes are some of the main techniques de Bono teaches. For example, provocations may be created via the use of a random word, which then generates associations that may result in useful ideas, or a provocation may be created by reversing a relationship.

The other major message which de Bono delivers is that creativity is not just for the gifted, but for anyone who is willing to apply the structured techniques he teaches; thus, creativity is a skill like any other skill. Also, de Bono stresses that being creative is not just a matter of loosening inhibitions and getting wild and crazy, which is what some creativity gurus encourage via brainstorming. I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to learn the skills of creative thinking.
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In my estimation, Edward de Bono is the world authority on creativity. I have read most of his books, and seen him speak at the International Conferences on Thinking. This book will not disappoint you. I was especialy impressed with his explanations of the creative pause, focus, and how to come up with alternatives. His sensitizing techniques are unique and a must read for anyone who wants to optimize their creativity.
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In Serious Creativity, de Bono continues the line of thought previously exhibited in The Use of Lateral Thinking and The Mechanism of Mind. However, Serious Creativity is a more elaborated study of lateral thinking in its broadest and most practical dimensions.

The book consists of three major parts. In Part One, de Bono writes about the need for creative thinking and shows its theoretical and practical applications. The author leaves no doubt that his approach is not destined for artists and creators, but primarily for business people. Thus, not artistic creativity or inspirational creativity is the main field of application of de Bono’s approach to creativity, but creativity used for developing new and profitable ideas for marketing products and for succeeding in the business world. Accordingly, the style and the language of the book are ideally suited for entrepreneurs and executives, and it provides what the author calls take-away value. Interestingly, and unlike the two predecessors, lateral thinking is now only one element among others within the ten sub-chapters that throw different lights on the important question for every innovative company: how can we find and develop new and successful ideas?

Part Two is a detailed and highly elaborated analysis of the use of lateral thinking in the brainstorming process. The quality and exclusiveness of the material presented here is such that it by far outreaches the competence of a creativity manager or innovation department; but on the other hand, corporate leaders or executive committees will seldom have the time and tranquil setting needed to digest the fantastic ideas and creative tools presented in this book, and to make the utmost profit out of it.
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