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Showing 1-10 of 107 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 171 reviews
on July 3, 2016
This book is great both for reference and for reading. It's extremely well-organized, so it's generally pretty easy to find a technique and information pretty quickly.

With that said, this book won't tell you everything you need to know about creativity. A lot of people want a "quick fix" or "on/off switch" for creativity; while this book will provide you with techniques that you can start using quickly, I do not believe that this book will provide an instant fix. I recommend combining this book with "The Accidental Creative" by Todd Henry, which focuses on the kinds of systems and practices you need to have in place in order to be sustainably creative.

My one complaint about this book is that at points it assumes that you already know which problem to work on. For example, if you're starting with a question like "what can we do to increase sales?" this book will give you techniques to help you with that. If you're looking for answers to a less specific question like "what new products can we develop this year?" or "which research problem should I work on?" this book isn't quite as helpful. It also focus more on business than on math, science, or technology.
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on November 14, 2015
I purchased this book on a whim in order to get something else and I am far more satisfied with this book! I love the exercises and let's face it that old quote about practice makes perfect is what this book is for. If you want to learn something then you have to do it and this book has a lot for you to experiment with. I'll be getting my Dad a copy since both he and my Mother couldn't put it down. I solve problems for a living and I was a bit stuck with how to approach a problem at work among other things that have been driving me nuts. This book, unlike others that are filled just with fluff and inspiration is very practical and useful. Imagine that! Go through it and try all of the techniques. I'm still working through a few techniques and the book is an easy read, has fun visual puzzles to work, ideas to get started, great questions to ask and more. I have several ways to solve the issue I was having and am thrilled to not have that dreadful feeling of burn-out again. C'mon you know what I'm talking about here.

Stuck on something that bugs you? There's an exercise for that with questions you can ask. The techniques are explained and he gives examples of where and how to apply them along with a history of who invented it or most utilizes it. Edison, the CIA, and more. Most of all the author encourages YOU to come up with your own unique approach. This is a fun addictive book and I've been going through it every day since I have received it and recommend it precisely because it does what it says. This book is a toy for thinking! I like Tick Tock, Idea Quota, Getting Tone, Brainbanks, Scamper, Lotus Blossom and Phoenix as useful techniques. They're all good when you get down to it. They sound weird and you'll be scratching your head but when you open the book you'll be more interested in the next idea generating technique than you were with the previous technique. If you are afraid of getting a migraine don't be! I swear you can understand all of the exercises and you will enjoy yourself. This is a fun exercise book for your brain and I bet you can get your friends and family members to join you too.

If you have a goal or want one as a reason to purchase this book then it's the opportunity to become what you study and ultimately do. He does make references as to how artists become artists and idea people become those people who come up with all those great ideas. The become what they want to be because they are relentlessly pursuing and practicing the work they are passionate about. There is no need for inspiration when you are using the techniques.

Best of luck to all who utilize the techniques in this book. Then again if you're doing something different and experimenting in order to do what you want to do you are already on your way to success. I'm enjoying myself and have a lot of fun ideas to explore because of this underrated book and I hope you all find it as fun to explore as I do. Happy experimentation! ;-D
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on April 13, 2016
I bought both Thinkertoys and Cracking Creativity. I don't recommend buying both. The basic message is " By using novel techniques to breakdown problems and analyze them, you can find creative solutions." After a few chapters, you get the idea. No need for two books on the same concept.
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on September 18, 2014
This book has the potential to change the world! Anyone and everyone would benefit from reading this book immediately!

I have been an educator for the past 12 years, working with middle school, high school, and college level students. One of my biggest frustrations is the lack of critical and creative thinking that is fostered in the schools. Although these may be the most important skill to possess in this rapidly changing world, creativity and innovation skills are not emphasized enough in our school systems (if at all). There has been so much talk recently on Carol Dweck's "Growth Mindset" and the fact that we all have the ability to improve if we are willing to put forth the effort. Still, many people believe that "creativity" is not one of the those things we can improve at. Most people believe that you are either born creative, or you are not. This is simply NOT TRUE!!!

Michael Michalko is a brilliant author and creativity guru. In this book, Thinkertoys, Michalko provides a plethora of thought provoking stories, activities, and strategies that will instantly make you more creative, open-minded, innovative, and a believer that the growth mindset also applies to this topic. This book is an absolute masterpiece..... and it is my dream that the work of Michalko will make its way into the schools more and help to inspire students to be creative and innovative. Students deserve this! In the meantime I will provide a call to action that I promise will benefit you: BUY THIS BOOK! Read every page and apply the concepts to your life and passions. I guarantee it will make you a more creative, more well-rounded, more innovative person.

I am often asked what my favorite book is, which is a question that I do not like. I do not like it because I do not have a favorite book. I have a list of favorite books. The problem is that I feel at different stages of my life, that this list changes based on what my goals and passions are. Thinkertoys, however, has always been on my list of "favorite books". To take the experience to the next level, I recommend purchasing the related ThinkPak deck to go along with it. I have this deck on me everywhere I go and have used its power many times to help solve problems and generate new ideas.

This book is an absolute gem....and I wish that everyone in the world would have the opportunity to read it (along with Michalko's other books which are also wonderful: Creative Thinkering and Cracking Creativity). Buy this book and read it. Then read it again....and again....and again. It gets better every time!
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on September 21, 2016
Really enjoyed all the creative techniques described in the book! In my innovation class we learned a lot about these techniques and they help a lot to be more creative! For anyone stuck in a challenge or problem you should read this book and try out some of the techniques listed here. One of my favorite chapters was brute think it helped me to better compare my challenges to dissimilar concepts. When you are actively trying to put two dissimilar concepts together its quite challenging but with the useful tips in this book you can really start seeing more creative ways that things can go together that you wouldn't have before. The most interesting part about this book is finding out that the human brain needs to form connections
and that we can’t concentrate on two objects without forming connections. Before long I was making connection between dissimilar concepts quickly!
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on June 15, 2011
Ever come up with an idea that just made you shiver in giddy excitement? I'm talking "hair-on-the-back-of-the-neck" type "whoa!" thrill? Give the brainstorming methods of this magnificent gem a chance and I can assure you this will be a part of your life.

I've been able to find a spattering of brainstorming methods on the internet. Heck, I even made a couple of my own. However, I was never really satisfied in that no single reference point occupied a dedicated space in my library. Nothing seemed worth it.

Let's just say that this is no longer the case. Thinkertoys is a tool that any person, creative or 'not', can use and *will* produce usable results. An honest attempt at the exercises is necessary - you can't go becoming a body-builder just by picking up a weight one time now can you? This book will take some time to go through if you take your time but it's worth the effort.

Add this to your library, tab/flag the Thinkertoy 'blueprints', and proceed to have a great innovation tool by your side at all times.

This book makes my unconscious mind shout for joy. For that, Mr. Michalko, I thank you many times over.


Recommend to anyone who is (or is not) creative, anyone looking for a metric "butt-ton" of idea generators, and anyone who would like to understand the mind a bit more.


This is one of the rare books I actually paid full (discounted) price on Amazon... and it's worth every penny.
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on March 1, 2016
I was looking for a way to be more creative in breaking down problems. ThinkerToys teaches you two things 1) What it means to be creative--this is all perspective, you must think you're creative and practice it 2) Techniques for encouraging creative thinking, eg questioning assumptions and overturning them.

I bought this in paperback and it was inconvenient to carry around; I liked it so much I bought it again for Kindle for easy reference when I need to pump the creative juices. It's really that good.

The techniques are very helpful just to exercise your creative muscle everyday.
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on December 11, 2011
If your'e a blogger or small business owner who wears every hat from marketing to sales, this book is for the creative you.

It helps you with thinking exercises that help you problem solve and stimulate your creativity in ways that you never imagined. I first borrowed this book from the library and then decided that I had to have my own copy because its like the Thesaurus for Thinking.

Problem solving techniques for the whole family. Every home should own a copy.
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on December 4, 2010
As the title hints, this is a handbook on creative thinking techniques.

The techniques described in this book can be applied to any problem small or large. They are divided into two broad categories: linear and intuitive. Linear thinkertoys make use mostly of the left side of the brain. They rely on analysis, patterns etc. These techniques include mind mappings, fractionation, reversal and matrix just to name a few. Intuitive thinkertoys make more use of the right side of the brain. They rely on intuition, imagination etc. These techniques include analogies, relaxation and imagery to name a few.

What makes this book stand out are the depth and breadth in which the abstract topic of thinking is discussed. In addition the author provides numerous concrete examples of situations in which these techniques were employed. This is an addition to the blueprint on how the technique should be applied. That being said, the guidelines leave room for interpretation which is crucial for generating new ideas. Overall a very interesting and unique read thats highly recommended for anyone looking to learn more about thinking in general and creative thinking in particular. It is highly applicable to any individual regardless of business area.

To make the most use out of this book, its advisable to read one or two sections at a time and try to apply the preached techniques to solve one's every day problems.
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on January 9, 2017
I am the creator of a mobile game called "Color Switch;" this game has gone on to be downloaded almost 140,000,000 times all over the world. I make video games full time and have traveled the world because of video games. I used Slice and Dice and SCAMPER from "Thinkertoys" to generate all my game ideas including "Color Switch." This $12 book changed my life. To change your thinking is to change your life, after all. If you apply the techniques in this book every day, you will eventually improve your thinking to the point you've reached your goals. There is no 100% guarantee, but you are improving the likelihood of this happening by applying what is in this book. I cannot say enough about this book. Anyone who gives it less than five stars just does not understand the potential power inside of this book.
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