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Thinkertoys: A Handbook of Business Creativity Paper edition Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0898154085
ISBN-10: 0898154081
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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Shows you how to expand your imagination.” --Newsweek
 
“A special find. Period.” --Executive Edge
 
“A must-have book in any business setting.” --Women in Business

About the Author

Michael Michalko is one of the most highly acclaimed creativity experts in the world. As an officer in the U.S. Army, he organized a team of NATO intelligence specialists and international academics in Frankfurt, Germany, to research, collect, and categorize all known inventive-thinking methods. His team applied these methods to various NATO military, political, and economic problems and produced a variety of breakthrough ideas and creative solutions to new and old problems. After leaving military service, he was contracted by the CIA to facilitate think tanks using his creative-thinking techniques. He specializes in providing creativity workshops, seminars, and think tanks for clients who range from individuals to Fortune 500 companies.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Ten Speed Press; Paper edition edition (November 4, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0898154081
  • ISBN-13: 978-0898154085
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 7.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #899,042 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J. Reich on June 24, 2003
Format: Paperback
Cracking Creativity was the first book I read, and reviewed from Michael Michalko, and what a book! Thinkertoys is Michael's first book and my second read. I also own Thinkpack, a creative card deck. All spectacular!
In general, I would say that Thinkertoys is similar to Cracking Creativity, but Thinkertoys offers varied and many different creative techniques, "business creativity for the 90's." Michael explores artists, scientists, and numerous other creative thinkers to which seems the basis of his work. It's amazing the amount of material that was put into this book. Numerous quotes by Sun Tzu, there are also numerous diagrams and puzzles throughout this book. These mindbenders always seem to be related to the chapter, or the discussion at the time. These drawings, puzzles, and brainteasers really convey the message of what this whole book is about. That is what I like about this book is because it shows you, and you have to figure some things out.
The book is set up into 4 different parts. Part One: Linear Thinkertoys, Part Two: Intuitive Thinkertoys, Part three: Group Thinkertoys, Part Four: Endtoys. And in these areas there are numerous techniques, storylines, brainteasers, and flaming hot ideas. It's not hard to try most of the techniques. Most of them merely require a pencil, a piece of paper, a problem or an idea. Michael gives a "Blueprint" (i.e. summary) of every major technique that he covers in the chapters.
I have read other creativity books but Thinkertoys is very exceptional because it seems to me to be more proactive, I see the techniques and I immediately want to try them for myself. Thinkertoys is not just some dry language with endless paragraphs of explanation, as with some creativity books I have read. None of these other books will be mentioned here.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I coach an innovation workshop and provide each participant a copy of this book. The chapter on SCAMPER is worth the price alone. You will find each tool well explained with examples. The "Ideabox" is one of the best tools you can use which also has a section with good examples. The author's second book Cracking Creativity repeats most of the tools with less examples and more theory. I highly recommend this book as a reference for innovation tools.
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Format: Paperback
As a learning solutions designer and trainer and as a targeted innovation facilitator, I have found this book of immense value for almost a decade. It provides step-by-step instructions for linear, lateral, and more intuitive thinking techniques--the closest thing to a step-by-step no-fail cookbook approach. The techniques are even organized (transparent to the non-professional user) to correspond with the KAI style-of-creativity scale. In other words, if you are left-brained OR if creativity means "make the thing BETTER", you will like the techniques at the front of the book. The more naturally "right-brained" you are (i.e. Improve = make it DIFFERENT), the farther toward the back of the book you might want to go. There are also great business examples in this book--they illustrate applied creativity to create value in business...no taint of tutus and crayons and "far out" ideas here...the stuff that alienates some business folk from valuing the relevance of creativity in the workplace.
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Format: Paperback
I picked up a copy of Thinkertoys over a year ago; since then, I've recommended it to many people. The exercises contained within the book are easy to follow, and often make believers out of those who consider themselves 'not the creative type.' I used the 'circle of opportunity' exercise when brainstorming with coworkers in my office...interestingly enough, the coworker who was most resistant to doing the exercise (she considers herself a very analytical, logical sort of thinker) came up with the best idea.
As a marketing/public relations consultant, Thinkertoys sits on my bookshelf right next to my thesaurus. It is an invaluable, easy to understand and enlightening tool.
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Format: Paperback
It's rare to find a truly practical book, full of exercises to stimulate creative thinking and problem solving. Having used this book to lead small groups in problem-solving, and brainstorm techniques, I can say with confidence the exercises are intriguing, fun and effective. A great book.
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Format: Paperback
A hundred or so ways to some up with more, and thus better, ideas. The creative methods detailed in this book are new and excellent tools for any business or creative person. Michael goes through ways to change your view of a problem, dozens of idea generating methods, sorting and weeding techniques, and group and individual methods. The number and quality of surprising, startling, practical, usable, and results-generating ideas was a shock. And despite the 335 pages, it is not over written, as many large books are. This is a tight, easy reading, tool chest for innovation. And this collection of "Thinkertoys" will be part of your intellectual and problem-solving arsenal for years. As long as there are problems to solve, fun to have, and profits to make (through customers to serve) this book will be a heavenly gift and asset to anyone who reads and uses it
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