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A Whack on the Side of the Head: How You Can Be More Creative Paperback – May 5, 2008
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'Business brilliance!' -- USA Today 'This new WHACK is even more potent.' -- Betty Edwards, author of Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain 'What a technique!' -- ABC's 20/20 'Using this product may beat consulting the I Ching.' -- Fortune 'Roger von Oech has won a loyal following around the country.' -- BusinessWeek 'Very refreshing...a book about how to get through life!' -- Richard Bolles, Author of What Color Is Your Parachute 'Roger von Oech runs alps around everyone else in the creativity consulting business.' -- San Francisco Examiner 'A wonderfully entertaining book that will enhance your creative ability. It will make a difference in your life!' -- James Adams, author of Conceptual Blockbusting
About the Author
Roger von Oech is the president of Creative Think, a California-based consulting firm that has conducted creativity seminars with such companies as American Express, Apple Computer, AT&T, CBS, IBM, NBC, and NASA. He earned his doctorate from Stanford University in a self-conceived program in the history of ideas.
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Top Customer Reviews
It's core principle of "what's your 2nd and 3rd idea" (paraphrasing) is a useful one though - think of many possible solutions instead of just going with the first one.
The writing style was a bit tedious to me too - take one theory or statement, like "people use metaphors", and then fill pages upon pages of anecdotes that support that theory ("when people are tired they say *burning out*"). Plus some name-dropping of big corporations he's taught seminars too. Felt like the signal-to-noise ratio was low - the number of useful ideas & techniques was small compared to the amount of redundant pontification on each one.
I also read "Conceptual Blockbusting", and that book has been more helpful for me - covers a wide range of possible techiques and approaches, and creative blocks to watch out for, where this one seems to focus on just a tiny subset of that book's breadth, despite a similar number of pages.
A lot of people found the book entertaining and helpful obviously - maybe the style just didn't resonate with me personally, or covered stuff I already feel like I have a handle on.
Von Oech sets 5 types of creative egos and from there he takes you through all of them giving you tips on how to reinforce that ego into your creative process and personality. At the end of the book he tells you when is best to use each creative ego and how to transition from one to another.
I found a lot of value at the end of the book when covering the second whack. Understanding where you are taking your ideas is key and knowing when you need to be in explorer, artist, judge, or warrior mode is a great way to think about it.
Don't think that I gave everything away. You actually need to read the book and do the exercises to benefit from the author's wisdom and experience - he has had a long career as a consultant to companies that want to teach their employees how to be creative. Like any self help book, the difficult part is making a change in your thinking and sustaining that change. I like the last part of the book called "A Whack on the Other Side of the Head" which addresses the fact that creativity alone is not enough - you actually need to implement your best creative ideas.
I am going to focus on one mental lock at a time, starting with the "Right Answer" Lock. The idea is that when you think you have arrived at the right answer, ask youself "What is the second right answer?" And just keep generating ideas.