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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.
The Right Answer
That's Not Logical
Follow the Rules
Play Is Frivolous
That's Not My Area
Don't Be Foolish
To Err Is Wrong
I'm Not Creative
How does each limit (if not preclude) creative thinking? How can each be "unlocked"? To what extent are these barriers interdependent? Von Oech devotes a separate chapter to each of the ten, answering these and other questions while providing various exercises in support of his explanations.
Whack will be immensely valuable to executives in any organization which needs a culture within which to generate and then nourish fresh ideas and new perspectives. The same is true of all self-employed people (especially independent consultants) whose customers or clients expect them to address the same need. Finally, I think that school, college, and university classroom teachers can devise all manner of appropriate applications of von Oech's ideas. When you listen to Richard Feyman's lectures on physics (now available on audio cassettes), you suspect that he has read all of von Oech's books. He probably didn't. Nonetheless, he and von Oech are kindred spirits.
In addition to von Oech's A Kick in the Seat of the Pants, there are other excellent books also worthy of your consideration. They include those written by Edward de Bono, Guy Claxton, Michael Michalko, and Joey Reiman.
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.
Roger really shows how a person can be worn down to where they don't think creatively at all as their mind is locked up in a number of different ways. This book helps to unlock those mental locks.