Category: Book Review

A Review of Creative Thinkering from StrategyDriven


Recommended Resource – Creative Thinkering: Putting Your Imagination to Work

by Michael Michalko

About the Reference

Creative Thinkering by Michael Michalko provides readers with actionable methods to tap into and broaden their natural creativity. Aimed at those who question their imaginative abilities, Michael reveals a systematic approach to generating new ideas through the association of two or more dissimilar subjects; resulting in the generation of entirely new products, services, and methods.

Throughout Creative Thinkering, Michael provides detail rich examples of his method’s application as well as challenging the reader to develop his or her own capabilities through numerous thought experiments. These elements transform this book from one that simply provides a method into one that is a teaching manual; helping even the most rigid of thinkers expand their creative horizons.

Benefits of Using this Reference

Contributors like Creative Thinkering because of its immediately implementable methods for expanding one’s creative output. Michael clearly illustrates that anyone can be highly creative and through his plentiful thought experiments convinces even the most rigid thinkers that they too can be the source of highly original ideas. In a fast moving world that requires continuous adaptation, Creative Thinkering can help arm any professional with a crucial skill needed to remain competitive.

Contributors have long benefited from Michael’s insights on creativity. We thoroughly enjoyed his earlier book, Thinkertoys, and have applied the methods he prescribes therein to our work almost every day. If we had one criticism of Creative Thinkering it would be that Michael’s new book is not as ‘fun’as his last  – but it is by all accounts just as valuable.

Overcoming ones creative doubts is a key ingredient to taking the actions necessary to remain competitive in our highly innovative and rapidly changing world. Michael’s book provides those with such doubts a clear method for dealing with their rigidness and conceiving the truly unique; making Creative Thinkering a StrategyDriven recommended read.

Cracking Creativity book review


Cracking creativity

“Cracking Creativity: The Secrets of Creative Genius” by Michael Michalko is a roadmap for practical creativity.

Edward De Bono is the most famous author in the field of creative thinking with more than 30 books. But with one book Michalko provides the best book in the field of creative thinking. His first book, “Thinkertoys,” is the best resource for creative thinking techniques.

How do geniuses come up with ideas? What is common to the thinking style that produced both the Mona Lisa and the theory of relativity? What characterizes the thinking strategies of the Edisons, Mozarts and Picassos of history? Michalko’s new book “Cracking Creativity” tries to answer these questions.

In the first part of his book, Michalko presents the strategies of geniuses who look at problems in unconventional ways.

The first strategy is knowing how to see. Genius often comes from finding a new perspective that no one else has taken.

The second strategy is making your thought visible. The explosion of creativity in the Renaissance was intimately tied to the recording and conveying of a vast amount of knowledge in a parallel language; a language of drawings, graphs, and diagrams — as in, for instance, the renowned diagrams of da Vinci and Galileo.

In Part II, “Thinking what no one else is thinking,” Michalko presents seven creative thinking strategies that geniuses use to generate their breakthrough ideas and creative solutions.

Thinking fluently and productively is an extraordinary way to improve creativity. Geniuses like Edison used personal quotas for creative ideas. Edison’s personal quota was one minor invention every ten days and a major invention every six months. Bach, Mozart and T.S. Elliot were also productive people who used time efficiently.

Making novel combinations and connecting the unconnected are at the heart of creativity. Creativity is the ability to combine two different things in an extraordinary way. Artists and advertising gurus frequently combine ordinary things in extraordinary ways. The Coca-Cola commercial with two polar bears is one of the most well-known examples of this.

Looking at other worlds is another strategy for creative thinking. Michalko writes that Aristotle considered metaphor a sign of genius, believing that the individual who had the capacity to perceive resemblances between two separate areas of existence was a person with special gifts. Bediü Zaman Said Nursi was the leading Islamic thinker who used metaphors to explain Islamic concepts.

Finding what you are not looking for is the accidental way of thinking creatively. The history of inventions is full of accidental discoveries. Psychologist B.F. Skinner emphasized this principle of scientific methodology: when you find something interesting, drop everything else and study it. People have millions of wonderful accidents that provide insight but they don’t focus on what they experience and lose these opportunities.

The last strategy Michalko presents is awakening the collaborative spirit. The collective intelligence of a group is larger than the intelligence of an individual. In a business setting people should establish dialogue rather than fight with each other.

Cracking Creativity is full of interesting stories of geniuses, as well as practical techniques for creativity. It is a guide for generating new ideas.


Creative Thinkering by Michael Michalko – Book review



Creative Thinkering
Putting Your Imagination to Work

By: Michael Michalko
Published: September 6, 2011 Format: Paperback, 256 pages ISBN-10: 160868024X ISBN-13: 978-1608680245 Publisher: New World Library

“Creative thinking requires the ability to generate a host of associations and connections between two or more dissimilar subjects, creating new categories and concepts. We have not been taught to process information this way”, writes internationally acclaimed creativity expert Michael Michalko, in his brilliant and very hands on book Creative Thinkering: Putting Your Imagination to Work. The author describes why people always seem to arrive at the same old answers to problems, and shares fun and mind opening practices and techniques to transform anyone into a genius level creative thinker.
Michael Michalko recognizes that people are educated to think logically and in conventional ways. For the author, that educational and societal approach works against the creative thinking process completely. The result is the same ideas are brought forward over and over again. Michael Michalko offers an alternative way of thinking, approaching problems, and looking at the world. The author points out that everyone was creative at a young age, but that innate creativity was removed through the application of firm logic and the standard structure of concepts. To restore that childhood creativity, Michael Michalko provides easy to understand and apply techniques that changes the way people see the world.

Michael Michalko (photo above) understands that conceptual blending of blending two very dissimilar subjects or ideas is one of the secrets employed by creative geniuses throughout history. The author cites the example of Leonardo Da Vinci, whose combining of seemingly random items and concepts, resulted in extraordinary new ideas and ways of thinking. Michael Michalko demonstrates that the principles of creativity, employed by Da Vinci, can be utilized by anyone to create fresh ideas and solutions to problems. Through combining opposites, adding what were previously considered crazy or absurd ideas, changing your perspective on the world, and then letting the idea incubate, breakthroughs will be the result.
Michael Michalko shares his three characteristics shared by geniuses, and offers them as principles for all would be creative thinkers to embrace. The three notable genius traits are:

* Importance of intention and how to use it to develop a creative mind-set
* Changing your thinking patterns by changing the way you speak
 * How to become what you pretend to be
For me, the power of the book is how Michael Michalko demonstrates that anyone can become a creative genius and developer of new ideas. The author not only provides evidence that creativity is found in everyone, but also shares proven practices and techniques for drawing out that latent creative thinking ability. For people who mistakenly believe that they lack any sort of creativity, this book is a real eye opening experience. Not only can anyone develop the skills and habits of thought to become a genius level creator, hut the path toward that blissful state is both fun and exciting along the way.
The author brings his own proven experience and real world examples to the book, providing illustrative case studies of the principles in action. A tremendous addition to the book are the many graphics and thought experiments included in every chapter. These enhancements offer fun and challenging techniques to guide the reader toward embracing a creative world view and outlook on life. Michael Michalko also provides very extensive footnotes for each chapter to help readers further their own investigation and study of creative thinking and the creative process.
I highly recommend the creativity inspiring, treasure of a book Creative Thinkering: Putting Your Imagination to Work by Michael Michalko, to anyone in any walk of life, who is seeking to develop their inborn creative skills. This book will transform anyone into a creative thinking, and ideas generating genius level creator of ideas and solutions.