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Thinkertoys: A Handbook of Creative-Thinking Techniques

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  • Posted June 26, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    This book breaks down any road blocks to thinking

    Do you need any new ideas for practical designs? How about when something is wrong with your business and you cannot put your finger on it? Did you ever need to brainstorm but not have anyone else around? Have you ever been stuck with writer's block and for the life of you could not get back to work? In other words, have you ever been stuck with any mental problem that you felt that you cannot solve? If this is the case I think you should have a look at Michael Michalko's latest book, Thinkertoys: A Handbook of Creative-Thinking Techniques.

    Thinkertoys is a great play on words - anyone who grew up in the United States playing with Tinker Toys would not have a hard time remembering the name of this book. But beyond the title, Michael Michalko has done better than a yeoman's job of cataloguing tried and true techniques and exercises that work individually and for groups. Not a left brained person you say? You don't need to be. Not a right brained person? Again, you don't need to be. These tools that Michael Michalko provides puts you in a position that the outcome will be the product of great creative thinking as long as you actually do the thinker work that goes along with the exercise. The entire book pushes the reader to think outside of his or her comfort zone when solving problems, creating ideas, etc. Some of these tools I have already been working on and implementing myself. Let me give you an example.

    In addition to my other work I recently have become a monthly columnist with a magazine where I give advice based upon my knowledge and experience. But to be a columnist is very difficult in a way because you have to remain fresh - the material much be both focused and new every issue. Many regular columnists (and bloggers) use different methods to do this. For instance, Jack Welch actually goes on Twitter and asks followers to send him interesting questions or problems. As such I turned to Michalko's book and found an exercise that really helped to generate ideas for the column. (If you want to know specifically which tool this was contact me through my website and I will give a full explanation). Because of this tool though I not only found enough ideas, but rather more than enough ideas. I have now written several columns in advance for the magazine and am pretty much finished with the entire year's work. This is the kind of result you can get from sitting down and working with Thinkertoys - I can personally attest!

    Also, Michael Michalko has a related product called Thinkpak: A Brainstorming Card Deck. I went out to my local bookstore and bought this card set. It is a great companion to Thinkertoys because each card is directly related to a principle or tool in Thinkertoys. So I carry this card deck with me now along with a list of issues I need to resolve when I travel. Sometimes I pull this book or these cards out because I have work to do and sometimes I do it because, dammit, it is just a good workout for the old noggin!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 3, 2008

    Most useful book

    If a significant portion of your life requires creativity that is attached to solving real-world problems, this book is tremendous. It offers tons of techniques with great details on how to get the ideas you need. It's a wonderful and useful read. In fact, it is, without a doubt, the most useful book I have ever read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 27, 2008

    Highly recommended

    I facilitate creative thinking workshops 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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 26, 2008

    Has changed the way I look at things

    This is a tremendous book that has changed my whole perspective toward creativity. It's a collection of well-researched and documented creative-thinking techniques that has helped me produce tons of new ideas, thoughts and insights. I bought a copy for my my supervisor at work and she bought copies for everyone in our department. We now meet for brainstorming sessions on a regular basis using the techniques from the book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 14, 2007

    Thinkertoys: A Handbook of Creative-Thinking Techniques

    This book is a must for anyone in business who is in need of fresh, limitless ways to create the ideas and creative strategies businesses need these days of uncertainty and complexity. I got my copy from my manager who gives one to all new employees.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2007

    Thinkertoys: A Handbook of Creative-Thinking Techniques

    Creative-thinking expert Michael Michalko has applied his talents to the service of the U.S. Army, the NATO military, and the CIA now, he offers the updated second edition of Thinkertoys: A Handbook of Creative-Thinking Techniques, a jam-packed wealth of brain-twisting visual and verbal puzzles and exercises designed to stimulate new ways of solving problems and looking at situations. Exercises designed to stimulate logic and reason, intuition, brainstorming skills and much more are offered in accessible and adaptable terms, for self-study or use in a larger creative thinking workshop. Sure to captivate the reader with its thinking-out-of-the-box puzzles and even more important, advice for reexamining old problems with a fresh perspective, Thinkertoys is enthusiastically recommended for anyone striving to expand their creative mindset. As Michael says 'Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 25, 2006

    Better than ever

    There are lots of good books on different aspects of creativity out in the world, but there really aren't many that you can regard as a book to buy if you really want to change the way you think to become generally more creative. One is Thinkertoys now in its second edition. One of the great things about a good creativity book is that it gets better with age, rather that dating. Creativity doesn't change - and neither do the effectiveness of good techniques. In fact in this case I'd say it has got better. It's partly because this an expanded and revised version, but also because it's more obvious that Thinkertoys really stands out from the crowd. Practically from page one, this book leads you into the fundamental challenge of creativity - tackling the assumptions we make all the time, and that's an experience you will find repeated time and time again.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 3, 2012

    Excellent Book!

    I really recommend Thinkertoys if you want to increase your creativity level. It has a lot of exercises that will help you find that idea you're looking for.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 10, 2009

    If you are into creative thinking, you need to get this book

    This book presents a lot of useful tools for thinking. This is an excellent resource for creative thinkers -- I don't know how else to describe the book.

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    Posted November 28, 2008

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