Creative Thinkering – Book Review

A book about creativity should not only inspire you to create and explore new ideas, it should also provide you with practical tips. Books such as “Thinkertoys” and “Cracking Creativity” by Michael Michalko are just that type of books. You return rather than read straight through to these books. Michalko’s new book “Creative Thinkering” is also packed with ideas and through step-by-step exercises and real-world examples it challenges your thinking.

Michalko believes that by using your subconscious mind, you can expand your imagination. Thinking paradoxically and learning to synthesize similar subjects, may help you to experience light-bulb moments.

The book examines the nature of creativity and it helps to break down the myth that you are born with a certain creative abilities. Michalko argues that all children are born with a natural curiosity and they love to explore new possibilities. By engaging in the world, children learn to categorise and classify object into categories, this means that it is more difficult to get new ideas. This natural creativity is limited by the prejudices of logic and the structure of accepted categories and concepts.

The reason why it is difficult to get new ideas is that we tend to rely on our perceptions and we jump to conclusions. Michalko’s book is thought-provoking and the examples will help you gain insight into your own assumptions. Unlocking the brain and changing pattern helps the ideas to start flowing.
Consider the following example from the mind-bendingly challenging and informative book.
How do you spell silk?
Now say silk five times.
What do cows drink?
Using examples like the one above, Michalko explores the role pattern making has for our thinking. Our daily life would be confusing and sometimes impossible if we did not create patterns. Yet, our skill to make patterns also changes and influences our thinking. Chances are that repeating the word silk lured you into saying that cows drink milk instead of water. Awareness of how our pattern-making habits influence us is important for our thinking and the way we search for new possibilities.

In the book, Michalko examines the idea with conceptual blending, where unrelated concepts subconsciously or consciously are blended in your mind and this may lead to new and fresh insights. A problem with this idea is that there often little ideas about how to start of the blending process.  Finding inspiration is often assumed a random process upon which you have little control. Michalko believes that creativity is a spontaneous process where you look for new relations.
However, by applying certain strategies into your daily life you can learn to see and make new connections. Walk around in your house or surrounding, look for objects, and see how they can be used to help you get new ideas or solve a problem. Change your daily routines and watch a new TV programme or read different magazine or paper. Challenging yourself is the first step to have new creative insights.


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