Thinkertoys by Michael Michalko

Thinkertoys: A Handbook of Creative-Thinking Techniques by Michael Michalko

Thinkertoys; "click to go to Amazon"

This is an interesting book with an interesting approach and layout. Each chapter is dedicated for a specific technique. There are a number of examples for each technique.

I enjoyed a lot of the chapters, however, I found 35% of the content too hypothetical and far fetched. Of course this depends on who you are and what you do for living.

In my line of work, sales & marketing, I constantly challenge myself and my sales team. This book has provided a handful of good ideas and thoughts.

All in all, it is definitely worth the investment both in time and money. I would recommend to read at least the first couple of pages on each technique and skip the rest of the chapter if it is not of interest. I recommend to skip some rather than not read the last 25% of the book.

If you like riddles, pictures that evokes your fantasy and pin-points your limitations, there are lot of those in this book.

Here are some notes that I made during reading the book:

  • We are conditioned to be objects. We are taught to be “me,” instead of “I”. When you think of yourself as “me,” you are limited. The “me” is always limited because it is a passive object, rather than an active subject. The “me” doesn’t act; it is acted upon by outside forces.
  • Creators are joyful and positive. Creators look at “what is” and “what can be” instead of ” what is not”. Instead of excluding possibilities, creators include all possibilities, both real and imagined. They choose to interpret theiur own world and do not rely upon the interpretations of others.
  • It is impossible to be creative if you are negative.
  • By changing your perspective, you expand your possibilities until you see something that you were unable to see before.
  • The artist, after all, is not a special person; every person is a special kind of artist.
  • Work with idea quotas, quantity vs. quality
  • A problem is nothing more than an opportunity in work clothes.
  • The best ideas come from those hungry for success and those who cultivate the spirit of enterprise.
  • To squeeze a challenge and ascertain its strengths, weaknesses, and boundaries, ask who, what, where, when, why and how.
  • To go beyond the boundaries in your mind, you need to become an active thinker, to organize information into new patterns.
  • Problems are often salted with assumptions that hinder creativity.
  • Reversing challenges:
    • State you challenge
    • list your assumptions
    • Challenge your fundamental assumptions
    • Reverse each assumption
    • Substitute
    • Combine
    • Adapt something to it
    • Modify, Magnify
    • Put it to some other use
    • Eliminate something
    • Reverse or Rearrange
  • Good ideas may not be apparent because of all the noise around us.

There a more good stuff in this book. As mentioned before, if you are looking for a good book in the subject this as worth the investment in time.

With that said, this is not the one and only. You have to have other books. Keep an eye at my blogs and I will add more book reviews in the subject.

2 Responses to Thinkertoys by Michael Michalko

  1. Marlien June 10, 2011 at 23:17 #

    AFAICT you’ve covered all the bases with this awnser!

    • Shahram June 11, 2011 at 07:48 #

      Thank you for your comment. Hope to provide more content that you like in the future.

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