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Creativity How-To Books

 Let's start with the most basic book ever done on the creative process. Once again, simplicity is elegance. This one delivers the goods in a quick read.

A Technique for Producing Ideas - James Webb Young

This was written in the 1940s. The author was a well respected "idea man" in the advertising industry. The book came into being when someone asked him "where do you get ideas?". The answer became this book.
The idea here is to work hard on the idea, then forget it and let your subconscious go to work on it.


Roger von Oech has written a LOT on creativity and there's plenty of good info in his books. I'm going to suggest two books to get started. He has written so much on the subject that it gets overwhelming knowing where to start.

The first book is A Whack on the Side of the Head.  This one lists the things that can give you problems in getting to your creativity. Each chapter covers one of the ten problems.

The Right Answer - That's Not Logical - Follow the Rules Be - Practical - Play Is Frivolous - That's Not My Area - Avoid Ambiguity - Don't Be Foolish - To Err Is Wrong - I'm Not Creative

The second suggestion is a Kick in the Seat of the Pants. This one goes into personality types and how each type relates to their creativity.
There's a lot of going over the same stuff that's in Whack on the Side of the Head but the other info on personality types makes it worth reading.
It's always a good thing to understand where other people are "coming from".

 Language in Thought and Action - S. Hayakawa

This may seem an odd choice for creative info, but language was one of our first creations. This one will also give you an advantage in anything verbal as well as help in making you immune to things like propaganda, verbal manipulation, and a host of others.
One of my favorite books. An antidote to "spin" and many types of self destructive thinking.

And then there's Edward De Bono. The man has some great ideas and theories but he also has a huge ego. That makes some of his stuff difficult to to get started into.  That being said, he is well worth reading.

He recently published his "magnum opus" called Why so Stupid for a VERY high price. Apparently it's  a rerun of his older theories with some more up to date examples.

Most of the information that's in Why so Stupid can be found much less expensively in a couple of his earlier books, Lateral Thinking: Creativity Step by Step and De Bono's Thinking Course . 

Thinking Creatively in Turbulent Times by H.F. Didsbury is an interesting combination of how-to, theory and practical examples of creativity.  Since it came from the World Future Society it 's not a surprise that the focus is on improving our future. The best way to give you some idea of what's here is probably an abbreviated list of chapters, so here we go:

Technology & Science, Future Studies, Urban Futures, Educational Futures, The Pension Crisis, Automation's Future, Health Challenges, Space Missions, Recreational Futures, Philosophical Insights/Values, Sustainable Development

One of the major reasons I think we're here is to use our creativity to improve the human condition. Some great ideas in here for doing just that.

OK, enough of the the theory and visionary angle, let's have some fun... and some examples please.

Fast Company's Greatest Hits by Vamos and Lidsky will do that.

Yeah, it's a business book, but it's also collection of well written and interesting stories that illustrate creativity in action. Nothing like a little real world success to go with your theories.