Roger von Oech

Creative Think

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Thomas Clifford

Hi Roger!

That clip is awesome! Elegantly executed.

What can I look at backwards? I go through most of my day looking at the end of whatever I'm doing...calls, editing, prepping a film, etc...and seeing the outcome of that event.

Then...playing it backwards to see what has to get done to achieve that end.

Been doing it so long I never really thought too much about it until I read your post here. much we take for granted, ey?



Roger. I'm looking forward to the Updated
Whack. Will the "cards" also be updated?
However, I do have an observation. Isn't your example of "reverse living" from the book actually taken from one of George Carlin's bits? Instead of finishing off with a "gleam," Carlin says we finish off as an "orgasm." ( I think it's also printed in
one of his books.)
You don't give Carlin credit in the blurb
on the blog. Hope you do in the book.
The Burnett spot is tremendous. We all ought to think in "reverse" when we try
to define problems. And then, "rearrange."
Thanks for the inspirations and insights
over the years.

Roger von Oech

Thomas: Thanks for the tip . . . and also for stopping by.

Jim: I had fun re-doing the Whack book. I re-did the Creative Whack Pack cards in 2003, and that's the edition currently being sold.

About "Reverse Living": I never knew who the author was. A seminar participant in the early 1980s gave me a written version of it that had no name on it. I searched around for the source but always came up empty. Since then, I've usually attributed it to an unknown comedian. But it does sound like Carlin, doesn't it. However, the new "Whack" already been printed, so maybe in future editions. Good luck to you!


What about looking at things inside out?
There are many positive aspects to that as well.

Just a thought...


P.S. That clip is very thought provoking, than you for posting it! I have seen it before and it is not something easily forgotten.

terry grant

I loved the original "Whack on the Side of the Head". I think I loaned it to someone who never returned it as it has vanished from my bookshelf. I hope they are enjoying it, or loaning it out, too. So now I have a perfect excuse for buying the new version!

Shakespeare's Fool

If the biological processes ran backwards, fewer would live to young age because the frailties of old age make us vulnerable to the natural shocks that flesh is heir to. That would be something like the high rates of infant and child mortality before industry made soap, safe water, and safe food widely available.
Also, for those who survived old age, the injuries from the frailties of age would likely last into our youth. Making our young years more often lived with disability.

Well, that's one way of looking at it.


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