Roger von Oech

Creative Think

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Paul Maloney

I'm just getting my feet wet on creativity, but since your post refers to "inspiration" to energize the creative spirit, Ken Robinson's TED talk is what did it for me.

Jim Ley

First, I want to congratulate you on experiencing another Publishing Day!

My most inspirational creative book is, The Book of Nature, because it is the original by which all others are made possible. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word became Flesh. Let there be light: and there was light.

As a photographer, without the light, I have nothing to capture.

I have enjoyed your books that were available in the 1980s. Also, I have been inspired by Edward De Bono's books.

My favorite Photography writer is Galen Rowell. Anything he has written on the subject is thought provoking. Galen Rowell's Inner Game of Outdoor Photography is an excellent example.

When photographing a sunset remember to look in the opposite direction. There you will discover the magic. When the weather threatens, go anyway. You might be surprised by what opens up before you when the weather clears. If it does not clear, kneel down. There too, is beauty to behold.


Congratulations on another Publication, Roger! May this wisdom continue to cultivate and fertilize people's creative abilities.

Second to the Whack Book, my favorite creativity product is another one of yours, The Creative Whack Pack. Maybe it is the poet in me, but the strategies, stories and pictures are easy to remember and to share with others.

Another book to add to the list is The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron, published in 1992. This book has inspired countless individuals and groups with its stories, quotes, exercises and practical spirituality.

Jen Haertling

Thanks for your list Roger - it is really good to see what has inspired you and placed you on this path. And now I have some new titles to put on my reading list.


I have used SCAMPER every term with my students the last 2 years. It's a great exercise, and I usually time it toward the end of the term when we need a little off-blowing of steam. I raid my children's toys and bring in some quirky things, and give them the list of questions. They come up with some great stuff-- certainly never limited to toys. I first read about it in Thinkertoys by Michael Michalko.

Using any creative thinking exercises I've found or coined has really helped me make my classes more interesting and relevant. Earlier this term, after I handed around another list of oddball questions and exercises, one student looked at me and said, "You know, you're really good at making us think about things." Great moment!


Hi and congratulations!

"Whack", "Kick" and Thinkertoys are three of my favorites. I found Conceptual Blockbusting and Care and Feeding of Ideas before any of the others so they opened up the thought-space to me. I finally bought a copy of The Act of Creation and hope to work through it this summer - yes he uses humor but I am finding it to require a lot of attention to read.

Roger von Oech

Paul: Yes that is a very good presentation by Ken Robinson.

Jim: I'll check out Galen Rowell's work.

Karl: The Act of Creation does require the reader to pay attention! Some of the brain science is a little dated, but there are many good insights in the work.

Shelbey and Jen: Thanks for stopping by.

Wendy: Thanks for recommending The Artist's Way. That work has had great success and inspired many people.

Bill Machi

I like The IDEAL problem Solver by John D. Bransford it's a good step-by-step book on how to solve problems. Also the examples are informative such as how the BIC pen came into being.

Also I like Innumeracy - Mathematical Illiteracy and Its Consequences by John Allen Paulos. It's an eye opener on numerical thinking like comparing 1 million to 1 billion. (BTW His example is 1 million seconds is 11 days whereas 1 billion seconds is 33 years)

Tom Haskins

I was in the local branch of our county library last week and discovered TWO copies of your 25th edition on the shelf. I trust that portends phenomenal worldwide sales of the new improved Whack! Congrats!

Another favorite of mine is taken from a course at your alma mater: Creativity in Business by Michael Ray and Rochelle Myers. Having taught creativity to college students in B/school, I like how it meets the reader in their logical left brain and leads them over to their right brained ingenuity with mixture of advice, scientific findings, philosophical musings and quotes from practitioners. It's a lot like Whack in that way, but without the unforgettable illustrations in yours :-)


In addition to "Whack", "Kick" and the Bible, I return often to the following for inspiration reinforcement:
o Several Tom Peters books (even though I don't buy into a number of his precepts:
Re-Imagine, The Circle of Innovation,
Thriving on Chaos, The Pursuit of Wow;
o On Leadership, John Gardner;
o A Scientific Autobiography, Aldo Rossi;
o A Pattern Language, Christopher Alexander.


Roger. There've been many books and/or theories written about how to USE the creativity techniques people learn in specific professions. Most are either trite, self-serving, sophomoric or useless. But there's one--ironically for the "advertising"
profession--that transcends the profession itself and offers some unique perspectives of the creative process. It's THE HOUDINI SOLUTION
by Ernie Schenck.
If you or anyone hasn't read it, make time to do so.


Roger...The more I think about what my "favorite" creative thinking books are..the more I conclude that it ISN'T a book at all.
(Though there has been a book on it.)
It's TED presentation on "Creativity and
Education" by Sir Ken Robinson
. Here's the
link: He
also has a book, OUT OF OUR MINDS. The premise is that our children are educated "out" of creativity instead of "into" it. Brilliant 20 minute presentation. If anyone hasn't seen it.. it will "whack" your brain.


By far, my favorite creativity book has to be "How to Be More Creative" by David Edwards.

Simple to understand with great illustrations, it is sadly out of print.

BTW, "Whack" is also on my list of favs!

Claudio Perrone

Roger, congratulations indeed!
On a recent presentation (focused on agility, effective communication and deliberate creativity) I highlighted and reccommended your "Whack/Kick", in addition to "Thinkertoys/ThinkPack" and "Lateral Thinking".
"The 6 thinking hats" is definitely in my hall of fame too.

Craig McNamara

Any books by legendary ad man George Lois are good (and they all tend to recycle the same stories) -- he's self-aggrandizing to be sure, but he's great at giving you the creative inspirations underpinning his ad campaigns. Lots of food for thought here. (More daily opinons and advertising commentary at

Katie Konrath

Roger, congrats on the 25th anniversary edition. I'm really looking forward to reading it, and writing about it on my blog soon for the virtual book tour.

Some great books mentioned above!
I'll share two of my favorites that don't get a lot of attention.

Ideas Are Free - A great book about creating an innovation culture in a company so that everyone participates in coming up with ideas.

The Idea Machine - About a Idea factory in Switzerland that is phenomenally creative. Very interesting to read about their methods!

John S.


A source that has been helpful to me is books and internet lists of quotations.
I came across this on the internet from Albert Einstein:

"If I had not been a physicist, I should probably have been a musician. I often think in music. My daydreams are filled with music. Most of the joy in my life has come from music."

It led to a short speech (about 3 minutes) that got a standing ovation at an open mike frequented mostly by musicians.

But the number of quotations I read before finding something useful is far, far more than I could wade through if I did not enjoy reading great quotes without needing to find a use for them.


terry grant

I recently read the Twyla Tharp book, "The Creative Habit, how to get it and use it . . ." Great insight into her process, but I was bothered by the idea that one must live such a structured and disciplined life in order to be creative. Edward Tufte's books, on the other hand, are not about how to be creative, but offer such incredibly creative ways of seeing and contemplating the visual world.

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