Human nature insulates or unites, extinguishes or ignites, disrupts or delights by choice, not chance or circumstance.
This week’s book report is on a classic that was originally published in 1940. Too old school for you, creative hipster? Well, it has occupied shelf space on most advertising, PR, and scientific researchers for more than 70 years — because it is a terrific reference that educates and enthuses the truly creative and does so in an amazing 28 pages.
James Webb Young penned A TECHNIQUE FOR PRODUCING IDEAS back in the day when German tanks were rolling on Poland and the second Roosevelt was in the White House.
It was written to assist young copywriters and creative directors at fledgling ad agencies to improve their conceptualization of selling American products. In the foreword, William Bernbach, former chair of the international acclaimed ad giant, Doyle Dane Bernbach, said “Young writes about the creative spark, the ideas, which bring spirit and life to an advertisement. Nothing is more important to the practice of our craft.”
The book offers a simple, five-step formula to increase individual and group creativity at the office or at home. The formula is well thought out, insightful and intuitive. Young, at first, offers the obvious, but, not unlike practicing baseball — you must drill on the basics to master the finesse of the game.
You catch the ball. You throw the ball. You hit the ball.
It sounds so damn simple, yet only a few hundred people on the planet can make a living doing it.
Young’s book should be a mandatory read for every 13 year old student. It stimulates finding creative solutions in life, in labor, and in love.
Forego that reality show tonight. You can slip through this book in about an hour. Then pass it along to a colleague or niece or neighbor.
Let’s make the world a little more creative.
Douglas Arnold, The Ingenuity Guru, is a writer, workshop leader, and speaker on ingenuity, imagination, and creativity. His upcoming book “Ingenuity!” focuses on sparking greater innovation in the workplace and community. His weekly video “Ingenuity180” airs right here on his blog every Thursday, You are invited to follow his blog here and on Twitter @DouglasArnold