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A Whack on the Side of the Head: How You Can Be More Creative
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A Whack on the Side of the Head: How You Can Be More Creative

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  1,034 ratings  ·  97 reviews
This is the 25th anniversary edition of the creativity classic by Dr. Roger von Oech.


Over the years, A WHACK ON THE SIDE OF THE HEAD has been praised by business people, educators, scientists, homemakers, artists, youth leaders, and many more. The book has been stimulating creativity in millions of readers, translated into eleven languages, and used in seminars around th
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Paperback, 256 pages
Published May 5th 2008 by Grand Central Publishing (first published February 1st 1973)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,019)
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Mary
This is a book to always come back to. When I am in a slump and not feeling "it" I turn to Roger Von Oech. A mentor 16 years ago highly recommended this book. It is one of the well worn books on my shelf!
Tatjana
Jun 27, 2011 Tatjana rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Tatjana by: No One
I read this book in a couple of hours.
It's an older book that has been on my shelves for an age. Maybe two ages. It's the 1983 version and lacks the slick, over-designed look of today's books. It has comments by people relevant at the time. In fact, it was from a time when our industries were still relevant. Before we started truly believing that Americans are no longer innovative industrialists.
This book made it clear to me what thinking has made it so.
This book also made it clear how I've part
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Karen Burton
Of all the "how to" books I've read, this is the one that really stuck with me. I often think of the simple principles so vividly presented in this book, and employ them at every opportunity. Stuck in a rut? Drive a different way to work, take a different set of stairs, shop the grocery store in the opposite direction of the way you normally go. Most memorable is the exercise in looking at common, every day experiences in a new way. For example, a revolving door as a merry go round. I read this ...more
Judy
This is a wonderful book for anyone - teachers, office workers, students, salesmen - anyone can get something helpful out of spending a little time with this book. It gives you methods for looking at problems from outside the box - WAY outside the box in some cases! But it can help you break out of the, "we've always done it this way..." solutions to problems!
Kathleen
This was honestly an awesome book I read after it was given to me from a work colleague. It helps you look at things differently, problem solve differently, etc. I think this would be a great tool for anyone in any field of work- from real estate, to legal work, to being a stay at home mom. It's an easy read and one that can be read quickly-
Michael
Recommended for everyone. If God is the Creator and we're made in His image, then to be creative is to be more like God. This book is a fun and practical guide to awakening and encouraging your creative side.
Eric Maziade
Loved that one. I bought a few extra copies and gave to a few of my most creative friends.

This book gives a few tricks to unlock creative potential, as well as guidelines on how and when to use your creativity.
Steven Cole
I read this because Mark Rosewater (of Magic the Gathering fame) recommended it in a number of his podcasts.

It's sort of a self-help book for people who want to be more creative. Or a study in the whys and wherefores of creativity. And if you're truly in a position where constantly reinventing your approach to become essentially institutionally (or even industrially) creative, this book has a lot of great approaches.

For the rest of us... It's nice to look back on when we're stumped about stuff,
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Rhys Leclair
Very approachable in that you can basically open to any chapter and jump right in. Also check out the "Creative Whack Pack" cards, great for brainstorming.
Cristobal
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Carl King
This is a classic. I don't know what else to say, but definitely read this if you intend to have a creative career.
Steve
I re-read it every few years. It makes me feel centered and is a wellspring of great ideas.
Todd
This book was included in my book: The 100 Best Business Books of All Time. www.100bestbiz.com
Stacey
Lots of tips and strategies for jump-starting your students' creativity.
Don Gubler
Lots of good ideas on how to be creative and improve your creative thinking.
Viraj
Sep 17, 2010 Viraj rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who find it interesting after reading the summary
Recommended to Viraj by: Richard Boulger
Shelves: self-help
The book has some good ideas…

Directly from the book (my comments in brackets):

The page numbers were not noted.

Pg. Quoted
Alber Szent – Gyorgy (Nobel): Discovery consists of looking at the same thing as everyone else and thinking something different.
Mental locks: -
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
We need the ability to unlearn what we know
The danger of habit
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Frank
At the start of the book, at location 150, I read a story about Picasso who, one day, went outside his house and found an old bicycle. He looked at it for a bit and took off first the seat and then the handle bars. Then he welded them together to create the head of a bull. This example illustrates the creative mind’s power to transform one thing into another. By changing perspective and playing with our knowledge, we can make the ordinary extraordinary. In this lies the key of discovery: Looking ...more
Jenny GB
A nice, quick read that talks about what blocks us all from being creative and gives you some ideas of what to do about it. I wouldn't say anything in this book is revolutionary, but it is succinctly stated with some fun illustrations to go along with the words. It talks a lot about embracing risk, change, and ambiguity so that you can experience new things and try new ideas. It also talks about thinking of yourself as creative and trying to change your thinking so that you look at things from d ...more
Mark Henderson
I read this book back during the 1980s, and it opened my brain to a new way of thinking about almost everything. In fact, I would pause often while reading to ponder a new idea. Even though some of the stories are dated, the process to creativity is still the same. I would definitely recommend this book to everyone.
John Giudice
This book is worthless in my opinion. This book would only be beneficial for the person who has absolutely zero creativity of their own. Perhaps a businessman. Thankfully I've never met anyone so dull as to benefit from this book.
Carl Klutzke
An interesting little book. I don't know that I've applied the principles within as the author intended, but the Creative Whack Pack that goes with it was one of the inspirations for my StoryCards game, so I guess I got some value from it.
Jean
My sister-in-law gave me this book along with its companion volume several years ago. (Thank you, Becky) I recently rediscovered it, and decided to actually read it this time...And it was very readable--filled with fun anecdotes, facts, and exercises. I admit I had heard some of them before, but enjoyed revisiting. My favorite story was about the idea to add flower seed to dog food so that dogs would eat the food and then go around the neighborhood planting flowers with their self generated fert ...more
ADD
Interesting and entertaining. But did I learn anything? Hard to say...I guess time will tell. Nothing I read surprised me or made that "I could've had a V-8 moment." Oh well. It went quickly, so if you are looking for some ideas in a short period of time, this might be the book for you.
Dominiek Leenknecht
Goed boek, enigszins gedateerd, er bestaan al veel betere boeken met uitgewerkte oefeningen, tips en ideeën rond creatief denken. Ik bleef een beetje op mijn honger zitten, de meeste ideeën die in dit boek stonden, bleek ik al intuïtief toe te passen...
Rachel
Pictures are outdated and rub me the wrong way, but the book overall is great for opening up your mind. I've had some nice results from this and looking forward to more.
Rosalie OToole
Not one of my favorites


Its ok.Not one of my favorite books I think it was an okay book. It depends if you like this book
Chung Chin
This book is written in a simple-to-understand format, and lots of fun! The whacky illustration helps a lot too.
In this book, the author writes about the mental locks of creativity, and how the readers can unlock these mental locks. A lot of the suggestions may not sound "practical" at first, but if you're willing to give it a try, I believe it may really be of help. Although I have not personally gone through each and every advice given, I did practice some of them already, and therefore can a
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Joe Lane
a very stretching experience. helps you approach problems with an open mind.
Jordan Kinsey
A great book for the middle of the academic year because you can pick it up, read a few pages, and put it down again without losing anything. And it includes some really great ideas! I own the rest of his books and can't wait to start the next one.
Shrihari Chakrapani
I had an expectation of understanding the various avenues of how to overcome the hiccup of inside-the-box thinking, how to break the shackles of limited thinking. The book definitely addresses that in terms of explaining in detail the 12 mental locks. Examples with exercises are very good. I would need this as a reference.
Towards the end, the author explains the thumb rules by Heraclitus, a 6th century BC philospher, but its been very abrupt and short. Also some illustrations are over-exaggerat
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“Flexibility is a requirement for survival.” 6 likes
“It's difficult to get your creative juices flowing if you're always being practical, following rules, afraid to make mistakes, not looking into outside areas, or under the influence of any of the other mental locks.” 4 likes
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