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Disciplined Dreaming: A Proven System to Drive Breakthrough Creativity
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Disciplined Dreaming: A Proven System to Drive Breakthrough Creativity

3.57  ·  Rating details ·  424 ratings  ·  43 reviews
A 5-part process that will transform your organization -- or your career -- into a non-stop creativity juggernaut We live in an era when business cycles are measured in months, not years. The only way to sustain long term innovation and growth is through creativity-at all levels of an organization. Disciplined Dreaming shows you how to create profitable new ideas, empower ...more
Hardcover, 235 pages
Published February 22nd 2011 by Jossey-Bass (first published January 13th 2011)
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3.57  · 
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 ·  424 ratings  ·  43 reviews

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Emma Sea
Jan 06, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: hardback, i-own-it
very surprising, in that there was nothing new to me in here. What's with all the hype around this book? This is a collection of the same old ideas for brainstorming and focus-shifting that have been around since . . . forever, padded with Linkner telling us a bunch of times, "My system will change your life!" A big let down.
Soundview Executive Book Summaries
Disciplined Dreaming: A Proven System to Drive Breakthrough Creativity by Josh Linkner was chosen by Soundview Executive Book Summaries as one of the Top 30 Business Books of 2011. It was also selected by Soundview as the winner of the Harold Longman Award for being the Best Business Book of 2011.


Creativity is often mislabeled as a mysterious force. The concept dates back to ancient history when poets and musicians were beholden to muses or gods for moments of creative brill
Great ideas on how to master the art of innovation and focus on culture, processes and thinking to create a dynamic platform to achieve.
Garland Vance
Dec 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
I read this book 2.5 months ago and am just getting to the place of evaluating it, so my insights might not be the freshest!

Here is the strengths of the boo:
1. It provides a system for thinking creatively. The premise of the book (which I fully agree with) is that if we have a system for creativity then we don't have to think creatively about how to be creative. So often truly creative people fail to move out of the realm of ideas and into the realm of making their ideas happen. This book provid
Rebecca Johnson
Jul 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is a really great book. It has tons of ideas to spark creativity in the office and exlplore ideas. It also addresses how the loudest person can overtake a brainstorming session and gives ideas on how to hold sessions so that everyone is encouraged to participate and take part in the discussion without one idea dominating and crippling further ideas from emerging. Some of my favorite things! p. 108- Issue an "outrageous" idea contest. See who comes up with the most outrageous or stupid idea. ...more
Jan 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I am so glad J. Linkner has propelled me to "get off my dink and think" as one of my most sage life instructors has compelled me to attempt. Linkner uses a jazz musician's background to get his business-related points across (these methods are to move businesses to the next level), but it very easily correlates to what a classical musician wants and needs to do to get life accomplished better. I think these tenets are also good for creating anything beautiful, which is the word that the therapis ...more
Oct 09, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition

The book does give some useful tips for allowing creativity to happen, but there's nothing really new or surprising in here. Maybe a few grunt-inducing points, and that's it.

It almost feels as though the author compiled everything he heard and regurgitated it. The effect is you'll probably put this book down (or finish listening) feeling overwhelmed by the sheer number of tips. Though the author bills this as a "system," it's important to realize that "systems" and "processes" are very much
Jason Riemens
I finished this book 4 days ago and I am applying nothing from its content, nor does anything applicable readily come to mind. This is an immediate fail. The book was self-indulgent speculation with a few widely known research-based facts half-heartedly tossed in - to make it seem worthwhile. It wasn't.

In fact, it was somewhat tortuous listening to it. The author uses jazz analogy to an extent that becomes unbearable and destructive to anything that may have been useful. Not recommended. Jason R
Mar 30, 2012 rated it it was ok
Josh Linkner spends so much time telling you what his "proven system" is going to do for you, but spends little time actually describing his system. The gist of it all is that creativity and innovation are necessities to be successful in business. One way to generate creativity is to put limitations on the project to give the mind space to come up with interesting solutions. I found the book to be mostly derivative
Avolyn Fisher
May 08, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2011
This book as a long drawn out version of everything I learned in my Advertising class. But in a much more extended version. I felt like we were beating the creative brief to death.
Sep 23, 2011 rated it liked it
I have been trying to determine my next career move for quite some time now, so picked this up in the hopes it could help me.

As a disclaimer, it's been almost a month since I read this. I'm usually so good about getting things down on here right away, but I've been slacking. :)

With that being said - I'll do my best to review this properly.

Written by Josh Linkner - the founder of ePrize in Michigan (which I didn't know) - the book gives helpful tips on how you can become more creative in your ev
Rusty Fulling
July 2011 - Excellent read for sparking creativity within the workplace.

A 5-part process that will transform your organization — or your career — into a non-stop creativity juggernaut
We live in an era when business cycles are measured in months, not years. The only way to sustain long term innovation and growth is through creativity-at all levels of an organization. Disciplined Dreaming shows you how to create profitable new ideas, empower all your employees to be creative, and sustain your com
Jul 13, 2016 rated it it was ok
Another 200+ page book that could have been summed up with a blog post. I understand that "stories" are supposed to make the conclusions of books like these more relevant and tangible, but they also serve to lengthen the books unnecessarily - and I feel like we're still rehashing the same "Pixar was successful because it had a values statement" or "Google is a multi-billion dollar company because it has creative work-spaces" stories, maybe at the risk of actually drilling down to find real insig ...more
Scott Lupo
Jun 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Good book that makes a strong case for creativity in the workplace. More than that, creativity will be the most sought out competency in potential candidates. Linkner does a great job of giving the reader a path to creativity by breaking it down into steps. Naturally, just following the steps isn't going to get you there necessarily but it is a great way to start. Especially for those workplaces where creativity is seriously depleted or nonexistent. The book is chock full of great ideas and exer ...more
Jun 05, 2011 rated it it was ok
This book was advertised as a "system to drive breakthrough creativity" but the book was just a bunch of tips and tricks that the author has learned over the years, nothing really breakthrough.

I know its usually good to draw from your own experiences and and convey those experiences though storytelling, but in Disciplined Dreaming i felt like a lot of it was a sales pitch for why ePrize was so great. The references to jazz music also started to drag on and found a way to seep its way into every
Jan 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: business
So this is the problem. This book is for business people in a business environment, its not for a person trying to write their next big hit. Second thing is that you have to actually DO the things in the book over and over and tweak them over and over until they are yours. You can not read it and say "i'm now creative." I used the techniques at work with my team and it worked. We didn't come up with the next "post-it notes" or a cure for AIDS, but we all had renewed energy to evaluate our own cr ...more
Jun 18, 2018 rated it it was ok
I picked up this book because I'm a creative person who struggles with discipline and productivity. The title is definitely a misnomer. I thought this book would help me break through creative blocks. But no. This book was unfortunately geared towards companies trying to encourage their employees to be more creative. And the author seems to use his own company as a shining example of why his method works (waaaaay too many times- one company's success doesn't provide ample evidence that his strat ...more
Nov 27, 2013 rated it liked it
Heard Josh Linkner at the 2014 ITSMF in Nashville. Energetic story teller with a topic not written about a lot. How to get people to think creatively. He recognized sometimes people will yield to the louder voice, that the box is hard to think outside of and that in numbers there is a golden nugget idea. Well written and easy to go pick tools from depending on your situation this was well worth reading. Certainly recommend it if you are trying to pull the sum of goodness from a group to move the ...more
Neil Gilbert
Jan 27, 2012 rated it liked it
After getting past the boring, oft told stories regarding the brilliance of Zappos, what really struck me reading this book was the emphasis on the importance of cultural symbolism in a corporate environment. Culture is often given lip service but is rarely seen in pragmatic displays of any meaning. Countries have visible cultural symbols and traditions that remind us who we are. Businesses need the same reinforcement on a regular basis. Corporate culture needs conscious development that goes be ...more
Aug 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book had some great ideas for helping individuals and businesses find their creative spark. It dispelled the myth that accountants and analytic types are unable to be creative - I liked that part. The author lays out a framework that provides some structure while not dampening the atmosphere that creativity needs to thrive. I enjoyed many of the ideas presented and even took some of the suggested steps to becoming more creative in everyday situations.
Mar 19, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014, business, nonfiction
3.5 stars. I enjoyed this book for its step by step approach to how to come up with creative ideas. I did skim through some of the examples as I was familiar with some of the ideas. I think this would be a good book to own and refer to when solving problems. The methods were doable and I appreciate the how to approach instead of just being all theory.

The author is speaking at a conference I'm attending later this year and I look forward to that presentation.
Jim Tucker
This is a cook book. If you need a recipe for developing creativity, then here is your answer. That's why the first word in the title is "Disciplined." The author, who happens to be the founder and chairman of ePRIZE, produced the book as a guide to developing creativity. There is just too much order and discipline for my tastes, but that doesn't take anything away from the value of the book for those who don't naturally tend toward too much abstract-random creativity already.
Jared Tipton
Mar 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
I loved Disciplined Dreaming. After hearing Josh Linkner speak I knew I had to read this book. There is simply not enough focus on fostering creativity today — in any discipline. And the terrific ideas for applying a process to creative brainstorming apply to everyone, no matter what you do. Creativity is the backbone of everything wonderful in life, so it's appropriate to finally have a book that shines the light on what many in the business world find mysterious and intangible. A great read.
Kathy Nealen
Jun 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book compares the process of creative thinking to the process of improvisation in jazz music and provides a framework to generate creativity. It has a surprising variety of individual and group activities to stimulate creative thinking. Favorite quote: "Curiousity is the most powerful thing you own." James Cameron
Jen Jenson
The first half of the book was up and down on the engaging level. I found it hard to stay focused for long periods. It was much more engaging the second half of the book! I did like the relations made to music. It had some interesting concepts and practical application. The strategic planning angle was very interesting.
Ami Kismet
Apr 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
Lot of good ideas and read very easily. Some of the things he suggests for brainstorming and generating ideas are things that can be found with a simple google search.I did like his Creativity Challenge because it is helping me to get my ideas on paper and keeping me focused. I would recommend it.
Sep 04, 2012 rated it it was ok
Interesting only towards the end. A rehash of a lot of ideas found elsewhere, though I resonated with the fact he's a musician and consciously applying jazz improvisation techniques to business and marketing.
Bahar Rita
Mar 19, 2015 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
For someone who claims to be creative this book was pretty ordinary: Not many interesting case studies, not many outrageous ideas, etc.
It is not a book I would recommend to someone some day.
Oct 11, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: business, creativity
Creativity strategies and exercises to implement in your life and company.
Dec 24, 2011 rated it liked it
good book to skim & use as reference; lots of good ideas
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To Josh Linkner, creativity and innovation are the lifeblood of all human progress, and as such, he's spent his career harnessing the spirit of creative disruption. His journey has been non-traditional at every step: he's been a professional jazz guitarist, 4-time tech entrepreneur, hyper-growth CEO, New York Times bestselling author, venture capitalist, and urban reinventor. Today, Linkner leads ...more
“It is no wonder that most companies lack inspiration, when corporate America looks much like a sensory deprivation chamber: beige walls, faded carpet, high cubes, no windows, and bad lighting, and the only artistic stimulus to be found is the office equipment—your bathroom's shower stall is probably light-years ahead of your office environment when it comes to encouraging original thought.” 0 likes
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