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Conceptual Blockbusting: A Guide to Better Ideas

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  452 ratings  ·  34 reviews
James Adams's unique approach to generating ideas and solving problems has captivated, inspired, and guided thousands of people from all walks of life. Now, twenty-five years after its original publication, Conceptual Blockbusting has never been more relevant, powerful, or fresh. Integrating insights from the worlds of psychology, engineering, management, art, and philosop ...more
Paperback, Fourth Edition, 240 pages
Published October 30th 2001 by Basic Books (first published January 1st 1969)
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Average rating 3.80  · 
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Erika RS
May 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned, physical
I read this book as part of my personal development goals at work. Much of the value of this book is working through the exercises throughout, so if you are really interested in the material, you should read it for yourself. My full summary, including a description of all the blocks Adams describes and how to avoid them can be found here.

Adams motivation in writing this book is to introduce people to ways to improve their idea generating ability. Adams makes the claim that having good ideas does
Some ideas here and there, personally I was bored at times
a lot of exercises .. many are group exercises

Chapter 1: Introduction
The author’s goal is to make us aware of the creative process, blocks that inhibit it and tricks that we can use to overcome these blocks. Our reaction often to a problem is to get rid of it and quickly throw solutions at it, the author calls it “hit and run”. We do this instead of spending some time to actually understand the problem and solve it correctly

Yevgeniy Brikman
Oct 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
There is a lot of interesting content in this book, but I'm not sure it actually made me more creative. The writing is _slightly_ meandering and academic in style, a bit like a research survey paper, but the content within is genuinely valuable. Just the idea of thinking about *how* you come up with a solution (visual thinking, mathematical thinking, deduction, induction, etc), rather than what the solution turns out to be, is a pretty powerful exercise. The list of blocks that get in the way of ...more
Călin Darie
Sep 10, 2017 rated it liked it
I feel like more of these how-to creativity books should gain popularity. I feel there's generally a gap in our education that we need to fill.
+ thought-provoking exercises
+ lists of creativity inhibitors, usually blind spots, ranging from personal emotional issues to cultural stereotypes and taboos
+ trying to bust the myth that creativity can't be taught. Showing how in some cases creativity may even be achieved by algorithmic methods
- I would have liked the book to cite some more st
May 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book for remove mental blocks and reexamine ways we thinking to solve problems.
Sep 05, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015, wallace-library
It took me too mush time to read this book to the extent that I cannot review it..
Dec 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is one of those books you'll want to read once a year. It provides practical steps for expanding your mind, teaches you to think about thinking, and helps you identify "conceptual blocks". These blocks are limiting your ideas and keeping you from reaching higher levels of creativity. The subject of the book seems a bit elementary based on the title - "Conceptual Blockbusting", but there is a lot to be learned. Don't assume it is just another book about problem solving.

Practical steps for ex
Paul Dib
Oct 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Szymon Kulec
Mar 19, 2019 rated it liked it
3 stars - I liked it

The book does not fail at delivering a set of tools to bust up you creativity. A lot of them are based on simple rules (like Synthetics). Some of them are truly person-dependent (I failed to fail the quiz with a taboo), some of them, when followed, will just give you better results. Parts related to groups and organizations will be hard to follow with the bottom-up movement and would require a lot of changes from the top.

It's not a must-read, but if you've never read a book a
Jan 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
I read this one for a class. It definitely has some interesting brain teasers and questions the way you formulate and solve problems. My main criticism would be that it's hard to see how it really fits into other literature I've read about the engineering problem solving process, management, etc. But perhaps that's the point.
Jamal Burgess
Oct 24, 2017 rated it liked it
The general ideas in this book were decent but it took a long time to get through. It's not really a book that did a good job holding my attention; I found myself putting it down and picking it back up over a years time.
Saleh Hamadeh
Jun 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite books on creativity. It has exercises that help you see creative ways of solving problems. Read it twice, once in 2013 and once in 2015. Will probably read it again soon.
Jul 18, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Not my favorite. It was ok at first, but then started reading like a textbook, which it probably was.
Aristos Aresti
Oct 11, 2020 rated it liked it
much advertised, but not so good as i expected.
Deiwin Sarjas
Dec 24, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although I didn't do all (or even most) of the exercises, I still found the book fascinating and enlightening. The range of areas covered is impressive for a book of this size and the reader's guide at the end looks like a gold mine for further reading.
Jun 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Interesting read! A thought to ponder on taken from a personal letter to a friend by Schiller. "The reason for your complaint(about not being creative) lies, it seems to me, in the constraint which your intellect imposes upon your imagination. Here, I will make an observation, and illustrate it by an allegory. Apparently, it is not good and indeed it hinders the creative work of the mind - if the intellect examines too closely the ideas already pouring in, as it were, at the gates. Regarded in i ...more
Pablo Lopes
Perceptual blocks:
- detecting what you expect: stereotyping
- Difficulty in isolating the problem
- Tendency to delimit the problem area poorly
- Saturation (mind does not record all inputs)
- Failure to utilize all sensory inputs
Emotional blocks:
- no appetite for chaos
- judging rather than generating ideas
- inability of unwilingness to incubate
- lack of challenge versus excessive zeal
Cultural and environmental blocks:
- difficulty in breaking taboos.
- fantasy and reflection are a waste of time and p
Ronald Wise
A light look at the creative process and common blocks that interfere with it. There are occasional exercises which would be interesting with a group of people, but are of limited value to the lone reader. One of several books I bought while a psych major at the University of Washington and planned to buy and read, in alphabetical order by author, all the books in the psychology section of my neighborhood bookstore. This was my second reading of it, about 25 years later.
Nikish Chanekar
Nov 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Best book i ever read on this theme.Very honest presentation of authors study of creative process with extremely valuable and practicals suggestion.Best part of the book is total absence of "get rich quick" stand.
Jan 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
I like the book. The main premise for the book is thinking is mostly automatic and happen subconsciously, bring that subconscious process to conscious realm, make the conceptual block that inhibit it clear and we will be come better problem solver and be more creative.

Aug 07, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Everyone
Shelves: creative
I really enjoyed this book and liked that it challenges current concepts that we hold as a way of seeing things differently. I think that a lot of people could use the concepts in this book.
Feb 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Ruth by: John Lucas
Shelves: grad-school
Wonderfully written, with plenty of examples, insights, and best of all experiences, to help guide and expand your creativity. A must-read!
Feb 11, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Reread 9/21/08. Some of the ideas may be useful for designing the communication strategy and media for my sabbatical project.
Mar 01, 2008 rated it liked it
A great book! Not entertaining or necessarily even enjoyable, but a great book to help you think about ways of perceiving things differently and solve problems better.
Nov 23, 2009 rated it liked it
An interesting look at creativity with salient examples.
Mary Louise
Oct 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book. This book is on my booklist for spring semester 2011.
Marjori Pomarole
Jun 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
Very interesting read that made me re-thinking how I approach problems. Some of the techniques for creative thinking I want to try such as list making and using visual representation more often.
Jul 25, 2013 rated it liked it
Apr 04, 2008 rated it really liked it
Exercise your brain, start seeing new ways to think and understand your world.
Jan 16, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wish I'd read this when I first got it; it feels a little dated now.
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