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One Plus One Equals Three: A Masterclass in Creative Thinking
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One Plus One Equals Three: A Masterclass in Creative Thinking

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  1,069 ratings  ·  106 reviews
How do you make something out of nothing? This book goes straight to the heart of the creative impulse. Combining Dave Trott's distinctive, almost Zen-like storytelling, humor and practical advice, its collection of provocative anecdotes and thought experiments are designed to light a fire under your own creative ambitions. From tales of 18th century Japanese samurai to cl ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published November 1st 2016 by Pan Macmillan (first published June 4th 2015)
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Average rating 4.27  · 
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 ·  1,069 ratings  ·  106 reviews

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Nadya Prasetya
Jun 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Do you often read stories that tell about the life story behind the success of such powerful public figures? Besides biography, you may ever found them in magazines, newspapers, or motivational books.

From such narratives, the information that I oftenly get is the fact that there's a long journey before someone being on top, there are certain good habits and characters that lead someone to success such as dicipline, hard work, honest, etc.

I think, they are all just the basics because many peopl
Dane Cobain
May 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’ve read some of Dave Trott’s stuff in the past, and it always follows a vaguely similar formula. He has a very unique writing style in which he writes in short, repetitive sentences and where he basically shares some stories and then tells you what the moral is.

Here, the stories are all about thinking outside the box and finding opportunities where you might not have expected them. So for example, he uses a story about German U-boats in the First World War to show how by forging ahead with a p
Simone Bocedi
Sep 23, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I don’t know how so many people like this book.
It’s tweet after tweet after tweet.
It’s short sentences.
It’s shorter stories.
Great stories.
Told in short sentences of 5 words.
Or less.
Totally forgettable.
Like this review.
Jan 17, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Copy pasted anecdotes one can find on the internet mixed in with the author's own stories. The masterclass promised in the title is nowhere to be found. ...more
Nopadol Rompho
Dec 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-favourite
One of the best books I've read this year. I love the way Dave Trott wrote the book. It is concise yet very interesting. I also love his story telling, which it is full with twist and surprise. If you love the creativity, read this book. ...more
Aishwarya Nair
“Masterclass” is a pretty misleading way to describe this book. It’s a collection of stories that involve some aspect of creative thinking. But that’s all. This is definitely not worth the read.
Taavet Kutsar
May 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Hesam Alinejad
Jan 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm usually in the habit of quitting books after reading a few pages because I'm not interested anymore; well this book was quite the contrary since from the moment that I started it I couldn't put it aside until the end. In this book not only the author shares his profound insights about advertising and marketing, but also you can have access to his general wisdom of life. There are rare books that can cast a perpetual influence on your life but indeed this one did. ...more
Carole Tyrrell

This book is described on the cover as a masterpiece of creative thinking.
For those who don’t know who Dave Trott is let me introduce him. He is an adman whose agency Gold, Greenlees & Trott was the place to work during the ‘80’s. I interned there briefly and he and his fellow creatives knew how to sell. ‘You’ll be amazed at a Mazda’, ‘Allo Tosh, got a Toshiba as well as the Maxell tape (remember them?) ‘Me Ears are alight’. Irritating to some but very memorable.
This is really a book containin
Feb 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book is a collection of interesting anecdotes. It was good to dip in and out of (I read it over the course of about half a year). Each chapter gives a real example of someone who solved a problem creatively. Some of the examples I had heard of, many I hadn't, and most are good for use in conversation.

If you're looking for methods to improve creativity or a how to guide then this is not the book you are looking for. If you would like to read a selection of short real life stories which migh
Apr 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book was good for travel, every single episode was neatly written and enjoyed throughly. This book invited me to finish coz such an interesting facts.. Fantastic Book
Ali Javed
Aug 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A masterclass to up your game. Modest chapters with full insights along with practical real life examples. A kind of book which you do not want to finish.
Mark Rego
Oct 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A lot of stories from which you can learn to think different in situations of your life.
A easy book to read and to enjoy a good time with him on your hands.
Totally recommend it.
Nov 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
How do you make something out of nothing?

Up your game with this masterclass in creative thinking. Combining Dave Trott's distinctive, almost Zen-like storytelling, humour and practical advice, One Plus One Equals Three is a collection of provocative anecdotes and thought experiments designed to light a fire under your own creative ambitions.

From the First World War sailor who survived being sunk three times in one day to the one-time 'merchant of death' who made his name a byword for peace, and
JB Sinluenam
Jul 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Food for thought should be fun and engaging like this book. It makes you stop and rethink.
Beginners can read it to lay a good foundation before entering the advertising circle (though you might not get it all at first). Professionals can read it to check if you're still on the right track and not lost in all fancy terminologies and bs meetings.
One more thing, it may wrote "a master class in creative thinking" on its cover, but I think you could apply this kind of "thinking" into every aspect o
Saikat Basu
Jan 25, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: creativity
Stories, yes. Masterclass, no. That's how I felt on the last page. The stories serve as interesting examples and Dave Trott leaves you to do your own thinking.

Maybe, he wanted to say that creativity cannot be taught in a class. It has to be practiced in the outside world and in the real estate between the ears.

The stories are fun anecdotes. I would recommend you read one and then put down the book to really think about it. Maybe, co-relate it to something happening around you. Put it through t
Mar 24, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book has choppy, terrible writing paired with equally terrible formatting. I felt like I was reading a hastily-done self-published book where the author just pasted a bunch of blog posts together. The content itself was shallow and used trite anecdotes as "evidence" for overly generalized life lessons. To add insult to injury, a couple of the section titles were unoriginal puns, which makes me both cringe and question Trott's relevance as a copywriter. ...more
Hannah Tudor
Sep 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
Oh my god this book! I feel stupid that I've only just picked this up, 5 years since I first began studying advertising. This book is more than another book about advertising - it's inspiration and ideas when you need them most.
With so many chapters and stories of just a few pages, I can guarantee I will pick it up for years to come whenever I'm stuck on a brief and need just a little bit of a push in the right direction.
If you are in a creative career and buy one book - make it this.
Jaap Grolleman
Oct 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
While this little paperback doesn't really warrant the title 'masterclass', it's an entertaining and inspiring collection of anecdotes. I doubt any of the examples are directly applicable in most cases, but the bigger message is, and it's a great way to live by. Trott's teachings are a powerful anti-sound against the increased jargon, complexity and bullshit in advertising, and the world for that matter. It's written in Trott's particular style. An example, and then what it stands for. It's very ...more
James Forster
Jun 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A really easy read with some true golden nuggets in there for creativity and marketing + advertising. A few of the stories will really stick with me, however this isn’t a ‘do this’ ‘follow this’ kind of book.. more a collection of stories - saying that though, it’s written in short sentences and is so easy to read.
Marius Ciuzelis
Nov 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Short interesting stories all w a single moral on creativity

Storytelling - it is all about. A quick day read of various short stories: on history, economy, architecture, arts, finance, literature etc all sharing the same moral - creativity. Some of those stories are well know, some - less known but interested enough to go through. It feels like you are talking to your mate.
Haoyee Ng
Mar 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Easy to read book with lessons based on short real-life stories, about creativity in the advertising/media world! He also writes about how to capture attention efficiently (in ads) and applies it in his way of writing 👏🏻 not a single boring moment through the pages. Greatest lesson would be on how creative works are inspired in the marketing world, and how problems are solved in creative ways!
Mar 31, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A charming collection of anecdotes written in a lean, engaging style. The whole book consists of one sentence paragraphs, and each short chapter is only a few pages long. It’s a great style - you can’t help but want to read the next chapter, and the next, and the next. I’m not sure I’d call this a masterclass in creative thinking but it’s certainly worth reading.
Jun 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
To read and re-read as you did with your bed time stories as one read is not enough to encapsulate the wit at your Creative-DNA level. It's that kind of book that is able to put an Ace in your Life's Sleeve if you manage to "get the cards" right.

Dec 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book composed of short chapters with each chapter providing insightful thoughts on creative thinking. There's something new that everyone can take away from this book and it's an easy and quick read. ...more
Thuy Do
May 20, 2018 rated it it was ok
I do not like this writing style. This is just like a collection of posts on a personal blog or Facebook that tells us basically everything we already know. Watching a five minute Ted talk would be more helpful. I don't see how reading this book can stimulate one's creativity. ...more
Thu Hoai
Mar 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book brings a collection of short stories in many fields in an attempt to explain the essence of creative thinking. Creation is not a job. It is how people do a job. Very simple but interesting finding.
Sudharsan Haribaskar
A book full of short, simple but effective analogies from around the world; with punch lines at the end. Must read for anyone who's into Marketing/advertisements or who wants to change their perspective/approach towards problem solving. ...more
Ieva Budri
Jul 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
From an American beggar to a film director it's all about creativity and finding different ways. It's all about ability to see what is unseen for others or ability to believe in what seems unbelievable. A lot of short real stories which will enrich you definitely. Amazing book! ...more
Clicky Steve
Jun 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A collection of anecdotes and illustrations designed to show the benefit of seeking out a different perspective for various challenges. At first I thought it seemed a bit trite, but by the end I had gained inspiration for a few different situations, and you can't really argue with that. ...more
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