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Thinkertoys: A Handbook of Creative-Thinking Techniques

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  3,549 ratings  ·  134 reviews
Rethink the Way You Think
In hindsight, every great idea seems obvious. But how can you be the person who comes up with those ideas?
In this revised and expanded edition of his groundbreaking Thinkertoys, creativity expert Michael Michalko reveals life-changing tools that will help you think like a genius. From the linear to the intuitive, this comprehensive handbook detai
Paperback, 416 pages
Published June 8th 2006 by Ten Speed Press (first published November 4th 1991)
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3.99  · 
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 ·  3,549 ratings  ·  134 reviews

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Gary Dale
Jun 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Do you need any new ideas for practical designs? How about when something is wrong with your business and you cannot put your finger on it? Did you ever need to brainstorm but not have anyone else around? Have you ever been stuck with writer’s block and for the life of you could not get back to work? In other words, have you ever been stuck with any mental problem that you felt that you cannot solve? If this is the case I think you should have a look at Michael Michalko’s latest book, Thinkertoy ...more
Liza Fireman
Apr 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book is great. It can help people with knowing that they have the opportunity to be creative, even when sometimes it looks like not everyone has it. And it gives a framework and ideas of how to make it happen, actually so many different ways that I'm quite sure that each person can find something in there worth trying.

The author suggests many ways for intuitive thinkers (with really cool names) from Chilling Out (relaxation), Stone Soup (fantasy questions) to Rattlesnakes and Roses (analogi
Nguyên ngộ ngộ
Oct 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: strategist
Great book.
If you want to create ideas like a chicken creates eggs, read one
A lot of powerful and simple tools based on science help us generate ideas to solve any problem.
Something new, something old
and one of the best ways I have learned is "fulcrum".
easy to understand and apply it
- Write down our challenges or problems
- Choosing any "fulcrum" to leverage ideas
- List things relevant to "fulcrum"
- Connect or link the challenges or problems with things we listed one by one
Thick book, take t
Lana Krumwiede
This book intrigued me, as I'm always interested in ways to amp up creativity. I was happy to find that, in my own peculiar ways, I already practice many (though not all) of the methods mentioned in this book. I can't recall anyone teaching me these methods, they are just little habits that I picked up here and there in the course of learning how to write fiction. I'm amazed to learn that some of my creative methods, which I always thought of as rather quirky, are for real. What does that mean? ...more
Nov 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The book is slightly repetitive, with a few obvious concepts and examples.

So why bother giving it a five star review?

It is incredibly comprehensive, and probably the best self-help book I've ever read. Michalko doesn't only make you realise that you have creative potential through neat little optical illusions, but he also gives you a framework for harnessing that creativity.

The best part about this book is how it helps you brainstorm by yourself. According to Michalko, creativity stems from
Don Gubler
Aug 20, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: business
It started out okay with what for me was a review of methods I had previously been exposed to and I hoped to get something new out of it. But, he just kept rehashing the same things in more and more convoluted ways and the whole thing devolved into something so tedious and boring that I am surprised that I endured to the end. And, when did Lao Tzu become the guru of business strategy? It is going to take a while to get the bad taste out of my head. Virtually worthless. Tell your boss how wonderf ...more
Derek Neighbors
Nov 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This book gives more practical brainstorming ideas than you will know what to do with. Be prepared to do mental exercises to get the most out of this book.
Rita Vo
Apr 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
4,5* to be fair. Tons of useful "toys" to play when you need ideas or problem-solving solutions.
Frederik Knudsen
Jul 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Really a very, very good book. Definitely a must-read for those who strive to continuously challenge and improve their thinking. There are some parts in the middle of the book which are not very relevant, but the beginning 150 pages and the last 100 pages are fantastic, especially the final chapter on experiences and interpretation.
Sep 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I definitely recommend this book. It is full of how to's for any kind of problem you might have. However, it does a very a good job to make one understand the "why" in a very subtle way by using lots of analogies and stories.

It is quite easy to read and apply. So, I definitely suggest trying to apply what you've just read even though you have nothing specific to solve. If that's the case choose any of the biggest problems the world has in common. Who knows? Maybe you'll come up with a great sol
Shelly Victoria
Jan 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book is a gem. You would think that this guide would give typical, abstract advice about how to write down ideas in your journal and talk with others about your issues to gain insight. However, this book does more than just that. The authors provide you an enormous list of ideas, real-life examples, exercises, and explanations about their applications. In the end, it's up to you which one you think is the most useful for your situation.

Basically, Thinker Toys are highly useful for whenever
Jan 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: skills
This reads like a very entertaining textbook on creative thinking techniques. Tt is comforting that creative thinking can indeed be "acquired" if one is not born with an aptitude for it, and the meat of the book lies in actually putting these to practice. It is designed well that one does not need to read it front to back. I had great fun skipping from one method of thinking to the next, and since I read it at a time when I had no avenues to practice it, I now know where to come back for tips wh ...more
Nathanael Coyne
Whilst the techniques in this book aren't all original (the Lotus, the CIA's Phoenix etc), they've all been collated and presented in a very interesting and useful way. If you haven't learned creative and visual thinking before this book will absolutely blow you away and change your approach to work and life. You will never utter the word "impossible" again. I also recommend the companion Thinkpak deck of cards based on the SCAMPER technique.
Jul 19, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I edited a lot of (translated) books about creativity, learning, and education early in my career as an editor at Kaifa, but I think Thinkertoys is one of the best of them all. The book is well-structured, the idea-generating techniques it presents are highly practical, each one clearly illustrated with real examples from the real world.
Kursad Albayraktaroglu
Apr 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: creativity
One of my favorite books by far - so much that I keep a physical copy everywhere I work. This classic book on creativity has a bunch of proven, useful techniques to come up with new ideas and solutions easily. It should be recommended reading for every university student.
Jul 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing
one cannot help but become unstuck , for bot left and right brainers
Jun 24, 2009 rated it really liked it
Tips for stimulating new ideas. Comprehensive.
Vikrama Dhiman
May 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an excellent but uneven book.

Some chapters flow and are immediately actionable. Some are deep and you need to re-read. It provides you with techniques, structure and processes to think creatively. Unlike most other books where the emphasis is on the story to bring out a technique, this one dives deep into several techniques and mentions how schools, intelligence agencies, city governments, schools and businesses benefits from these Thinker Toys. The unassuming nature of the book where qu
I decide to bought this book since my definition of "creative" change. Back then (when I was a student) I thought it's some fabulous stuff that artist-type people do, create something that no one understand, and doesn't really have anything to do for me (as a future accountant) anyway.
But after some years of work life, it change completely. Creative is something much more essential, and it attach closely to productivity. With the same resource, in order to replace that outdated working process,
Dec 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
In my head I think of this as one of my favourite books - I first read it in 1993 - but I suspect that I was more enthused about it than I actually used it.
It makes you work - if you’re prepared to do so. That’s the question, of course – it’s too easy to rush through it (and similar books like A Whack on the Side of the Head, agree with everything that’s being said, and not actually do anything about it. It tends to throw idea after idea at you for you to try, and seems to have an endless fund
Mar 02, 2019 rated it it was ok
Read the first 56 pages, got the joke. Exactly what it says on the tin (techniques, not theory). Nothing I couldn't easily dredge up on the internet. Gives a verbal explanation of combinatorial creativity rather than a technical explanation. May be useful for those that want a lot of techniques in the same place, and a loose mnemonic to hang them on. Otherwise, lacking...creativity in exploring the topic of creativity.
Feb 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Thinkertoys is a recipe book for how to tap your creativity (you all have it, whether you realize it or not) and come up with some amazing ideas, both individually and in a group.

My only regret is that I bought the audiobook, which means it's a little difficult to go back and randomly pick recipes. I might have to buy the hardcopy, too!
Aug 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: finished, 2019
The first book I translated in the late 90s. Rereading it now after i discover the WordRunner feature of Kindle. Loving it! Boost my reading/rereading ambition. Life is too short, be creative with the way you read or, should I say, interact with books :)
Krishna Gilda
May 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book changed the way I think. With such tools and the kind of explanations and examples, this book one of the must read in the genre. This book covers complete breadth of creative thinking techniques.
Matt Reynaud
Jan 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Incredibly helpful and brimming with technique.
Aug 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an excellent book. Ideas are an extremely valuable currency and this book has so many techniques to make ideas increase in quantity and quality. Loved it!
Zarah Gagatiga
Jun 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Michael Michalko's ThinkerToys (Ten Speed Press, 2006) where the reader can access and acquire a host of creative thinking exercises and how it can push him/her to critical analysis;
Teri Temme
Jun 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Some great exercises for creative-thinking!
Gaevint Duy
Nice ideas for creativing.
But too long to explain the ideas enough to make me so "boring a litte bit".
Good to know a lot of knowledges about Thinking Techniques.
Dec 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Still kind of reading this. I use it more as a reference. Lots of ideas of how to get out of a brain cramp. There are activities for right-brained and left-brained people. Everyone is creative.
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Michael Michalko is one of the most highly acclaimed creativity experts in the world. As an officer in the U.S. Army, Michael organized a team of NATO intelligence specialists and international academics in Frankfurt, Germany, to research, collect, and categorize all known inventive-thinking methods. His team applied the methods to various NATO military, political, and social problems and produced ...more
“Creators are joyful and positive. Creators look at “what is” and “what can be” instead of “what is not.” Instead of excluding possibilities, creators include all possibilities, both real and imagined. They choose to interpret their own world and do not rely upon the interpretations of others. And most importantly, creators are creative because they believe they are creative.” 3 likes
“To increase your self-affirmation, get in the habit of remembering your successes, your good qualities and characteristics, and forgetting your failures.” 2 likes
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