The Idea Book

My book review this week is The Idea Book by Fredrik Haren.

Haren has written this book in a format designed to generate ideas. There 60 creativity inspiring sections followed by an activity designed to tap into your creativity. The book has an additional 150 blank pages dispersed strategically throughout the book to be used to record your creative ideas. I have used this book for personal inspiration. I have also used some of the exercises in a team format to get brainstorming sessions kicked off and to get teams thinking outside of their proverbial boxes.

My takeaway from this book is that every person and every team needs some creative thinking exercises from time to time to restart and renew their creative thinking mechanisms. Taking the thinking exercises from this book are a great way to do this!


Note that I have previously reviewed the following books in 2018:

  1. Tim O’Reilly’s Whats the Future and Why Its Up to Us
  2. Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art
  3. Timothy Ferriss’ Tribe of Mentors
  4. Richard P. Feynman’s Surely You’re Joking Mr. Feynman!
  5. Bernadette Jiwa’s Hunch
  6. Scott Galloway’s The Four
  7. William Mougayar’s The Business Blockchain


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Smart Thinking

Three Essential Keys to Solve Problems, Innovate, and Get Things Done

This week’s book review is Smart Thinking by Art Markman, PHD.

Smart Thinking explores three essential keys to solving problems, innovating and getting things done. Basically, Smart Thinking requires developing Smart Habits to acquire High Quality Knowledge and to apply your knowledge to achieve your goals. A Smart Habit is the repetition of a desired behavior until it becomes an engrained habit. High Quality Knowledge is accurate and tested knowledge without gaps or inaccuracies.

How to Decrease Costs, Drive Growth, and Increase Profits

As most years do, 2016 seemed to come and go rather quickly! It is probably safe to say that 2016 was filled with a lot more challenges than usual for many people . . . especially those who rely on the oil and gas market for their livelihood. Many people lost their jobs and many businesses were shuttered.

However, many business also thrived and grew in 2016. It’s not that these businesses were immune from the downturn but rather were nimble, efficient, and able to adjust and change their focus to find new markets for their products and services.

Why You Need Solitude To Get Serious Work Done

Without solitude, no serious work is possible.” Picasso

Our world today is incredibly busy (see Do You Suffer From Continue Partial Attention Deficit Syndrom) and interruptions are almost constant. In 1789, Benjamin Franklin said “. . . nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” I think in 2015’s world, we can revise this to say “Nothing can be said to be certain, except death, taxes and constant interruptions.” Chances are, a large percentage of you were interrupted by your office phone, cell phone, email, text message, instant message or some other modern day technical marvel at least once during the time it took to read this!

As business leaders we must set aside time that is insulated from interruptions so that we have time to strategically plan our business. We need to think through issues, set vision, direction, goals and communications. This cannot be done when you are being interrupted every 30 seconds! You need solitude to get serious work completed!

How To Thrive In A World Of Ambiguity

If you are like most people, ambiguity is extremely uncomfortable and is something to be avoided whenever possible. Most of us find the lack of definition and lack of boundaries associated with ambiguity a little scary so we attempt to get definitions and boundaries set as quickly as possible. This reduces our personal stress level but it may not result in an optimal solution or situation.

For other people, ambiguity is something that can be manipulated to avoid facing reality or to float through their career without accountability or deliverables. This sort of behavior is obviously unproductive and should be avoided.

For a third group of people, ambiguity is used as a productivity tool. They use ambiguity to help them consider all aspects, perspectives and components of an issue without being tied to any one viewpoint. They are able to objectively evaluate disparate positions or solutions without bias and select the best solution possible.