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Sunday, December 21st, 2008

Time Event
10:59a
Creativity ... in business!
Jumping ahead again ... those of you over on LibraryThing know that I'm way behind on my reviews, but I wanted to get this "done" so I could comfortably lend it to my boss. I'd hoped to have had several reviews cranked out this weekend, but here it is Sunday already and I'm just starting on one.

Now, I am not the type who lends books willy-nilly, so the fact that I'm passing along my copy of Doug Hall's Jump Start Your Brain is quite a testament to the book (I just hope that I get it back!). As I've previously noted, I've never been one for reading "business books", although, of late, I have picked up a number of at least "business-related" volumes. This, however, was quite an enjoyable read, with Hall not only walking the reader through processes for re-framing one's view of challenges, but providing a fascinating history of his own.

If there was one caveat to present with this book, it is that history, as Hall appears to have been something of a marketing prodigy, having been both a "professional entertainer" and "inventor" prior to entering his teens. He eventually ended up in brand management at Proctor & Gamble and was the lead on numerous dramatic introductions or turn-arounds. He eventually left and set himself up as something of an "inventor for hire", creating numerous products and concepts for top consumer product companies. So, when he gets excited about how one can stir one's creative juices, it seems a bit like Beethoven telling you how easy music composition can be!

The book is chock-full of exercises for ublocking mental "stuck" points, many of which come from the programs at the "Eureka! Ranch" (nee Mansion) which offers corporate workshops and classes in creativity. It's also full of quotes from Benjamin Franklin, a figure for which Hall appears to have a bit of a fetish ... he named his invention company "Richard Saunders International", based on a pen-name of Franklin's (as in Poor Richard's Almanack), and many quotes are attributed this way, but seem to be Hall's usage of the name rather than Franklin's.

The book is in three sections (well, more like two plus a coda), "Brain Training", "Eureka! Stimulus Response Explosion", and "Go4It", which cover how to envision problems, apply the Eureka! Stimulus Response system, and "commandments" for effectively putting this to work. By the time one has finished the book it feels like one has been through one of the Eureka! training sessions (heck, there's even a diploma in there as a "Trained Brain").

I got this hardcover copy at a used book sale a while back, and the specific volume is out of print (there's been an update ... v 2.0 ... since which is in print), but "very good" copies of Jump Start Your Brain can be had for 1¢ (plus shipping) from the Amazon new/used vendors, with "like new" copies going for as little as a buck. I make this point because there was quite a bit in this 1995 edition that sounds a bit dated (the Mac adoration, Princess Di referred to in the present tense, the lack of URLs, etc.) that I'm sure has been changed for the 2007 "2.0" version. As I'd recommend this to all and sundry, I did want to let folks know that it can be had in either "cheap" or "current" options!

Anyway, Jump Start Your Brain is a good, fun, and very useful read ... and I'd pretty much recommend it to everybody.


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