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I read this book 5 or more years ago. I re-read it last month. Both times, it has stayed with me and pushed me to stretch myself and grow. What hit me then and what hit me now are entirely different parts of the book. Since the book didn't change much, it must be me coming back to it with a fresh perspective (and possibly some growth?!). That positive outcome is attributable, in part, to the information in this book.
This time, the concept of The First Third is something I've been using daily. I've posted a note on my desk that says "Push to the Third Third." This reminds me not to give up too quickly on generating new ideas and problem solving. Sometimes, I only make it to the Second Third. Even then, my ideas are bigger and broader and more innovative. Not only that, but I also get invigorated by the extra thinking and freedom that comes with allowing it to expand beyond the usual (the first third).
There is a lot in this book. But don't let that intimidate you! The author has broken it down into manageable chunks, and he uses simple examples and step-by-step instructions. Using even a little bit of what's here can make a big difference!
As we lament the lack of thought and generally knee-jerk reactions that govern our social media and more and more of our mainstream media, threatening to overtake the way we think and respond to everything, here’s a first-rate antidote. If you don’t want to be swept up in groupthink, if you want to help yourself and your kids and your company with some practical ways to “think better,” get your hands on Tim Hurson’s book and work your way through the tools of his trade. Tim promises that is IS possible to learn HOW to think better. It’s not a gift that some people are born with and others must do without. What a powerful, refreshing and downright radical idea! I think that the most important role we have as parents and grandparents, as citizens, as employees and employers, even (maybe especially!) as neighbors and Facebook friends is to learn how to think better and to express our thoughts better as we discuss the major issues of our day and times. We do need new ideas and innovation, and it would be great if we could all contribute in a civil manner. I don’t know if that was part of Tim’s goal for his super book, but I’m, pushing it into that role on its 10th anniversary, and I urge you to read it and pass it along to your friends. PS This should be a TOP book club choice!!
I like to read other reviews before I start - the ones with 1 and 2 stars. I'm always curious as to why people pan a book I enjoy. It's amazing how consistently it seems to be from people who consider themselves much smarter, or more educated, or more well-read than the author. Congratulations to you; clearly you don't need this book - but that doesn't make it a bad book. Quite the contrary; this is a very good book!
My work puts me in front of all types and sizes of businesses, and two things pop up regularly: 1) most managers lack any formal training with regard to planning, and 2) most managers struggle to get their employees to think and solve problems. This book provides significant help on both fronts. It is a fantastic resource for managers looking for a defined process for working through difficult problems, and is excellent for providing a common planning framework for teams to work from.
"Think Better" is much more than the standard "define the problem, brainstorm possible solutions, identify the ideal solution, implement the ideal solution" approach, and it will assuredly improve the planning/thinking skills of most every manager. Since clear thinking seems to be in short supply in the vast majority of organizations, I highly recommend it.
We live in a world where many people try to get through life and business with the "cliff notes" version of any topic without investing the time and energy to dig deeper. Companies and the people that work in them are often challenged to innovate but they find it difficult to get past doing what they've always done. As individuals, it can be easy to stay in our comfortable little boxes, all the while feeling as if we aren't living our most fulfilling life. As Tim points out in his outstanding book, productive thinking isn't something a few are born with. Everyone can learn to think critically and ask the kinds of questions that get them beyond surface answers.Getting past what Tim calls "reproductive thinking" leads to breakthroughs personally and professionally. Big problems cannot be solved by simply trying to rework old solutions. New thinking is required. Tim's book really inspired me to push my own thinking to new levels. This is a must-read for everyone and a book I highly recommend!
The last book from my `vacation reading list" is Think Better: An Innovator's Guide to Productive Thinking by Tim Hurson. Some of you may remember a brief mention of this book in a post titled "Critical Thinking vs Creative Thinking".
This is a very interesting book full of great information....kudos go to the author for writing in a style that is engaging and easy to read.
The premise of the book is to stop trying to think `creatively' or `critically'....start thinking productively. The author introduces the "Productive Thinking Model" that helps to combine and balance both creative thinking and critical thinking.
This model is made up of six steps, which are outlined below.
Step 1: What's going on?
In this step, you are encouraged to answer five questions to get a feel for what issue you are trying to resolve. These questions are:
* What's the Itch? This question helps you determine what needs to be fixed or improved. * What's the Impact? This question makes you think about how the issue is affecting you. * What's the Information?This question forces you to examine the information that you have about the issue to determine if you have enough information to address the issue. * Who's Involved? This question takes a look at the stakeholders and what might be at stake for each one. * What's the Vision?This question helps you make the switch from `what is' to `what might be' by asking things like "What would the future look like if the issue is resolved?"
Step 2: What's Success?
Using the Vision developed in Step 1, begin to think about the future if the issue is resolved. Begin to imagine what life would be like with the problem solved. Once you've got a good feel for how life might change, you would then create a list specific, measurable outcomes.
Step 3: What's The Question?
In step 3, you begin to develop the questions that must be answered in order to reach the vision of success that you developed in Steps 1 & 2. During this step, you rephrase each issue/problem as a question to help your subconscious understand there is something `to work on'. An example conversion given as the Problem Statement "We don't have enough budget" can be converted to the Problem Question "How might we increase our budget?". During this step, you would try to generate as many problem questions as possible....you want a long long list. Once you've exhaustively listed your questions, you can then begin to narrow them down to the two key questions that would have the most impact on the issue.
Step 4: Generate Answers
This is where you generate the ideas to answer the questions created in step 3. You again create a very long list of answers and then sift through them looking for the most ideal and promising answers.
Step 5: Forge the Solution
This step is where you take your most promising answers from step 4 and develop them into a robust solution.
Step 6: Align Resources
This final step requires you to identify the necessary steps and resources for implementing your solution. In addition, you ensure that all implementation steps are assigned to a designated resource who will be held accountable for their implementation.
With these six steps, the author has provided a framework for thinking more productively. The key throughout all six steps is to keep an open mind at all times. Do not criticize ideas. Do not discard ideas. By keeping an open mind, you'll be amazed at how many ideas you are able to generate.
If you are the least bit interested in the topic of creative/critical thinking, go buy this book.
Almost everything has been said about this book already...BUT, after reading this book I can think of 100 people who need this information. If you sit on a Management Board for any organization buy this book, if you are in a leadership position for any organization buy this book, if you are the President of any organization buy this book for your management team!
The Five Steps in Chapter 11 are terrific, Tim's step by step systems will absolutely make a difference in your own performance as well as your entire team. Ken Thoreson