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Ball of Whacks with Book(s) [Toy]

Roger von Oech
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
RRP: 24.74
Price: 24.48 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
You Save: 0.26 (1%)
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Frequently Bought Together

Ball of Whacks with Book(s) + X-Ball-Red [With Toy] + Star-Ball Magnetic Puzzle
Price For All Three: 61.20

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Product details

  • Toy: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Creative Whack Company (5 Sep 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0911121013
  • ISBN-13: 978-0911121018
  • Product Dimensions: 14.4 x 9.2 x 9.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 485,199 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

30 magnetic pyramid shaped pieces that act as building blocks! Includes a fun activity guidebook! -- Are you stumped for ideas? Do you want a fresh perspective on a problem? -- This ball of magnetic pieces is proven to jump start your creativity and imagination. Based on the rhombic triacontahedron, this ball consists of 30 magnetic pyramid shaped pieces that act as building blocks for an unlimited number of uses. -- You can create inspiring shapes, challenge yourself to recreate patterns shown in the activity book, have fun forming new designs, and much more! -- Recommended ages 8+

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Epochal Innovation Breakthrough! 12 Oct 2006
By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Toy
If you only employ one creativity-enhancing resource for the rest of your life, make that resource the Ball of Whacks!

Breakthroughs in effective creativity-inspiring methods seldom occur. Most "new" methods are simply restatements or reshapings of ideas that flourished among the ancient Greeks (such as Heraclitus, a favorite source for Mr. von Oech) or before. Those who are familiar with the earlier work usually don't gain much from the newer approaches. The Ball of Whacks is a happy exception. Heraclitus would say that you can never interact with the Ball of Whacks twice in the same way. And he would be right.

The most valuable creativity-enhancing methods I've experienced usually require having a team work together, with one of the tasks involving making little models or prototypes of creative concepts. I often find myself wishing I could have those experiences more often . . . but seldom having the right people and time to pursue that desire.

Then, I discovered Roger von Oech's Ball of Whacks. Wow!

My frustrations are now behind me.

This is day 8 of working with the Ball of Whacks. It's been quite an education. I can hardly wait to find out what I'll learn on day 9!

When you first see the Ball of Whacks, you won't quite know what to make of it. Open the box, take out the ball, the magnetic stand and the workbook.

Then, let yourself go. Discover what the ball is. To the geometrically inclined, you'll notice that it's a rhombic triacontahedron (try saying that 5 times fast!), a ball-like shape with edges formed by 30 rhombi (a rhombus is a four-sided equilateral with two pairs of parallel sides) that resemble scaled-down versions of an Egyptian pyramid done in red. The ball feels somewhat alive, however.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ball of fun 4 Jan 2010
Format:Toy
The Ball of Whacks is a great fun toy, for young and not-so-young. It is very satisfactory in tactile terms and handling it is stimulating. May seem expensive, but it is built to last and the small sized book contains a number of good suggestions and is generally thought-provoking. Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Imaginative 24 Mar 2010
By Keith Appleyard VINE VOICE
Format:Toy
A friend bought this in New York, and I wanted one, so I'm so happy Amazon UK stock it.
Good fun to play with; requires a little skill to get it started, but then everything just drops into place naturally. Its not meant for those who like hard-to-solve puzzles, its more a relaxation piece.
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5.0 out of 5 stars "Best present ever!" 3 Jan 2013
By Iris DG
Format:Toy|Verified Purchase
My son of 12 is a fan of puzzles, but also loves math, and he called this the best present ever!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  115 reviews
59 of 65 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Geometric Hand Candy 18 Oct 2006
By Karl E. Boggs - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Toy
I received my Ball of Whacks about a week ago and have trouble putting it (ok, them) down. Interacting and playing with it is extremely addictive and I have hooked my boss and another coworker by giving them each one.

When I was younger I made crystal models out of marbles and geodesic domes out of cardboard and remember the excitement of uncovering different relationships between the shapes. The Ball of Whacks is bringing back that feeling of exploration and discovery and has quite a few patterns built into those 30 pieces. I forgot how much fun I had doing those explorations as a kid and can't figure out why I ever stopped. The Ball of Whacks includes the symmetries of all five platonic solids if you play with it long enough.

I would suggest getting a couple of them - at least one for your desk and one for playing at home. You may need extras to share with family and colleagues and they are fun to combine into larger constructions as well.

In creative problem solving sessions with coworkers I like to bring in various toys both to stimulate their playfulness and to change their environment a bit. I am looking forward to trying out the BoWs in my next session although I am a bit worried that I might not get them back readily.

Awesomely fun and gets the brain juices flowing too!!!
29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as expected 4 April 2007
By K. Nieberding - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Toy
I was excited to get this based on the reviews, but I found the toy more inhibitive than expected. The odd shape of the blocks combined with the limited amount only allow a couple different arrangements, all tending more or less toward a ball-like design. Things like the "frog" in the picture are about the most you can spread it out, but it will be too fragile to touch at that point. I felt like this could have been cool, but the pieces just aren't as flexible as I would like (such as Legos). This was not worth the money to me.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great for your coffee table 7 May 2007
By Bert Poly - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Toy|Verified Purchase
When I was a kid my family always had a game or puzzle on the coffee table to twiddle with when watching TV. Even though in this TiVo world we watch commercials less, the Ball of Whacks still gets picked up and played with while the TV is on.

This is a timeless toy that can be split and combined in a zillion ways. Not quite the rubik's cube of the 00's, but fun for kids and adults.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars wimpy magnets 22 Mar 2011
By Brenda Gish - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Toy|Verified Purchase
Durability: 3.0 out of 5 stars    Educational: 1.0 out of 5 stars    Fun: 1.0 out of 5 stars   
I was expecting much stronger magnets. I was very disappointed and wish I had purchased Bucky Balls instead. It's very light weight and not all sides of each piece are magnetic. This makes it difficult to be creative and build other shapes.
55 of 71 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Epochal Innovation Breakthrough! 12 Oct 2006
By Donald Mitchell - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Toy
If you only employ one creativity-enhancing resource for the rest of your life, make that resource the Ball of Whacks!

Breakthroughs in effective creativity-inspiring methods seldom occur. Most "new" methods are simply restatements or reshapings of ideas that flourished among the ancient Greeks (such as Heraclitus, a favorite source for Mr. von Oech) or before. Those who are familiar with the earlier work usually don't gain much from the newer approaches. The Ball of Whacks is a happy exception. Heraclitus would say that you can never interact with the Ball of Whacks twice in the same way. And he would be right.

The most valuable creativity-enhancing methods I've experienced usually require having a team work together, with one of the tasks involving making little models or prototypes of creative concepts. I often find myself wishing I could have those experiences more often . . . but seldom having the right people and time to pursue that desire.

Then, I discovered Roger von Oech's Ball of Whacks. Wow!

My frustrations are now behind me.

This is day 8 of working with the Ball of Whacks. It's been quite an education. I can hardly wait to find out what I'll learn on day 9!

When you first see the Ball of Whacks, you won't quite know what to make of it. Open the box, take out the ball, the magnetic stand and the workbook.

Then, let yourself go. Discover what the ball is. To the geometrically inclined, you'll notice that it's a rhombic triacontahedron (try saying that 5 times fast!), a ball-like shape with edges formed by 30 rhombi (a rhombus is a four-sided equilateral with two pairs of parallel sides) that resemble scaled-down versions of an Egyptian pyramid done in red. The ball feels somewhat alive, however. It gives when you squeeze it and resumes it shape when you stop squeezing it. As soon as you take out a piece, you'll discover that the ball is composed of 30 design blocks that use magnetism to adhere to one another.

As you take the pieces apart, the ball disappears and many regular and irregular shapes occur. Usually, that's the end for me. I can never recover the original shape (my Rubik's cube is still a mess!), but the ball is easy to reform (if I can do it, you can too).

I like abstract shapes and I was pleased to find that the magnets act both to attract and repel the pieces. Unlike Lego pieces, connections can be made in all kinds of odd ways. I also noticed that the pieces often reshape themselves, almost organically, as they choose a different connection than the one that I initiated. The casual results are often better than my planned ones.

Based on a suggestion in the workbook, I began mixing in other objects that could be held by the design blocks. The results were infinitely more interesting and rewarding than anything I'd ever created before. I felt a great sense of peace from the experience. Many people had told me I would like sculpting, but I lacked the confidence to try. With the Ball of Whacks, I felt like a super sculptor . . . but without any lessons.

After several days of working on abstract shapes, I decided to try geometric shapes. These were paradoxically harder to do in many cases. The magnetism sometimes fought me. I had to design clever solutions to create the regularity I wanted to see.

I also left the Ball of Whacks out to see what others would say. Everyone noticed that I kept changing it. Without thinking, rewarding new designs would emerge in a few seconds. I gained confidence in my creativity involving forms.

At the same time, I was working on a number of non-physical problems. Soon, I began seeing metaphors in the blocks and my designs for those problems. New and better solutions began to flood my mind.

Feeling like I should read more of the workbook, I now found myself intrigued by the directions for how to use the Ball of Whacks to expand my creative repertoire. I began to see huge gaps between the methods I prefer to use, gaps that I could easily explore and understand with my new appreciation of my creativity habits.

Best of all, the lessons are deeply ingrained. The human nervous system is mostly made up of connections between the hands and eyes to and from the brain. By both holding and seeing what I was working on, the exercise connects more parts of my brain and experience. I find totally different memories being stimulated, especially those from the sandbox and while playing with modular toys.

Today, I went back and totally redid a book proposal I'm working on. I was astonished to see that my mind was connecting those little blocks from The Ball of Whacks into new ways of assembling the pieces of the proposal. I would never have expected that.

What does the name mean? I don't think there's just one meaning. It obviously sounds like "ball of wax" which is something that warms and becomes malleable in our hands. I'm reminded of the red wax that you peel off of Edam cheese to form shapes. At another level, a "whack" in von Oech's vocabulary is a way of getting you to let go of artificial assumptions. In that sense, this is a tool to give you lots of whacks. And it does.

I haven't done all of the exercises yet, but I plan to. Each of the ones I've done has been quite an eye-opener.

Here's a tip. Turn off the TIVO while you're watching television and use the commercial breaks to play with the Ball. The baseball playoffs are excellent for this purpose because you get all kinds of short delays.

Be smart. Give a Ball of Whacks to each of your children rather than purchasing another toy. You'll inspire genius that will constantly fascinate you.
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