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How to Get Ideas Paperback – 1 Feb 2007


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About the Author

Jack Foster spent 35 years working in the creative department of major advertising agencies; the first ten as a writer, the last 25 as a creative director. During the 15 years Foster spent as the executive director of Foote, Cone & Belding in Los Angeles, it grew to be the largest advertising agency on the West Coast. Foster had helped create advertising for over a hundred companies including Carnation, Mazda, Sunkist, Mattel, ARCO, First Interstate Bank, Albertson's, Oreida, Suzuki, Denny's, Universal Studios, Rand McNally, and Smokey Bear. He won dozens of advertising awards including being named "Creative Person of the Year" by the Los Angeles Creative Club. For seven years he helped teach an advanced class at USC that was sponsored by the American Association of Advertising Agencies, and for three years he helped teach an extension class at UCLA on creating advertising. He earned a BS in business administration from Northwestern University. He currently lives in Santa Barbara, CA

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Amazon.com: 49 reviews
47 of 49 people found the following review helpful
Thinking the Einstein way 4 May 2007
By Frank S. Joseph - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
"Albert Einstein said his best ideas came to him while he was shaving," Jack Foster writes in "How to Get Ideas" (2nd ed.). When I read that line, what could I do? I put the book down for a moment and went to shave.

That's about the only time I stopped reading though, and you won't be able to put it down either. For boosting creativity, this book is a lifesaver.

Foster's advice is simple -- have fun, think like a child again, open your mind to new possibilities -- but not necessarily obvious. Most of us do the same old things and think in the same old ways. Foster aims to help us spot these unhelpful patterns, then break out with easy-to-follow tips and stimulating exercises.

And anecdotes. Foster draws on decades of experience as a top creative hand in major advertising agencies, where he encountered guys and gals driven by curiosity -- people who found out how much a ten-gallon hat will hold (three-quarters of a gallon) and how many times per day an African elephant will defecate (16). Illustrating how to solve a problem by stepping around it, Foster tells the story of the woman who solved the slow-elevator problem in her building -- by mounting mirrors in the lobby. (How did she do it? See P. 134.)

You'll discover how to overcome the fears that keep you from thinking creatively ... easy ways to gather information ... combining unrelated facts for new ideas ... the five steps for getting great new ideas ... and how to put them to work for YOU.

You'll finish reading "How to Get Ideas" in an hour or two. But you'll benefit from its advice for the rest of your life.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Clear and Simple 10 Jan 2009
By Jane Freese - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Now that Malcolm Gladwell, author of Outliers, has shown us that success is as much a result of opportunity as natural ability, there is no reason not to embrace the notion that anyone can be more creative by simply learning how.

Sometimes you have to read something that makes you feel happy and optimistic. This book does that. It condenses great wisdom into nuggets using quotes and examples. Maybe it doesn't say anything radically new, but it says it in such a straight forward way that it is inspiring.

Foster was in the advertising business, but his techniques work across the board. This book was recommended to me by a freelance writer who told me that the secret to not getting hung up on each acceptance or rejection was to have a number of projects cooking at the same time. The way to do that is to have a growing collection of ideas.

Ideas are important, but action is more so. The greatest achievers didn't quit when faced with rejection (perseverance), or when they were faced with unexpected results (flexible), or then they were threatened with failure and ridicule (courage).

Foster encourages everyone to venture away from the familiar. Explore topics that you arbitrarily decided were uninteresting or difficult. Above all, take a chance.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
The original book came out in 1996. This new version only has 1 review so far - so I wrote a second. 21 May 2007
By Jeff Lippincott - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is a really good book. It was entertaining to read while also educational. The first edition came out in 1996 I think, and this edition just came out earlier this month. The new edition has two new chapters, 5 and 8, which were added because readers thought the information they contain was missing from the first edition.

The book is split into two parts. The first part covers 10 ways you can "search for ideas." And it is by the far the longer of the two parts. The second part explains the five steps of how to get ideas:

1. Define the problem

2. Gather the information

3. Search for the idea

4. Forget about it

5. Put the idea into action

Theoretically, I suppose, the book could have been set up so the second part was actually the first. And the first part could have been relegated to the end. I say this because the first part is really just an expansion of the "third step" of the five steps.

I enjoyed the humor, the quotes, and the stories included in the author's discussion regarding 10 ways to search for ideas. And thus it made perfect sense to me why he put that material at the front of the book. I read the book to see if it would have some practical use to my SCORE clients who are wanta-be entrepreneurs and small business owners. I think there is a practical use, and I recommend that my clients and similarly situated people read this book. It will help them create their business plans and revamp those plans as time passes. 5 stars!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Quality Piece for Producing Effective Ideas 3 Sep 2008
By TW - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There are many well known techniques for developing new ideas; however, producing high-quality and effective ideas is not always so straightforward. Jack Foster provides effective methods for producing valuable ideas in a very enjoyable book packed with examples, applicable stories, real world applications and a good deal of humor.

The advertising/marketing field is among the most idea intensive industries requiring a steady supply of inspiration for mere survival in the profession. Foster details his numerous experiences in advertisement agencies as well as his management roles in marketing firms providing significant insight on how ideas are formed for profit in the business world. Foster and his associates have often had to dig deep to continuously develop high-quality ideas and he shares the tactics and devices that proved most effective.

This book is not long and can be read in short order, but do not let this fool you; the content is packed with many useful tidbits on generating ideas that if put into practice will have your mind actively producing effective ideas at once. There is no doubt if you are just searching for a better way, are stuck in a rut, or looking for that life changing idea, then this book will be an asset.
19 of 26 people found the following review helpful
Ideas!!! 21 Sep 2007
By Farid Awad - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book is a great book to read, the best thing it includes are quotes of famous people, which are mainly funny. Personally I do not believe that this book provided me with any new ways or measures of thinking to get more ideas, it's more of a different theories of people on how to think!!!!

If you are interested in having a good read buy this book, but don't put your hopes up high......
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