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Outsmart the Unexpected: Grow Your Creativity The Edge-of-your-seat Way Paperback – 22 Dec 2008

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Amazon.com: 16 reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Great way to increase your analytical prowess 3 Mar. 2009
By B. Phillips - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book was fun to read I especially love the suggestions made in the appendix. I love to play the game of chess where I'm constantly solving problems over a game board. As a chess hobbyist and enthusiast, I love anything that allows me to exercise my analytical gears. This book pushed me to ask the right questions in order to shed light on each described situation. The beauty is that there really are no wrong or right solutions - you can be as rational or irrational as your mood dictates. Therefore, anyone who depends on their creativity at work or play should read this book as a way to allowing their creative juices to gush.

Various problematic or unresolved scenarios are described in the form of short stories while clues are sprinkled along the way about the scenarios and the characters. The question is then posed which essentially asks: How would you solve this problem or what would you do in this situation? The resulting mental exercises encourage us to use our imaginations and creative skills to analytically determine the best or most creative solutions based on mental prowess, understanding of the problem, personal values and personality.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Fun way to keep your mind sharp 22 Sept. 2009
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
It is an interesting concept for a book and it encourages readers to use their imaginations. The situations the characters find themselves in can sometimes seem very dire and in some cases I found myself thinking, "Oh no! This cannot end well", but the beauty of the book is that if you like happy endings, it is up to you to use your creativity to find one.

The book encourages you to ask questions and analyze the various scenarios from different angles. What are the issues? What significant information is omitted? What reasonable solutions (or unreasonable solutions) are possible? This book is a fun activity for an evening home with friends (game night for critical thinkers). You can read the book out loud and discuss the possible outcomes. It is interesting to see what conclusion other people draw and their reasoning. The discussions can lead to some very stimulating conversations and your friends may even surprise you with the conclusions they draw. You may even gain some new insights into your own creativity and critical thinking skills.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Give your personal creativity a shot in the arm 9 Dec. 2009
By Patricia Christian - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
In this debut effort the author presents us with bite-size stories that stop just short of the climax leaving the reader to ponder " what happens?" . In fact, that's our task - to determine the answer to that question based on how we've understood the stories and read the clues. There are no right or wrong conclusions just different ones depending upon the readers interpretation, imagination and creativity. It's like having a friend present you with a dilemma , tell you how he's thinking of attacking it and asking for your advice and when you give it, you find out he had something else in mind altogether. Or being confronted with a situation at work that you've never before encountered requiring you to think on your feet and find a workable solution. It's even a bit like wondering what will happen next Fall when your favorite show leaves you hanging after this season 's finale. Do the police catch the murderer? Does the wounded character survive? As a viewer, you have all kinds of theories about how the situation will be resolved and presented when the show returns, but the producers may come up with something else entirely. It just proves that there are many ways to skin the proverbial cat.

In this book the reader only gets the highlights of the situation that the character is facing and has to work with information that is often "sketchy" or "sparse", as she points out, so you don't just have to come up with an ending, you have to fill in the gaps along the way. By supposing what's in those gaps, you have more information to help you arrive at a logical conclusion and help the character out of his fix. You may have an "aha" and come up with a solution right away and other times you'll have to let things marinate a little before you settle on your answer, but however you reach your conclusion, it will tell you a little about how you solve problems. The stories provide avid puzzlers with some brain exercise that requires analysis and deduction and by extension asks them to consider the consequences of their proposed outcomes.

The book challenges us to look beyond the ordinary, because as much as we're weighing alternatives all the time when we see things play out around us, we don't often come across the kinds of situations we see in her book, but they are good training to help us hone our decision-making skills. From mystery to mayhem and anywhere from 1 1/2 to 5 pages in length, these stories are just long and involved enough to get your creative juices bubbling without bogging you down with a lot of extraneous detail. It's a fun, entertaining way to spark your inner artist.

Outsmart the Unexpected would make great material for a book club discussion or a terrific teaching aid for a writing class, similar to books like The Artists Way which asks the reader to build a story around an ordinary object randomly placed . It can make for some very active discussions without any reprecussions for making the "wrong" decision.

We've all heard that keeping the mind active and exercised will help keep it healthy so if your're looking for something besides crossword puzzles and Sudoku, Outsmart the Unexpected is a good tool to add to your repetoire.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Be your own hero-solve your own problems 28 Dec. 2009
By Morning Hill Walker - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Yes, you have a chance to make your own happy ending, be your own hero and stretch your brain with the various scenarios in this quirky little book. Not a parlor game but then again it would really enliven any party as several short problematic scenarios are presented. You are asked to solve them. I took this to my office and we spent several lunch hours going over the possibilities. It is really fascinating to see others flex their comfort zones to come up with answers using creative problem solving skills. There are no right answers. You are on your own to work with the facts presented. Not just fun or thought provoking, it leaves you wanting to go through the entire book. Meanwhile you are using your creativity, decision making chops and critical thinking skills to solve problems you hope you never encounter.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Imagination Stretcher ... 19 Dec. 2009
By Alex S - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I have to confess - I live my life in an uncomplicated manner. I believe that telling the truth is always the best strategy. I also have read many books that have made me aware of things to watch out for in dealing with people in order to avoid dangerous situations.

So, often I find myself upset at characters who mess up their lives because they don't pay attention, or because they aren't willing to take the consequences of their actions. I find myself yelling - "Just tell the truth!" or "Don't get into the car, fool!" But not a single character listens to me. In this case, I got to be the "author" and try to help them out of their difficulties.

Regina Pacelli asks you to resolve these situations two ways:

1) Put yourself into the shoes of the individual in the problem, and try to imagine how they (being who they are) would have the ability to resolve the situation. So, a person who is totally passive would find it difficult to act aggressively, and you would need to find a passive solution.

2) Ask yourself how you would resolve the situation personally. This allows you to put yourself into the scenario.

I anticipated scenarios where you would have to extricate yourself from difficult situations. And some of the scenarios did include this as a factor.

However, a majority of the situations involved interacting with other people to resolve the issue presented. How could you (or would you) get out of the situation by things that you say to them. Since you can only guess at the outcome if you act in a certain way, you can't be certain if your choice would have been the correct one.

I did find myself stretched as I tried to figure out, not how to "fix" the person who got into the predicament, but rather how to resolve it with their limited personality and/or skills. It helped me to envision the kinds of situations certain behavior generates, and to understand what being in their skins involve.

I also enjoyed it on the storytelling level, asking myself what the likely response could be to the scenario, and creating an ending that matched the beginning.

This is an unusual and unexpected book, and I have spent close to three weeks working through the stories, sorting out what would be done. Special thanks to Regina Pacelli for offering me a copy for review. I have grown through perusing this book, and suggest it as an opportunity for you to grow as well.

Well, not just grow - you can stop yelling at the characters and actually tell them what to do. :-)

Four stars and recommended for a fun experience!
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