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on 3 October 2007
......that's all it takes to learn how to come up with new & creative ideas, time after time. As Young says, the idea & the technique itself are so plain & logically simple that you may even miss it; despite the fact that the book is only some 48 pages long. It's easy to read & in your haste to learn "the secret" you may finish the book too quickly. Some thoughtful reading is required, so please don't dismiss the book because of its apparent brevity.

The fact that the book has survived successfully for over 40 years in print is testament to Young unique (but not new) teaching.

Although Young does not refer to it, I am reminded of many writers & books that go into great detail explaining the "science of the mind" & the wonderful way the brain [or mind] works & how it can be used to spawn new ideas & create solutions to problems. Sometimes referred to Mental Science, its philosophy & teachings go back thousands of years & weren't fully recognised until around the time of the 1900's.

If after reading this you wish to develop & research this technique further, I would highly recommend Emmet Fox's "Power Through Constructive Thinking".
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on 20 March 2009
What surprises you first (if you weren't expecting it) is that the book is so very tiny. For £4.99 you don't get many words for your money, and the first ten pages are introductions and a preface. However, once you get into it, its brevity is its charm. I suspect that readers divide into two camps. The ones who think he's right (and probably already follow Young's methods) and the ones who don't (and probably don't). I'm pitching my tent in the first.
As Young said, he's wasn't afraid to give away his secrets because he was certain that hardly anyone would be prepared to put the work into step one. His five step method is simple but not easy. It's a bit like writing a guide to joining an orchestra and giving step one as passing grade eight violin, with distinction. He also suggested that you never stop observing and recording everything you notice in your daily life. The other thing I particularly like, but which isn't part of modern business, is allowing yourself time to do something completely different. Young reckons that you have to give your brain a pleasant distraction while your massed collection of many possible combinations of thoughts unconsiously comes up with the big idea.
You might have your big idea while you're relaxing in the bath, but it won't happen if you haven't studied all the possible options beforehand.
Great thinkers of the past permitted themselves a breathing space to solve problems. Brindley, the Duke of Bridgewater's canal engineer, used to retire to bed to think until he had come up with his solution. Imagine suggesting that to your boss.
While you're using your imagination, picture what might happen when an ambitious business type looking for a fast, wonder-fix comes across a little book that tells them they have to change the way they live in order to become a more creative person. Not such a big hit, perhaps. TO have to time for seriously good ideas, you've got to put down your Blackberry, work reasonable hours, spend time on other interests apart from work, but while you're there dedicate your life to learning more and more about your business or craft.
Get one, and while you're there, get a copy for everyone who demands that you produce an eldless stream of ideas with no time in between to top up your supply of new experiences.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 19 January 2013
This booklet (28 pages) was originally published in 1940 and some new material was added twenty years later. The Foreword to the edition I have (published by Waking Lion Press in 2009) was provided by William Bernbach (1911-1982), one-time chairman and CEO of what was Doyle Dane Bernbach, then renowned for many of the greatest ads in the 20th century. The booklet's author, James Webb Young (1886-1973), added a "Prefatory Note" in 1960. His first publication, How To Become An Advertising Man (1963), focuses on core concepts that every ad practitioner and copywriter should know:

o Knowledge of Propositions
o Knowledge of Markets
o Knowledge of Messages
o Knowledge of Message Carriers
o Knowledge of Trade Channels
o Knowledge of How Advertising Works
o Knowledge of The Specific Situation

Today, these core concepts continue to provide the "basics" on which all effective marketing depends when attempting to create or increase demand for the given product and/or service and multi-media advertising is without doubt advertising's most powerful resource. However, for at least the past 75 years, everything begins with a compelling idea.

In A Technique for Producing Ideas, Webb offers what he characterizes as a "simple, five-step formula anyone can use to be more creative in business and in life! " Although the process itself is indeed simple, completing it to achieve the given results is a wholly different matter. Webb's focus is on the process by which to generate ideas. "They appear just as suddenly above the surface of the mind [like a lovely atoll above the surface of a deep blue sea]; and with that same air of magic and unaccountability. But the scientist knows that the South Sea atoll is the work of countless, unseen coral builders, working below the surface of the sea." Keep in mind that Webb developed or encountered this insight decades ago.

The details of the five-step "formula are best revealed in context, within the narrative. I will suggest now, however, that (a) this booklet is by no means relevant only to advertising or even to business in general, and (b) it can help almost anyone to develop more and better ideas when seeking a solution to a problem or an answer to a question. Because Webb thinks and writes so clearly, the booklet offers the additional benefit of helping its reader to reduce (if not eliminate) all the "clutter" in the mind that accumulates relentlessly over time.
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on 28 October 2001
Although it is not a very new book (about 50 years old), its significant, simplified, and disciplined way for innovative thinking is just as effective and valuable as the day it was first published. I am sure you will fall in love with the book so much that it will take an hour to read. Enjoy reading!
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on 5 April 2011
I bought this book because I've heard it mentioned often and it's really cheap!

It's also a very short book with quite large type!

Basically he says new ideas are made from putting bits of old ideas together, and that you should find out as much as you can and think on it, then go away and have a rest and come back and look again.

And combine things you've found out to create something new. That's really all there is to this book. So the title is very accurate, it is 'a' technique for coming up with ideas, but a pretty obvious one nowadays?
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on 6 December 2010
How can a book of less than fifty pages, published over sixty years ago, be relevant and useful to us now? Let me count the ways. This is a gem and deserves to be used (important point: not just read, but used) by anyone who wants to come up with more and better ideas, whether being creative is part of your job description, a hobby or simply an important part of how you live your life. Mr Young writes knowledgeably and humorously, outlines a straightforward five-step process - then challenges us to follow it.

Some creative souls may worry that this book will so demystify the process, they may lose their `magic'; that everyone out there, having read this book, will be able to have a go. That's Young's challenge: few of us will believe that producing ideas can really be so simple, and of those that do, few will try. Hi s book shows us the ways and means to do just that.
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on 20 April 2009
It's useful for helping you step back and evaluate the creative process. Short enough that you can read it often - which helps reinforce its message. I'd recommend it.
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VINE VOICEon 3 July 2014
The first thing you cannot help but notice is the size of the book. It is very short and pocket sized. But, each page is packed with very well written advise.

There are only 5 steps to churning out new ideas and the author clearly explains how this works. Like a lot of books in this area, the real progress comes from application. If you picked up a diet book you would expect some form of cutting down on calories and getting more exercise. This book is no different, you have to do something to get progress.

Don't try and shortcut his system, it works as a continuous process. A very simple tool that many advertising folks use is the swipe file. They store useful letters and adverts for ideas and later use. The author recognises this and encourages you to get curious about your subject.

I now keep this with me during the week. It is a book I re-read on a very regular basis. If you work in an idea based job, this is essential reading.
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on 24 August 2009
Great book! Clearly defines the process of tninking and idea finding. Thre might be some exclusions and cases. Yet it fits to my overall experience. Translated to Turkish as "How to find good ideas" in tricky way.
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on 26 November 2007
Very few books I've read are so direct and simple. The author gives away his secrets in this book, he says that he is not scared to do so because - as with many things - very few people are actually dedicated and disciplined enough to follow through (I'm paraphrasing).

It gives you the principles and methods in a 1 hour read, whether you get ideas and the quality of your ideas all depend on you.

Great, great, great book.
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