Most helpful positive review
Faced with a problem you can't solve... get upstream and change the context
on 20 January 2015
A book of stories about the power of the imaginative mind in the hands of a creative enquiring mind that is designed to grab your attention but makes you feel slightly short changed afterwards - somewhat like the world of advertising where its author hails from!
However, there are some great anecdotes containing famous quotes with elegant solutions to everyday problems, and most importantly in trying to overcome common attitudes of mediocrity, principilising (not formulating) wisdom "between the lines" of what life's circumstances brings forth has it seems been David Trott's journey since graduating from art school and we are now the benefactors of this treasure store.
I loved the observations that predatory thinking is a zero sum game at the material level in that you can't add something without taking away something; that 90% of advertising does not work; that you have to give up being spoon-fed; that believability beats truth; that trusted relationships are the ultimate point of difference among your competitive set; that not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts; that we can't assume everyone knows what we know; that we should look at the telescope from the other end; that if you cannot handle rejection you limit your possibilities for success; that lazy people don't want to grow and criticism is often more useful than praise; that resentment only hurts yourself; that those who can't, teach; that managing choice takes precedence over increasing choice; that to be reminded again "the ignorant are arrogant and cocksure, while the intelligent are full of doubt." (Russell); that in mass media you are only ever talking to one person; that great making simplifies and makes powerful; that "taste is the enemy of creativity" (Picasso); that it's OK to feel ncomfortable; that having the right credibility is no guarantee of being an expert; the difference between scepticism and cynicism; that don't try to be liked; that if we learn to ignore ourselves, we can do anything we want; that knowing your team's strengths and weaknesses increases trust in its capabalities; that having some skin in the game is like ham and eggs: the chicken is involved, but the pig is committed; that Germany lost the war because Hitler was a tactician (how-specialist) masquerading as a strategist (what-generalist), and therefore prone to making big picture blunders, whereas Churchill was a great strategist with tight deadlines and loose controls. I loved the example of the difference between effectiveness and efficiency, a common battle many of us face in bureacracies whose lingua franca can be the stuff of Orwellian nightmares.