This book is not new, but is pretty valuable. I’ve always loved coming back to A Whack on the Side of the Head from time to time to revisit the ideas and see if they kickstart anything new in my skull–especially if I am suffering a particularly bad dry spell in the creativity department.
Roger von Oech’s most valuable contribution to the fight writer’s block game comes in identifying barriers to creativity you probably don’t even see or percieve as standing in your way. He lists out sets of bad assumptions, limited thinking, and “we never did it that way before” notions, giving suggestions on how to break these unwritten rules to your creative advantage.
A lot of this is reminiscent of Brian Eno’s Oblique Strategies, but in a more straightforward way. Where Eno would say “Honor thy error as thy hidden intention”, von Oech says “be foolish” and “mistakes are good”. Either way, the end result is getting out of that rut you’re in.
This is an excellent book to pull out when you’re feeling creatively stifled. Just one of von Oech’s great ideas can set your brain back in motion and leave you feeling like you’ve set yourself free from the quagmire. Great stuff, highly recommended.
Buy A Whack on the Side of the Head for $10.87