Saturday, March 26, 2011

Book Review: "How To Get Ideas" by Jack Foster

5 out of 5 Stars

My husband suggested this book to me. It was a required book for his English class. Anyone in an field, whether in the arts or not could still glean tools towards creative thinking found in this book. How To Get Ideas was a fun book for me to read. It is a short, quick read (I finished it in a week), but it is packed full of information. As I was reading it I kept thinking, “Wow, I need to tell my teachers about this book and convince them to make it a required reading for their classes.” Foster starts his book out by defining what exactly is an idea. He declared it a “new combination of old elements.” Just having the definition of an idea alone helped me to start thinking and seeing things a little differently.

Foster gives 10 great tools in 10 great chapters for generating ideas (or as he put it “idea-condition your mind”): Have Fun, Be More Like a Child, Become Idea-Prone, Visualize Success, Rejoice in Failure, Get More Inputs, Screw Up Your Courage, Team Up with Energy, Rethink Your Thinking, and Learn How to Combine. After every couple pages I would find myself putting the book down to write notes, ideas, and insights to his suggestions. I felt very inspired to put what he was preaching into practice. It takes effort, but I see it as a valuable return.

Foster finishes the book with a “five-step method for producing ideas.” There is a chapter for each step where he discusses what to do and why to do it. The idea is to combine idea making tools with an idea making formula and great ideas will be born. I felt like Foster, who has worked for years in the advertising industry, had a lot to offer on creative thinking. He gives personal stories and insights, but his book is also stalked full with examples and quotes from others as well.


  1. Creativity is useful not just for the arts, but all those who look for different paths and processes. (Like my husband using spreadsheet-style formulas to create applications for accounting reports suited specifically for individual companies.) Sometimes just getting a different point of view or changing how you think about a thing can change your ability to work with stuff.

    Thanks for the useful tips on books!

  2. I love book reviews so thank you for posting such an interesting review. At first the title of this book really pulls you in. I am so glad to find out that it is useful.

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