Expect the Unexpected (or You Won't Find It): A Creativity Tool Based on the Ancient Wisdom of Heraclitus

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9781576752272: Expect the Unexpected (or You Won't Find It): A Creativity Tool Based on the Ancient Wisdom of Heraclitus

Heraclitus lived 2,500 years ago, but his adages, including ""You can't step in the same river twice"" and ""Dogs bark at what they don't understand, "" remain surprisingly relevant today. Expect the Unexpected or You Won't Find It uses 30 of Heraclitus's epigrams to unleash creativity. Treating each saying as an inexhaustible source of inspiration, author Roger von Oech supplies anecdotes, riddles, questions, and hidden jokes designed to topple old modes of thought and fire the imagination. Reversing expectations, turning change to advantage, creating powerful metaphors -- these concepts derived from Heraclitus can help anyone searching for new approaches to problem solving.

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The ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus was the first "creativity teacher," says Roger von Oech, whose bestselling book A Whack on the Side of the Head set the standard for out-of-the-box thinking. In Expect the Unexpected, Von Oech uses 30 of Heraclitus's pithy and paradoxical epigrams to approach problems in a fresh manner. He explains his premise: "Creative thinking involves imagining familiar things in a new light, digging below the surface to find previously undetected patterns, and finding connections among unrelated phenomena."

Von Oech uses the epigrams as creativity exercises--accompanied by mental puzzles, anecdotes, questions, and punchy footnotes--to demonstrate that Heraclitus's 2,500-year-old creative insights have aged well. With his whimsical wand, von Oech transforms the epigram "A Donkey prefers garbage to gold" into an exploration of values. He uses Heraclitus's observation that "A wonderful harmony is created when we join together the seemingly unconnected" to examine the use of metaphors in understanding problems. When Heraclitus observes that "Dogs bark at what they don't understand," Von Oech crafts a meditation about criticism. Executives, students, teachers, and parents will find an exciting and entertaining map for changing thought patterns, tolerating ambiguity, confounding expectations, and searching for hidden meanings. --Barbara Mackoff

About the Author:

Roger von Oech is the founder and president of Creative Think, a California based consulting firm specialising in stimulating creativity and innovation. He has previously written A Whack on the Side of the Head and A Kick in the Seat of the Pants, he lives in Atherton, California.

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