Wednesday, September 20, 2006

'Conceptual Blockbusting'

The title of this blog entry comes from the name of a book I read an excerpt from, by James L. Adams. The basic idea was that, we cloud our vision by prejudices that come out of stereotypes that we hold for different kinds of people and situations. When approaching a situation with most of the information pre-determined, we lose the ability to form honest, valid opinions about others or the problem at hand.

This can lead to us imposing more than social limitations on ourselves.. it can also affect our ability to be effective problem solvers. If we approach any kind of problem from this point of view, be it getting to know someone, or trying to figure out why a computer program is buggy, we risk missing a lot of elegant solutions. In other words, we restrict our creativity, which is largely our ability to put together disparate ideas. Creativity in problem solving often leads to innovative and inspired solutions, so clearly it would be a shame to do anything to hinder this.

He mentions another author in his book: Edward De Bono. I was pretty happy about this, as De Bono is one of my favorite authors on the subject of creative thinking. De Bono has a book out which, I can recommend highly, and is also referenced in Adams' writing, called Lateral Thinking. It touches on points that Adams discusses, and has been singularly important in helping me break out of my own bad thinking/perception habits.

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