Thursday Thought-Self Help: A Whack on the Side of the Head

Years ago, in my incarnation as a local TV worker bee, I went to a conference for promotion and marketing types. I wasn’t really a promo person, but the TV station’s general manager decided that since I was a writer, I could do the station’s promo. I was also a smoker in those days. I didn’t know anyone at the conference, but struck up conversations with people in the smoking section of the lobby.  Net working with those folks was more valuable than the workshops.

I ended up with my very first laptop as a result of that conference (and when I left the station, I negotiated the laptop as part of my package). And I learned about A Whack on the Side of the Head.

The book isn’t self-help for personal or even profession growth in the traditional sense. There is no advice about how to manage your in box, your email, or delegating to your underlings (of if there is, the rest outweighs the arrogance). Instead, Whack is about learning to look at situations from another angle. Turning problems upside down, sideways, and inside out. Stretching the limitations of your creativity.

I rushed home and ordered the book and the Creative Whack Pack from Amazon.  The Whack Pack, according to my favorite on-line merchant, is going or has gone out of print. It’s a deck of cards using the methods/ideas from the book to assist in choosing a method to deal with your situation. Example: I just drew the SUBSTITUTE card. There is a small blurb, then the question: “What can you substitute?” The purpose is to not only get the reader to think outside the box, but in some cases, destroy the box.

The book is full of gems, such as “Sacred cows make great steaks.” (Richard Nicolosi, businessman), and “All art is a series of recoveries from the first line. The hardest thing to do is put down the first line. But you must.” (Nathan Olivera, artist).

The book is from 1983, so parts of it are dated, especially when it comes to technology, but the premises are sound. And I believe it has been updated and expanded.