Review by Brandie Tan, executive creative director at J. Walter Thompson Philippines
If you've watched the TV show House M.D. and you've seen many episodes, you might have noticed that Dr. House gets his solutions about how to cure a patient while having a conversation with one of the other characters about another topic. His eureka moment. You can see it coming. He's in the middle of a conversation about a friend's love life then, BANG! It hits him on the head like a sledgehammer. His eyes get wider and bigger than it already is. He stands and leaves his friend in mid-sentence.
What happens with Dr. House also happens to Sherlock Holmes. If you watch the BBC series Sherlock you'll see him get a eureka moment in the exact same way Dr. House does—in the middle of a conversation about some other topic. This happens to both of them because Dr. House was based on Sherlock Holmes' character.
This happens to them both also because it's based on how most of us get our ideas. Ideas, or solutions, form in our brains after all the information about the problem to be solved has been read and researched. After the incubation period. Then outside stimulus help glue all these information together.
Dave Trott's latest book titled (first published in 2015), One Plus One Equals Three does exactly that. I would consider it an anthology of short essays about nothing in particular about advertising nor creativity. But, its aim is to help spark that light bulb in our heads using free association. Which leads to the subtitle of the book: A Masterclass in Creative Thinking.
Dave Trott is the author of Creative Mischief and Predatory Thinking and founded four award-winning ad agencies. He was born in East London, he went to art school in New York on a Rockefeller Scholarship. From there he began an illustrious career in advertising, as part of the creative team behind 'Hello Tosh Got A Toshiba', 'Aristonandonandon', the Cadbury Flake ads and many, many more.
Dave's agency—Gold Greenlees Trott—was voted Agency of the Year by Campaign magazine, and Most Creative Agency in the world by Ad Age in New York. In 2004 he was given the D&AD President's Award for lifetime achievement in advertising.
One Plus One Equals Three is divided into nine chapters: 1. Regret is Worse Than Embarrassment, 2. Choice Architecture, 3. The Spirit of the Law, Not the Letter of the Law, 4. The Message is the Medium, 5. Disaster is a Gift, 6. The Value of Ignorance, 7. Question the Question, 8. Belief Trumps Fact, and 9. Creativity is Messy. Each chapter has several essays with different seemingly unrelated topics. It feels like reading different topics on Facebook. This time; however, it’s not fake news. You can skip the chapters or you can choose to skip some of the stories and mark it to read it again some other time. But, do read all of them, eventually.
In the last chapter, Creativity is Messy is a piece titled Keep It Dark. Where Dave writes about How Ridley Scott had to make do with the budget given to him by the studio to make Blade Runner. Scott was asked to use an old 1920's studio backlot. Then he realized the future wouldn't look all new. It would look both new and with stuff that came before it. BANG!