Summary of Inside the Box

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Inside the Box book summary
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  • Innovative
  • Applicable


Authors Drew Boyd and Jacob Goldenberg explain that their title refers to their rejection of the idea that creativity comes from thinking outside the box – as the cliché goes. They clearly enjoy systematically demolishing misconceptions about creativity. They demonstrate that you can become systematically, practically, functionally creative. Their explanations are clear, and they include numerous, convincing real-world examples of new ideas and innovations to illustrate their techniques. If you’ve ever come away from a brainstorming session excited by the experience, and reviewed your notes only to realize that no one generated any new ideas, then step inside this readable, inspiring box. getAbstract recommends Boyd and Goldenberg’s manual to a broad audience, but especially to innovators and to those interested in creativity and psychology.

About the Authors

Drew Boyd directs the Master of Science in Marketing Program at the University of Cincinnati. Jacob Goldenberg, editor of the International Journal of Research in Marketing, is a professor at Hebrew University of Jerusalem.




People usually think of creativity as freewheeling and anarchic. Terms like “brainstorming” evoke ideas falling in torrents, like rain. Being urged to think “outside the box” suggests that your best thinking occurs beyond everyday limits. Common thinking says you must escape that “box” if you want to be creative. Common thinking is wrong.

Alex Osborn, founder of BBDO ad agency, coined the phrase “brainstorming” in 1953, arguing that the process encourages the collective thinking that provides organizations with many free ideas. Academics studying brainstorming found that generating ideas as a group conveys no particular benefits. Groups generate fewer ideas, and of lower quality, than individuals working alone. The most productive creativity occurs “inside the box.” Creativity does not work best when unrestrained; constraint fuels creativity. People become usefully creative when they utilize “templates.” The mind naturally follows patterns. The artists Salvador Dali and Michelangelo, and writers like Robert Frost and Agatha Christie, used templates to focus their creativity.

Build on the concept of templates to be creative in any situation. This method...

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