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May 4, 2007

Getting Paid to Think

Posted by Brad Abare | Filed under: Inspiration

If you can get past the pompous posture of the author, Thinking for a Living by Joey Reiman is an excellent read. Although the book has been around for several years, it came at a particularly helpful time for Personality™ as we've been navigating our way through the development of several new processes that involve a whole lot of thinking.

"Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably why so few engage in it." -Henry Ford

Reiman is the founder of an ideation company that started after he launched and sold an advertising agency. He got out of the ad business because clients were paying for the execution of ideas, not the ideas themselves. I've talked before about this broken agency model.

"An invasion of armies can be resisted, but not an invasion of ideas." -Victor Hugo

Some have said that we use only 10 percent of our brains to think. Reiman thinks this is too little of a space for big ideas, and suggests nine characteristics of thinkers that are using more than their 10 percent.

  1. Big thinkers are on fire.
  2. Big thinkers never lose in their imaginations.
  3. Big thinkers bet the farm.
  4. Big thinkers marinate in thought.
  5. Big thinkers think better together.
  6. Big thinkers don't take no for an answer.
  7. Big thinkers turn reality into fantasy.
  8. Big thinkers live their lives with a purpose.
  9. Big thinkers think with their hearts.

Reiman also suggests four stages of creativity that are not only a roadmap for great thoughts, but a process he has built his business around.

  1. Investigation
    Detect, study, explore, gather
  2. Incubation
    The longest stage, quantity over quality, can involve blending, traveling, polarizing, walking, meditating, praying and sharing
  3. Illumination
    The editing of stage two, illuminate the big idea, the "Aha!" moment
  4. Illustration
    Portray and personify the big idea, design, create

The book is packed with quotes and short stories of great thinkers, including some not-so-great thinkers like:

"Everything that can be invented has been invented."
-Charles H. Duell, Director of U.S. Patent Office, 1899

"Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?"
-Harry Warner, Warner Brothers Pictures, 1927

"Sensible and responsible women do not want to vote."
-Grover Cleveland, 1905

"There is no likelihood man can ever tap the power of the atom."
-Robert Millikan, Nobel Prize in Physics, 1923

Contrary to so many books, Thinking for a Living gets better and better toward the end. Reiman does a nice job of giving tangible takeaways for applying his admonition to think, both in corporate and personal envrionments.

Three applications for Personality™ would be:

  1. Foster an environment that is conducive to thinking (make time for it!).

  2. Play with Reiman's 4 I's--investigation, incubation, illumination and illustration, and learn how they work in our context.

  3. Continue down our path of selling ideas over execution.

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Im a electrican, looking for work, well a better paying job.r at least one where i get a check every week,and not going 3 weeks without getting paid. Yet i have a few crazy ideads on various things, and wouldn't be nice if you could get paid for simply thinking. Maybe i gues alot of folks allrady do, even if you take my current job, i ahve to think eveyday troublesahooting electrical problems, but im talking about siting around, or on a walk etc the new "at work, or the office" job thinking about whatever shareing it with the boss and get paid, and hope it changes the world. all teh money pain into ads, i would love to get a 1/8 of that money to come up with ideads, from evrything like fixinf traffic to better wash machines..

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