My favorite creativity tool is the Creative Whack Pack written by Roger Von Oech.
This pack of cards was designed by Oech to enable its users to practice creative thinking, which, in my view, is one extremely useful ingredient of investment success.
I recommend the purchase and extensive use of the Creative Whack Pack. For less than $11, it’s a great investment.
Given below are the brief contents of a few cards I selected from the pack, along with their connections with Mr. Munger’s way of thinking:
Card # 2 (“Ask Why?”) states:
“Leonardo Da Vinci “I roamed the countryside searching for answers to things I did not understand. Why shells exist on the top of mountains along with imprints of plants usually found in the sea . . . Questions like these engaged my thought throughout my life.””
[Connection with curiosity and the need to ask why? why ? why?]
Card # 3 (“Get Out Of Your Box”) states:
“Each culture has its own way of looking at the world. Often the best ideas come from cutting across disciplinary boundaries and looking into other fields . . .”
[Connection with multidisciplinary thinking]
Card # 15 (“Let Your Mind Wander”) states:
“Much of our thinking is associative. One idea makes you think of another – no matter how logical the connections. Use this ability to generate new ideas . . .”
[Connection with Pavlovian Association]
Card # 27 (“Reverse”) states:
“Reversing how you look at a situation can open up new possibilities and dislodge assumptions . . .”
[Connection with backward thinking (Jacobi’s “Invert, always invert”), and first conclusion bias]
Card # 25 (“Combine Ideas”) states:
“The time has come, the Walrus said, “to talk of many things – of shoes and ships – and sealing wax – and of cabbages – and kings. Combining unusual ideas is at the heart of creative thinking.”
[Connection with Munger framework of mental models]
Card # 42 (“Beware the Unintended”) states:
“In preparing for the Olympics, the coach of a leading new team invited a meditation instructor to teach awareness techniques to his crew. He hoped that such training would enhance their rowing effectiveness. As the crew learnt more about meditation, they became more synchronized, there was less resistance, and their strokes got smoother. The irony is that they went slower. It turned out that the crew became more interested in being in harmony than winning.”
[Connection with “effects have effects”]
Card # 45 (“Don’t Fall in Love with Ideas”) states:
“If you fall in love with an idea, you won’t see the merits of alternative approaches and will probably miss an opportunity or two. One of life’s great pleasures is the letting go of a previously cherished idea. Then you’re free to look for new ones”.
[Connection with the need to look for disconfirming evidence, first conclusion bias, and bias from commitment and consistency]
Card # 63 (“Learn from Mistakes”) states:
“On his way to creating the light bulb, Edison discovered 1,800 ways not to make one. One of Madam Curie’s failures was radium. Columbus was looking for India. Errors are one of life’s primary learning vehicles. That’s because success reinforces the way you do things. When you fail however, you learn what’s not working, and you get the opportunity to try new approaches.”
[Connection with the need to examine one’s own mistakes as well as those of others, and learning from them].