My boyfriend is regularly getting on my case to read books “that don’t look like work” and are “just for fun, not expanding your mind”.  I love to read but go through phases.

One of my problems is that many times I get so engrossed in “for fun” books that I just can’t put them down!  Life stops dead in its tracks so that I can get to the end of the book.  I have learned not to start a book like this when I have work that needs to be done by a deadline.

As well, I like reading books about business, artists, personal development… things that will expand my mind, open my eyes to new ways to look at things and help me build my business.  While they are helpful, they are usually geared towards larger companies– with say, more than one person. 🙂 Traditional books about starting a building businesses generally have theories, supported by case studies. Helpful, but not page turners.

An interesting opportunity was offered to me through Twitter about 2 weeks ago.  (You know how I love Twitter… and this just keeps me all the more thrilled with it!)  Gregg Fraley, an author I am following offered bloggers a free copy of his book in exchange for a post.  I looked at the book, thought it looked interesting (I wasn’t going to read it just because it was free!) and emailed him.  About a week later a signed copy arrived in the mail.

The book is Jack’s Notebook and is “A Business Novel about Creative Problem Solving”.

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“Jack’s Notebook” was a very welcome deviation from the norm. With problem solving concepts intertwined within a fictional story– I felt like I was reading for pleasure while learning some new things I can implement in my business.

I also enjoyed the fact that Jack isn’t even in business in the beginning… he is at the ‘what do I want to do’ stage and struggling to pay his bills while working on his dream– something many of us can relate to.  Of course I liked that he wanted to be a photographer – as an artist it’s easy to route for a creative underdog!

I ear-marked at least a dozen concepts that I want to go back and review — which to me is the sign of a helpful book. The basic CPS concept of “Quantity gets quality” and not judging your ideas but just letting them all flow is fabulous– I’ve used it in the past and am now reminded to keep using it in the future.

Jack’s Notebook offers a structured system you can implement to any problem or issue — personal or professional.  The next time you are feeling lost and not sure what direction to take, give CPS (Creative Problem Solving) a try.

So, my final analysis would be that this is worth the read.  I enjoyed the story, how the concepts were demonstrated by the characters and how they explained the concepts of CPS as well.

~ Tara

P.S.  Jack gains confidence and takes action as the result of adopting this method of thinking and problem solving — who doesn’t want that?

P.P.S.  I know we’ve talked about “thinking outside the box” before as far as marketing and branding — seems Gregg Fraley is doing that by looking to Twitter to expand awareness of his book and reviewer base.  What might you do with Twitter?