learn from journalism. How do you think all that information gets into
newspapers, on to television and radio every day? By journalists calling
"sources". And everybody else has the same right. Generally people love to help;
they enjoy being asked about their specialty.
7. Seek out the main principle
In nearly every field you'll find one main principle
for success. Or perhaps two or three. Find them out first - before you fill in the
In photography, the first principle for an
amateur: never take a photo more than four feet from your subject. Second principle:
preferably shoot without a flash, with a semiautomatic camera. On those two principles,
one of the co-authors paid for a world trip by taking photographs!
In cost accounting, the main principle: there's
no such thing as an accurate cost, unless your business is running 24 hours a day, 365
days a year, on automatic equipment and with a guaranteed market for all you produce.
Second principle: find the break-even point. Below that you're losing money. Above it
you're making a profit.
In talkback radio, the main principle: no matter
how big or small the city, if the host asks only for opinions he'll get the same
30 uninformed callers every day; if he asks for specific interesting experiences he'll
get new interesting callers, with stimulating new information.
In education, a main principle: people learn
best what they passionately want to learn, and they learn fastest through all their
In journalistic interviewing, the first
principle: ask what and why.
How do you find main principles? First you ask. Then:
8. Find the best three books by
Don't start with academic textbooks. In the area of your interest, find the
three best books written by people who've done it.
If you want to study advertising, call Saatchi & Saatchi or a top agency
and ask their creative director what to read. She'll almost certainly recommend Ogilvy
on Advertising as an overview. And if you want to study copywriting: John Caples' How
To Make Your Advertising Make Money and Tested Advertising Methods.
To practise new skills in thinking, start with the best book we know on the
subject, Michael Michalko's Cracking Creativity. Then deal yourself cards from
Roger von Oech's Creative Whackpack - a brilliant ideas-starter.
Contents Page Preface