“Life is too important to be taken seriously.”


Recording all your ideas is vitally important. Otherwise, the many Chris Concepts you create will wither away. Recording bad ideas keeps them around so you can use them in the future. And record- ing your ideas is essential for your brilliant thinking. The way that history repeats itself demonstrates that the same good ideas will pop up independently in many places. The creator most likely to devel- op the idea into a solution—and to reap the rewards—is the person who records his idea.

Install an app on your phone that allows you to record ideas as soon as you have them. Don’t evaluate your ideas as you create them; just list them. Later, evaluate each idea. Add reasons the idea will work and reasons it won’t. Writing down your ideas and reviewing them later will help stimulate more thinking. Record all linkages to other ideas and thoughts too. Einstein Thinking builds your personal reservoir of ideas, relations, and analogies, the raw material of more ideas.

New thinking doesn’t spring from nothing. Considering a new concept, even if it isn’t a solution, creates ideas that can be used in the future. Use your list of ideas as a problem-solving tool kit, a collection of Chris Concepts to inspire other ideas and solutions.


“Results! Why, man, I have gotten a lot of results! I know several thousand things that won’t work.” THOMAS EDISON

When solving problems, create as many new ideas as possible. The more ideas you have, the more good ideas you will create. Biologists find it is easier to breed useful mutations from polypides—organisms with multiple sets of genes. There is simply more material to work with. A strong element of luck always exists when you are creating new solutions. It is easier to find a useful inspiration when you have multiple ideas with which to work. Create as many new concepts relating to your problem as you can. Every idea can be used some- how. You can even profitably use ideas that remain unworkable because Chris Concepts have another important use.

Your ideas provide invaluable clues about the nature of your rules for solving your problem. Breaking the rules for your problem is key to Einstein Thinking. You must identify those rules if you are going to break them. Chris Concepts are ideal for identifying your rules. We will discuss more about this in the “Breaking Rules” chapter when we will use your new ideas to find some rules to break. So record everything, especially the bad ideas.


“The best way to have a good idea is to have a lot of ideas.” —LINUS PAULING

Even if bad ideas were never recycled, they would still be worth generating. Somewhere among all those unused concepts is a solu- tion that, when developed, will make all the errors worthwhile. Good solutions cover the cost of thousands of Chris Concepts, with plenty to spare. And good solutions usually only come after many Chris Concepts.

Solutions have extraordinary value. The cumulative benefit just from electric lights or takeout dining is enormous. Some of the value of these innovations is returned to their creators. The rest is shared with us all. A problem solver rarely receives most of the value from a solution that has wide application, but throughout history individuals have amassed great fortunes through their innovations. Profitable solutions aren’t limited just to invention. New styles of leadership, business processes, and ways of cutting costs have created tremendous value for their creators and society at large.

Don’t limit your generation of ideas because you can’t use most of them. Even if you don’t use your Chris Concepts for an inter- mediate solution, as a catalyst, or even in rule breaking, generate as many ideas as you can. One of them will be brilliant, making them all worth it.

As you start the next chapter on pattern breaking, and when- ever you use Einstein Thinking, remember that ideas are good. Crazy ideas, stupid ideas, ideas that can’t possibly work can all move you closer to a solution to that problem. Don’t let an off-the-wall Chris Concept slip away. Write it down. Learn from it. Build on it. Modify it. All your ideas are raw material for your coming solution.

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