Browsing lets you wander toward fresh ideas.

February 8, 2017 - 4:28 pm

Years ago, while browsing in Strand bookstore on Broadway, I came across “A Technique for Producing Ideas” by James Webb Young.

This little book helped articulate the creative process for me, and, in its own clever way, boosted my creativity. And, years later, Young’s thin masterpiece became a key inspiration for my very first book, “ZING! Five steps and 101 tips for creativity on command.”

Such is the power of browsing. “When you search, you find what you were looking for,” wrote author Leon Wieseltier in New Republic. “When you browse, you find what you were not looking for.”

And, as we all know, finding what we’re not looking for — the magic of serendipity — quite often becomes fodder for fresh ideas.

“Big ideas seem to always come when people are sidetracked,” psychologist Jonathan Schooler wrote in The New Yorker, “when they’re doing something that has nothing to do with their research.”

So keep searching and researching. But also take time to browse and explore. Your next great idea might be where you least expect it.

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