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One Plus One Equals Three by Dave Trott

Punchy Stories. Touching Anecdotes. Though-provoking conclusion. 

How do you make something out of nothing? 
Referred to as A Masterclass in Creative Thinking, One Plus One Equals Three is a series of short bite-sized essays, each with a lesson at the end.  The "thoughts" represent inspiring anecdotes 
This is not your everyday business book. It's not one longwinded story trying to get to a singular message. Dave Trott's book is about shorter stories, that have a point to them. 
It has insights that are digestible. 

I love the story about "When Thinking Gets In The Way". It's a reference to Sheryl Sandberg, the Chief Operating Officer of Facebook who earns around $26 million a year. She gave a talk on what women need to do to get to the top of their profession. 

She said they needed to learn from men. Not that men are smarter, they're not. 
She said that it wasn't men who were holding women back. 
It was women holding women back. 

The story goes on to suggest that while women obeyed rules, men disobeyed rules and got their questions answered. They would constantly put up their hands and answer questions, regardless of whether they thought they were wrong or not. The men had more power because they didn't ask anyone else's permission, and just went ahead and did as they wished. The conclusion is that they weren't as scared of being wrong as the women were. For them, getting the result was more important than being right. Sheryl Sandberg concluded that women worried about being correct. 

It's not thinking.
It's over-thinking. 
There is a bit of a Seth Godin-esque style about Dave Trott's writing. It's that kind of book you pick-up-and-put-down whenever you need an infusion of creative anecdotes. It reinforces the truth that one must go beyond concepts, logos, designs in creativity. One must be an observer of history, psychology, and society -- without an homage to observation a creative idea ends up in the dustbin. 

Real creativity doesn't come from struggling to answer a difficult brief. Real creativity comes from getting upstream of the brief and finding a different answer. 

Reinterpreting the brief is often solving the problem. 

And, when you do, it all adds up. 

About Dave Trott

Dave Trott is the author of Creative Mischief and Predatory Thinking and founded four award-winning ad agencies. Born in east London, he went to art school in New York on a Rockefeller Scholarship. From there he began an illustrious career in advertising, as part of the creative team behind 'Hello Tosh Gotta Toshiba', 'Aristonandonandon', the Cadbury Flake ads and many, many more. Dave's agency - Gold Greenlees Trott - was voted Agency of the Year by Campaign magazine, and Most Creative Agency in the World by Ad Age in New York. In 2004 he was given the D&AD President's Award for lifetime achievement in advertising.

Books & Wine Pairing: What a sweet deal when you find the answer you've been looking for all along. May we recommend a sweet port wine, with a deep, jammy, clove taste on the palate (without the aftertaste)? Pair Dave Trott's One Plus One Equals Three with this delicious after dinner indulgence. Read the review for Porto Kopke Fine Ruby Port:  (Available at LCBO (LCBO # 35766 | $15.50 per 750ml bottle)

One Plus One Equals Three is published by Macmillan Publishing and distributed in Canada by PGC Books

Blog post by @ShilpaRaikar (Creative and Social Media strategist, decor enthusiast and book lover, who also writes for a branding blog:, as well as a lifestyle blog: T: @SukasaStyle) 

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