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Review of "Think Naked"

By Marco Marsan
Jodere Group, 2003
Review by April Chase on Jul 11th 2003
Think Naked

Marco Marsan has made a successful career for himself out of thinking creatively, or more specifically, helping others to do so. The consulting group he founded, Marco Polo Explorers, has helped corporate giants like Nike and General Mills launch new products and solve many problems. Now he brings some of his techniques to the masses with his new book, Think Naked!

The basic premise of "thinking naked" is that if we could recapture the openness and creativity we had a children, we could solve problems much more effectively. "Children are relentlessly curious, eager to explore, and less concerned with limitations than with possibilities. Like adult creative giants, children possess an instinct for creative thinking, for seeing the world in a way that too many of us have completely forgotten," Marsan writes, citing statistics that show that ninety-eight percent of children in the three to five year age group score in the genius category on a series of standardized tests, while only two percent of adults do as well. Marsan interprets these results to mean that we all start out with nearly unlimited mental potential, but most of us lose it somewhere along the way.

Each of the eight chapters in the book has a catchy, child-oriented title like "See Saw" and "Show-n-Tell." Each presents a number of concepts, also named in memorable sound bytes: "Monster Under The Bed," "Go Down Swinging," "His Truck Is Better," and so on. Each of these illustrates a point in Marsan's naked thinking plan. "Monster Under The Bed," for instance, deals with the importance of confronting your fears, while "His Truck Is Better" discusses how to select the best-qualified people to help you with your projects.

The most important principles in the whole program seem to be openness to new ideas - in pop culture lingo, "thinking outside the box" - and getting help when needed, which Marsan terms cheating. "Celebrities cheat all the time," he writes. "Whenever I'm stuck for an idea, I cheat. I'll bring in a slew of people who think differently than I do - experts, textperts, choking smokers, consumers, artists, writers, fighters, old lamplighters - anyone who can give me a new, fresh perspective. Smart people look up, around, on their neighbor's paper - anywhere for suggestions, answers and to stimulate their thinking. You knew that. So why would you hesitate to get the same kind of help?"

Marsan's presentation is witty and original, and his writing style is definitely very readable. However, a lot of this information is essentially the same as that presented in many time management and creativity seminars all over the country. The book is certainly a worthwhile read, and may help motivate and inspire many, but it is not a creativity cure-all. The ideas he presents may be helpful, but a famous quote from Thomas Edison that Marsan uses to head one section of the book just about sums it all up: "Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration."

2003 April Chase

 April Chase is a freelance journalist and book reviewer who lives in Western Colorado. She is a regular contributor to a number of publications, including The Business Times of Western Colorado and Dream Network Journal.