January Book Review – Killer Thinking, Tim Duggan

Killer Thinking
How to Turn Good Ideas into Brilliant Ones
Tim Duggan

Killer Thinking is the ultimate guide to creating, developing and recognising incredible ideas that will revolutionise the way you work, from the bestselling author of Cult Status. We need better ideas right now. Everywhere you look, there are growing problems that require fresh, creative thinking to help us solve. The good news is that anyone can learn to master the art of creativity to turn good ideas into brilliant ones.”

I love that this book is true to its title/tag line – it literally gives you a step-by-step guide and toolkit to turn good ideas into brilliant ones!  KILLER stands for Kind, Impactful, Loved, Lasting, Easy and Repeatable.

In a podcast with Hal Crawford, Crawford Media, Tim describes the book and the steps in the book as his brains way of organising a giant amount of information into something that makes sense and is easy to follow. And it definitely is! https://halcrawford.substack.com/p/get-bored-get-brave-tim-duggan-on

Each chapter breaks down one of the eight steps, uses business examples, and they are very cool and relevant business examples such as Canva and KeepCup, that relate “real-wide” examples to the steps.  What works so well is that the “IRL – In Real Life”, practical steps at the end of each chapter are accessible and hands-on and the bullet-point summaries of each chapter are easy to refer to and not require you to read the whole thing again, although I have now read the whole book three times!

I love the acknowledgement that there is a real art to simplicity, its actually easy to complicate things! In getting your idea across Tim suggests trying to communicate the idea in one sentence – simplicity.  The steps to achieving this are communicate the idea in a page, how would you tell someone about it if you only had a page, then communicate it in a paragraph – take all that information you’ve just generated in a page and decide what is and isn’t important and then the hardest step, how do you communicate that idea in a single sentence. How do you take something that is big and complicated and talk about it and really nut it down to its core principles, making it accessible so that an eight-year-old can understand it. The example of this one-sentence summation in Step 7: Launch into a Rising Tide where Tim shares one-line descriptions of some of the most iconic and successful movies and TV shows that are instantly recognisable really resonated for me.

A 17-year-old aristocrat falls in love with a kind but poor artist aboard the luxurious, ill-fated RMS Titanic – is of course the movie Titanic (love Kate Winslet btw)

A pragmatic palaeontologist visiting an almost complete theme park is tasked with protecting a couple of kids after a power failure causes the park’s cloned dinosaurs to run loose. Yes you got it, Jurassic Park.

Wouldn’t it be incredible to be able to describe your idea, product or service in one succinct sentence that explains perfectly what it is you offer!

My two biggest take-aways from the book (and trust me I have WAY more than two take-aways) are that brainstorming sucks (my word’s not Tim’s although he does use that word too), basically we throw a group of people into a room (or Zoom) with little preparation, tell them to be creative and set them a time limit – yep I’m going to be really creative NOT.  My other key takeaway also relates to brainstorming – we all wait to hear from the HIPPO – not the large mammal in Africa but rather the HIghest Paid Person’s Opinion.  You know that person that can make or break your idea, the one that everyone looks to for approval or the one who everyone waits to share the first idea. Again Tim’s book provides a solution to this, called the Cerebration but you’re going to have to learn about that by reading the book yourself!

I haven’t read Tim’s first book Cult Status and some reviews I’ve read on Killer Thinking say that it just echoes what is in this first book.  Is that a bad thing? From what I’ve read about Cult Status it focuses on the first “L” of KILLER thinking – Loved. 

“Cult Status focuses on

  • The 7 Steps to building a business with cult status
  • The one thing you should do before starting something new
  • Why every business of the future needs to balance profit and purpose together
  • How to have just as much impact working inside a company as you can from outside
  • The leadership trait every new leader needs
  • How to create a passionate community that will rally around you in tough times

Using 14 practical exercises ‘you can do today to set up for success tomorrow’.”

Then I thought about it some more and so what if the content is “rehashed material” I was new to the content and I still am keen to purchase and read Cult Status. And surely it makes sense that Cult Status would be built upon in Killer Thinking and then again in Tim’s third book, Work Backwards which is next on my booklist for purchase this year!

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