All posts tagged creativity

Book review: Why Not?: How to Use Everyday Ingenuity to Solve Problems Big And Small by Barry Nalebuff and Ian Ayres.
This is a very entertaining and somewhat thought-provoking book. I’m uncertain whether it had much effect on my creativity. It certainly demonstrates the authors’ creativity, and gives some insights into how their creative thought processes work. But it’s probably more valuable as a collection of interesting ideas than it is as a recipe for creativity.
While they focus more on presenting interesting ideas than on evaluating how well they would work, the do a decent job of anticipating problems and understanding the relevant incentives.
Possibly the most important idea is mandating anonymity of political campaign contributions (see also the book Voting with Dollars) as an alternative way of ensuring that it’s hard for contributions to influence politicians votes, with plausible suggestions about how to ensure that it’s hard for donors to evade the anonymity rule.
Their examples often leave me wondering why the ideas they describe are so little known (e.g. the anonymity requirement has been tried in 10 states for judicial elections – why hasn’t that been reported widely?).
Another interesting idea is how tests of black boxes in cars (similar to those in planes) cause drivers to drive much more safely (20 to 66 percent declines in accident rates – “Fear of getting caught may be a more powerful motivator than fear of getting killed”).
I am disappointed that it doesn’t have an index.