Posted by: Liz Massey | January 23, 2010

E-book review: Creativity Hacks, by Chuck Frey

A couple of months ago,  Chuck Frey of Innovation Tools was kind enough to provide me a review copy of his new e-book, “Creativity Hacks: Shortcuts to Help You Crush Your Challenges and Live a Kick-Ass Life!” I digested bits and pieces of the book over the holidays and wanted to share a few of the highlights with readers, as this short (104 pages) book covers a lot of ground of interest to creative people.

“Creativity Hacks” is a useful guide for anyone who wants to jump-start their creative process, capture ideas more effectively or find new ways to approach challenges requiring innovative thinking. Frey collects and discusses a wide array of techniques for tapping into a naturally creative mindset, gathering research materials related to a problem or project, and the best ways to represent one’s thinking about an idea or concept.

Much of the book is filled with quick tips or “hacks” for being more creative and generating more innovative ideas. He does provide footnotes for his research and explains the reasoning behind his advice adequately, but this is an action-focused book—not a place to expect a theory of creative thinking.

I had two favorite sections. The first was a discussion of the pros and cons of 10 common tools used to capture and archive creative ideas. Frey covers some of the more obvious tools—like notebooks, mobile devices, or index cards—but he also highlights a few less-popular options, such as creating an idea wall, using a voice-to-text service such as Jott, or building an idea database on the computer. For artists particularly, I think the presentation of a variety of methods to capture ideas is good, as it addresses the logistical differences between disciplines.

My second favorite section was toward the end and concerned harvesting the creative power of visual thinking. Frey is smart to include this segment, as we are seeing more and more businesses and organizations realizing the impact of visual-oriented presentations and infographics. He is a fan of mind mapping and covers the technique in surprising detail, but he also offers photography and scrapbooking as creativity jogging activities—which I have found to be true and something discussed much far less frequently than mind mapping.

Overall, “Creativity Hacks” strikes me as the cyber-equivalent of a pocket-sized field guide that you might pop into your pocket on a camping trip. It provides rough-and-ready information on topics that often bubble to the top of one’s mind while brainstorming, researching a problem that needs solving, or when in a mentally stuck place during a creative episode.

The e-book is priced at $39, and it includes online bonuses such as video reviews of creativity tools such as the Creative Whack Pack, the XPLANE Discovery Cards and others, mini-reviews of classic books on creativity and links to dozens of creativity-enhancing tools.

For more information on Frey’s e-book, or to order it, visit


  1. Liz, thank you for the awesome review! You really seemed to “get” what I was trying to accomplish by writing Creativity Hacks. It really is intended as a “field guide” for business creativity!

    I’m also a big believer in creativity tools, as you noticed in the section on 10 tools for recording ideas and their pros and cons. The e-book comes with video reviews of 10 of the very best ideation tools on the planet, which I think your readers will really find to be valuable as they stretch their creative muscles.

    Thanks again!

    Chuck Frey

  2. […] E-Book Review: Creativity Hacks, by Chuck Frey […]

  3. […] Frey’s latest e-book after he sent out an advisory about it earlier this year. I reviewed his Creativity Hacks e-book  several years ago, and knew him to be a reliable source of up-to-date information on creativity […]

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