Last Updated on 14 November 2019

Are you still looking for easy-to-approach process for coming up with ideas and problem solving? Do you still not feel you are “good” at being creative?

Sam Harrison’s book Zing!: Five Steps and 101 Tips for Creativity on Command offers simple, but effective tools as well as solid and doable tips to be creative. His process takes creativity from “zero to zing” in five steps.

The book is thin (in a good way). He breaks the process down into easy to digest chunks and the book can easily be read in one or two sittings.

Here is how Harrison describes his book’s approach…

Some books zigzag. This book zings.

Many books on creativity hide their nuggets of wisdom in hundreds of fluff-filed pages. Zing! gets right to the point. Powerful, single-page messages offer:

  • five action steps for creating with zing
  • fast examples of creative triumphs
  • rejuvenating quotes from creative gurus
  • real-life tips and hands-on tools

I have run several challenges through the Zing! process and have been pleased with the results.

Here’s a summary of the Zing! steps…

1. Explore: Observe & Research – Gather all the information possible about the challenge. Become a sponge. Notice people. Anticipate. Don’t just look, see!

2. Freedom: Brainstorm & Visualize – Have a “free-range brain” and come up with as many solutions as possible. Judge not. Assume nothing is impossible. Observations + Connections = Ideas.

3. Pause: Pause & Detach – Step away from the problem and let it stew in the back of your mind… Einstein said his best ideas came while shaving.

4. Embrace: Edit & Select – While you were pausing “the subconscious mind was doing the heavy lifting. Now the brightest idea floats before you.” With the embrace step, “we find a solution that zings.”

5. Life: Prototype & Implement – “Breathe life into your idea… In this step you add flesh, bones and heart to your idea. You make it lively and likable.” Verify the idea. Modify it to make it better. Be the idea champion.

If you’ve read a lot about creative problem solving, you’ll notice that Harrison hasn’t created a new process… He’s boiled the key “creative problem solving” steps down to their basic chunks. He provides enough detail, examples, quotes, and tips to take out the frustration and get you to solving problems as quickly as possible.


Zing!: Five Steps and 101 Tips for Creativity on Command

  • By Sam Harrison


  • BrainstormingCreativityProblem Solving
  • Paperback book of 149 pages
  • Published 2004 by MacHillock Publishing

Idea Sandbox Rating

Dog Ear Score: n/a
(this is one of those books where nearly every page had good nuggets on them – too many pages to dog-ear)

Usability (5/5)

Coverage of Subject (4/5)

Contribution to Topic (3/5)

Ease of Read (5/5)

Visually Pleasing (4/5)

Comments: This book is extremely usable. Nearly every page offers a tactic or method for problem solving. While Harrison doesn’t go very deep in the topic, he provides all the key information to effectively use the Zing! process. The book offers little that’s new… But that’s okay, Harrison allows you to work swiftly with his cut-to-the-chase approach. Can’t get much easier to read than this. Big type. Quick examples. Lots of inspirational quotes. Visually simple and clean.