I have always hated reading user manuals. Call me arrogant but I just find them so boring! Perhaps that is the reason I’m so dismissive about self-help books.

They’re always somehow reminding you about your flaws, asking you to do stuff in a certain way just because it worked for them! And that, coming from some random dude who doesn’t even know me but is making money because I bought a copy? No thanks!

I read a few self-help books when I was younger because my dad’s library was full of them and I desperately needed something to read. I only liked those little anecdotes. And I don’t remember anything from those books anymore.

“Marketing 101” and “Say Yes to Your Potential” were just big books with no value for me, even though the former is hardly 100 pages! It wouldn’t do me any good, I wouldn’t understand anyway and won’t remember anything, so why bother?

Over time, I graduated (or demoted – whatever fits!) to fiction. I grew a little averse to self-help, as you can see!

So, while I was at Crossword last week, my mom just walked over from the self-help section and handed me this book. I looked at her like she handed me a dead squirrel!

She just left it there on my lap and went away to browse.


The book had an interesting cover. The math was all wrong! (brownie points because I suck at math!)

I thought I’ll read a page just out of respect for the imaginary dead squirrel.

The subtitle read “A Masterclass in Creative Thinking.

Okay, this couldn’t be that bad.

The introduction was written in simple, direct language explaining why one plus one equals three. The author – Dave Trott – was quoting Steve Jobs. And it was as simple as this:

“Steve said any new idea is nothing more than a new combination of old elements.”

“…the ability to make those new combinations depends on our ability to see relationships. that’s what makes some people more creative.”

Now, I was intrigued. What is this man trying to sell me?

Steve Jobs apparently believed any person who has had wider, more varied experiences is bound to be more creative! A true creative person needs to be a know-it-all. The more experiences one has had, the more dots one could connect and therefore, the more ideas one could cook up!

1 + 1 = 3


1 (an old idea, knowledge, experience) + 1 (something you just learnt) = 3 (experience + something you just learnt + your brand new lightbulb idea!)

Cha Ching!

I was sold!

Page after page seemed to delight me all the more. This book was filled with anecdotes, the only part of self-help books that I ever liked. There are some fascinating stories about Pixar, Alfred Nobel and even a small high-school teacher who just thought differently (or didn’t) to make things work.

Hell, the book is a collection of awesome short moral stories. No long lecture about what you should be changing…yada yada!

A smooth, fast, easy read filled with real-life stories that don’t bore the living daylights out of you.

And did I say self-help didn’t aid my creativity? I take it back! I just came up with my own pickup line after reading a story:

My Take:

Every aspiring creative must read this one for inspiration. Although, several people on GoodReads said it wasn’t Trott’s best, I think it’s a pretty good starter for anybody who dislikes self-help! Go on, don’t be scared!

Go connect dots and make a world map! 

This book also changed my view about Self-Help. A good book is a good book, no matter what genre it is. And then there is always perspective.

The only people that really dislike self-help are those who havent read any or don’t recall the experience of reading the book.

I’m a changed person. Thank you, Mr. Trott!