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Albert Einstein once said, “If I had an hour to solve a problem I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and five minutes thinking about the solution”. Asking questions is a survival tool that allows humans to tap into their creativity and innovate in order to survive.

The three books below will help you work on your questioning and, as a bonus, improve the way in which you go about your business.

1- The Culture Code: An Ingenious Way to Understand Why People Around the World Buy and Live as They Do
by Clotaire Rapaille

“Why are people around the world so very different? What makes us live, buy, even love as we do? The answers are in the codes.

In The Culture Code, internationally revered cultural anthropologist and marketing expert Clotaire Rapaille reveals for the first time the techniques he has used to improve profitability and practices for dozens of Fortune 100 companies. His groundbreaking revelations shed light not just on business but on the way every human being acts and lives around the world.

Rapaille’s breakthrough notion is that we acquire a silent system of Codes as we grow up within our culture. These Codes—the Culture Code—are what make us American, or German, or French, and they invisibly shape how we behave in our personal lives, even when we are completely unaware of our motives. What’s more, we can learn to crack the Codes that guide our actions and achieve new understanding of why we do the things we do.

Rapaille has used the Culture Code to help Chrysler build the PT Cruiser—the most successful American car launch in recent memory. He has used it to help Procter & Gamble design its advertising campaign for Folger’s coffee – one of the longest-lasting and most successful campaigns in the annals of advertising. He has used it to help companies as diverse as GE, AT&T, Boeing, Honda, Kellogg, and L’Oréal improve their bottom line at home and overseas. And now, in The Culture Code, he uses it to reveal why Americans act distinctly like Americans, and what makes us different from the world around us.

In The Culture Code, Dr. Rapaille decodes two dozen of our most fundamental archetypes—ranging from sex to money to health to America itself—to give us “a new set of glasses” with which to view our actions and motivations. Why are we so often disillusioned by love? Why is fat a solution rather than a problem? Why do we reject the notion of perfection? Why is fast food in our lives to stay? The answers are in the Codes.

Understanding the Codes gives us unprecedented freedom over our lives. It lets us do business in dramatically new ways. And it finally explains why people around the world really are different, and reveals the hidden clues to understanding us all.” (source: goodreads)

2- Questions Are the Answer: A Breakthrough Approach to Your Most Vexing Problems at Work and in Life
by Hal Gregersen

What if you could unlock a better answer to your most vexing problem—in your workplace, community, or home life—just by changing the question?

Talk to creative problem-solvers and they will often tell you, the key to their success is asking a different question.

Take Debbie Sterling, the social entrepreneur who created GoldieBlox. The idea came when a friend complained about too few women in engineering and Sterling wondered aloud: “why are all the great building toys made for boys?” Or consider Nobel laureate Richard Thaler, who asked: “would it change economic theory if we stopped pretending people were rational?” Or listen to Jeff Bezos whose relentless approach to problem solving has fueled Amazon’s exponential growth: “Getting the right question is key to getting the right answer.”

Great questions like these have a catalytic quality—that is, they dissolve barriers to creative thinking and channel the pursuit of solutions into new, accelerated pathways. Often, the moment they are voiced, they have the paradoxical effect of being utterly surprising yet instantly obvious.

For innovation and leadership guru Hal Gregersen, the power of questions has always been clear—but it took some years for the follow-on question to hit him: If so much depends on fresh questions, shouldn’t we know more about how to arrive at them? That sent him on a research quest ultimately including over two hundred interviews with creative thinkers. Questions Are the Answer delivers the insights Gregersen gained about the conditions that give rise to catalytic questions—and breakthrough insights—and how anyone can create them.” (source: Amazon)

3- Change Your Questions, Change Your Life: 10 Powerful Tools for Life and Work
by Marilee Adams

“Questions are at the core of how we listen, behave, think, and relate–as individuals and organizations. Virtually everything we think and do is generated by questions. Questions push us into new territories. The future begins with our thinking, represented by the questions we ask ourselves.

“Change Your Questions, Change Your Life” shows readers how to consistently choose the questions that can lead them to success, both personally and professionally. This technique, called “QuestionsThinking,” stimulates innovation, accelerate productivity, and create more rewarding relationships.

“Change Your Questions, Change Your Life” is a personal growth fable that tells how a seasoned executive, Ben Knight, uses QuestionThinking to move into a higher leadership role and how the same methods of change help him and his wife, Grace, enrich their marriage.” (source: Amazon)

If you would like to work on your ability to ask more and better questions, check out Echos’ 3-day Design Thinking Experience course.

To learn more about how to empower your creative brain, check out Echos’ course offering.

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