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Business Productivity Strategies for Success (Collection) by Daniel Silvert, Merrick Rosenberg, Mark I. Woods, Jerry Weissman, Martha I. Finney, Trapper Woods

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20. The Outline Trap

Britannica and Brainstorming

One of the early lessons we all learn in school is how to make an outline;1 how to create that waterfall of Roman numerals, capital letters, Arabic numerals, and lowercase letters that cascade down to the bottom of the page, if not dozens of pages of interminable term papers. Thus we are programmed to arrange our ideas in a hierarchical order—in sharp contrast to what our brains do naturally: generate ideas in random order.

To demonstrate: As I sit writing this chapter, I glance at a ball-point pen on my desk. The logo on the pen reminds me that I got it at as souvenir at a conference. I remember that I met a man at the conference who told me about a book on presidential politics. This reminds ...

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