The Power of Ignorance

Another excellent compilation of stories of creative thinking and problem solving from Dave Trott.

Book title

The Power of Ignorance


Dave Trott

Standalone or series

Non-fiction, not a series, but Dave has written a number of books with similar themes and approaches.

First time reading this author?


Why I picked this

It’s by Dave Trott. I have loved all of Dave’s books, although I don’t have any of my copies left because it’s the type of book where I always have it out on loan to someone to back up a conversation or support work they are doing.

Review copy or purchase

Purchase. Pre-ordered from Waterstones as soon as I saw it was coming out.

What it’s about

Dave Trott’s latest collection of real-life stories giving examples of problem solving and creating thinking that can apply in his own industry of advertising, but also to business in general and in fact in every day life.


The power of ignorance is the power of admitting you don’t know everything. Set aside assumptions, ask questions, try something new and you might get better results than you ever expected. It’s certainly better than just doing the same thing everyone else does because they do it that way. That oath does not lead to innovation.

Once again Dave Trott has gathered stories of creative thinking and problem solving that come from a place of not just blindly following accepted wisdom. Ask the questions. Challenge the norm.

This is a really easy read and it would be simple to devour it in one sitting. Each chapter is 3 pages long. There’s no jargon, and where there is it’s mostly in quotes from other people and Dave explains what is meant in real terms. But, to get the most from this you have to take the time to think about the story, to reflect on what it means. These aren’t recipes for success to be followed exactly they’re modern parables for business success and productive creativity.

The stories themselves are fascinating. They cover a range of subjects such as the purer corporate marketing stories of how Gwyneth Paltrow’s brand Goop! uses products she knows will create outrage and gather free media coverage which then drives people to the other products which they’ll actually buy. To stories of how companies or governments looking purely at data or technology forget to consider the human factor, with potentially fatal consequences.

I love Dave’s books, although I never seem to keep them long. I’ve lent every one I’ve bought to colleagues over the years and encouraged them to read them and be inspired. The Power of Ignorance is already promised to a former colleague who is working on a major project and which will really benefit from thinking outside the corporate box to bring people on board.

I always refer back to the stories though, and try to keep remembering that real innovation needs creative thinking, and no one manages that by just doing the same thing that’s always been done.


Rating: 5 out of 5.
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