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Thinking Outside the Box (About Bananas)

Thinking Outside the Box (About Bananas)

Maybe someone's been monkeying around, but we went ape over the creative product reviews of the Hutzler 571 Banana Slicer on Amazon.com.

Either this real product sold on Amazon.com is particularly appealing to creative writers, or one creative soul has gone to a lot of trouble to create a string of the most entertaining, outrageous (and fictional, we hope!) product reviews you'll ever read.

Here's a sampling of what these raving reviews are saying about this product:

"Can’t believe how much time I used to waste with a ruler and pencil, marking my bananas to get those perfectly uniform slices."

"I'm ordering one for my nephew who’s in the Air Force in California. He’s been using an old Slinky to slice his bananas. He should really enjoy this product!"

"I have 27 trained monkeys I use to do my evil bidding. Well, the younger monkeys’ teeth have not fully developed and so slicing a banana to feed them used to be a necessary chore..."

"I bought one of these for my boss for Christmas and he gave me a promotion the next day! I’m making over $500k now and just bought a Maserati! This banana slicer has changed my life."

Of course, not everyone loves the Hutzler 571. The product got low ratings based on the following complaints:

"It’s kind of cheaply made. But it works better than the hammer I’ve been using to slice my bananas."

"Great idea, but only so-so execution. Device has no indicator lights to let you know when cutting is complete."

"I would have given this item five stars except it did not come with a USB cable. Folks, it’s 2012 (almost 2013) and I can’t believe someone is selling a product that does not come with a USB cable!"

So what goes on in the brain when someone is being creative?

Neuroscientist Nancy Andreasen has written a book on that topic called The Creating Brain: The Neuroscience of Genius.

According to Dr. Andreasen, creative people often entertain unrelated ideas and thoughts freely in a disorganized way. When this happens, she said the "association cortex"- a part of the brain known for linking ideas or thoughts in potentially novel ways-becomes very active.

Which might explain how the writer(s) of these reviews made the unlikely associations of "banana slicing" with Slinkies, USB ports and Maseratis (not to mention trained monkeys doing evil biddings).

Dr. Andreasen says anyone can build a more creative brain by giving your brain a creativity workout half an hour every day. In an article called The Brains Behind Creativity, she gives the following suggestions:

Explore an unfamiliar area of knowledge. Do you spend every day at a computer? Then in your spare time, learn to paint or garden. Or if you're very good at gardening, take a class in philosophy. You get the idea.

Spend time each day thinking. Don't follow a predictable train of thought. Instead, allow your brain to make wild and crazy associations.

Practice the art of paying attention. Pay closer attention to a person, object or event than you usually do. Later, recreate what you observed in a journal or sketch book.

Use your imagination. Practice asking-and answering-the question "What if...?"

You can read more entertaining banana-slicer reviews here. If you're a fan of "clever," you won't be wasting your time. You might even be inspired to purchase the product and write a creative review of your own!

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