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Against the Odds: An Autobiography (Business Icons) Paperback – December 7, 2000
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Top Customer Reviews
I especially enjoyed the part about the early development of the machine, in which he made something like one version per day for over three years, varying things one at a time, measuring everything to exhaustion, all the while sinking further and further into debt. Edisonian it was, but sometimes that is the only way--the quest for the quick breakthrough emphasized by modern industrial managers can be a real obstacle to progress. I've seen it at work first-hand.
The book is rather lavishly produced with ten pages of glossy photos, many of them in color, supplemented by many sketches and drawings. The big margins and the attractive typeface on acid-free paper combine to make a very pretty book, worth owning.
This is the sort of book that once you put it down, you feel better about the world, the striving of man-the-builder, and realize that, even in England, things can get better.
This Brit took on the vacuum sweeper industry worldwide and now is introducing washing machines that may be technologically superior -- just like his sweepers. He has invented and introduced several products to the world.
Here's what you can get from this book:
1) A humorous story of entrepreneurial struggle and then success,
2) Dyson's rules for product design,
3) Dyson's rules for start-ups for manufacturing companies,
4) Some great words to improve your vocabulary (he's British remember),
5) Lessons in patents and the lengths to which you will have to defend them,
6) How entrenched product manufacturers will buy companies to squelch a superior technology to keep it off the market,
7) How your wayward son who goes off to study art may actually end up richer than you.
8) How to protect yourself from unscrupulous competitors (are there any other kind?)
Most important of all are his rules for design and for startups.
His basic rule for coming up with new products goes like this:
Find a durable consumer product that every household buys. Find out what bugs people about this product. Use technology to dramatically improve its performance -- preferably find the technology in other industries. Look for new materials providing superior durability. Prototype, prototype, prototype. Test, test, test. Then design outward for style and ergonomics (Form follows function.) Don't listen to others. Don't hire consultants. Market and manufacture it yourself.Read more ›
This is a true entrepreneurial story, with all the ups and downs, and dozens of interesting insights. Dyson's perspective and attack on the state of British manufacturing and funding is in itself a must read for every entrepreneur. Additionally, we get a glimpse at his no-nonsense, "Edisonian" approach at innovation: don't worry about the experts, get to it, test one thing at a time, iterate, improve, rinse, repeat. It took Dyson 1000+ prototypes to arrive at his first vacuum cleaner.
This is a book that every existing or aspiring entrepreneur, designer, and engineer will find something in (spoiler: don't pick one, be all three). Great read.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Awesome seller, awesome product, super fast shipping AAA+++Published 17 months ago by Andre Maltais
This book is a joke. I've grown a great deal of dislike for both Dyson and his products. Do yourself a solid and go buy something by Walter Gropius. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Erik
I got this book because I have seen James Dyson on many advertisements for his famous vacuum cleaner and recently I found that he was a Billionaire. Billions from a vacuum? Read morePublished on April 2, 2014 by Joseph G. Wick
Super inspirational, a must read for everyone. Dyson has a never give up mindset, and despite flopping school he went out and created a storm. Read morePublished on February 27, 2014 by Roy
Awesome book showing what is takes to succeed. It is amazing to see how many times James failed in his journey and how he kept on going. Read morePublished on December 9, 2013 by R. Minton
I always wanted to know how Dyson did it and this gives a very personal story of a human journey that I can recognise and identify with - except that he makes so many more mistakes... Read morePublished on September 8, 2013 by Dr Keith Alexander
Even if the book holds no relevance to what you do or want to do you can't help but feel inspired to do something after reading this. Read morePublished on May 19, 2013 by aks001
Dyson: Both the book and the man are hard to like. In the book the author comes across as both petty and mean. Read morePublished on September 8, 2012 by Quikwitt