Sell yours for a Gift Card
We'll buy it for $2.00
Learn More
Trade in now
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Against the Odds: An Autobiography Hardcover – April 17, 2003

ISBN-13: 978-1587991707 ISBN-10: 1587991705 Edition: 2nd

12 New from $50.00 28 Used from $27.82
Amazon Price New from Used from
Hardcover, April 17, 2003
$50.00 $27.82
Free%20Two-Day%20Shipping%20for%20College%20Students%20with%20Amazon%20Student

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Best Books of the Year
Best Books of 2014
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for 2014's Best Books of the Year in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Texere; 2 edition (April 17, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1587991705
  • ISBN-13: 978-1587991707
  • Product Dimensions: 9.7 x 6.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,253,016 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

James Dyson is an inventor and the founder of Dyson Appliances. He invented the Dual Cyclone, the country¿s biggest selling vacuum cleaner. He is also a board member of the Design Council. He lives in Malmesbury, Wiltshire.

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

Reading Dysons book takes you along for the ride.
D. Myer
Being interested in innovation and entrepreneurship I was looking forward to reading this book, and I was not disappointed at all.
E. M. WOLERY
This book should be required reading at all business schools.
John C. Dunbar

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Donald B. Siano on October 1, 2004
Format: Hardcover
The story told here, an autobiography, is one of the most inspiring that I've read in a long time. Dyson is an inventor and industrial designer who has taken his bagless vacuum cleaner from the garage to a huge enterprise. I loved this story and wound up really admiring the man. His distinctive approach to industrial design, his perseverance and gutsy self confidence enabled him to show that even in the world of huge multinationals, with all their central research laboratories, there are still opportunities for the lone inventor to make it, big-time.

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.
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By John C. Dunbar on January 14, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a great story of a stubborn, possibly cantankerous, designer turned manufacturing entreprenur. It was a real page-turner and I couldn't put it down.

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 ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Rolf Dobelli HALL OF FAME on December 21, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This book is subtitled "an autobiography," but it isn't really about James Dyson, the man. It is about James Dyson, the inventor and designer who conquered the vacuum cleaner market. The difference? Dyson includes everything that might explain his success as an inventor, but gives only limited attention to his personal or interior life. Dyson briefly mentions some crucial points, like the strain his ongoing travels put on his marriage, or his wonderment at his companies' many lawsuits, but if you're seeking a man's inside emotional story, this isn't it. However, if you're looking for an exciting account of an inventor who proceeds, as Dyson puts it, in an Edisonian fashion, read this book. We recommend it to anyone engaged in design, engineering, marketing or innovation. The stories it contains, especially the descriptions of inspiration or frustration - are refreshing in this theoretical age, as is his advice on creating and marketing innovative products. Dyson's book proves that a vital place still exists for individual vision and old-fashioned perseverance.
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A. Burris on October 31, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I just finished reading a really great book that I think that anyone would enjoy. The name of the book is "Against the Odds" and the author is James Dyson. I bought my copy from Amazon.com.This book has everything and was hard to put down. It is a recent (2002) well written fascinating autobiography of Dyson who took huge risks and overcame tremendous difficulties to rise from poverty to become Sir James and a billionaire by inventing the very successful cyclonic vacuum cleaner and other products. The book is about innovation, what makes people resist innovation and act against their own interests, business principles and organization, marketing in different cultures, education, etc. and is a great story especially when you are in need of a little inspiration. Read what he did when he was told "Your product can't be any good because if there was a better way to make a vacuum cleaner, Hoover would have already done it".
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews


What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?