From Publishers Weekly
When, in 1999, journalist Kemper started following the efforts of Dean Kamen to invent a new type of transportation device, he could hardly have known the story would turn out to be at once enormous and tiny. Kamen, inventor of the Uber-hyped Segway (a two-wheeled scooter with an impressive self-balancing system), was already wealthy from earlier inventions (e.g., portable dialysis machines, drug-infusion pumps) when he set his boutique engineering firm to work on the Segway (or "Ginger"). Shrouded in secrecy from the beginning, the project quickly took on a messianic quality, with Kamen proclaiming Ginger would be the primary mode of transportation in a decade. The combination of a cool, mysterious new toy with the timing of the late years of the Internet gold rush created a venture capital feeding frenzy, with figures like Steve Jobs and Jeff Bezos clamoring to be a part of project Ginger. Kemper's rigorously fair-minded book, which gives all due credit to Kamen and his team, also records Ginger's endless delays, brought about by what he casts as a mixture of Kamen's egomaniacal hubris and his company's inability to think in practical terms (the project was shockingly far along before anyone considered what state regulators might think of the new vehicles that would soon vie for space on sidewalks). The last act is well known. Kemper's book proposal gets leaked and a media circus swirls around the secret world-changing project, only to collapse in a welter of "That's it?" disappointment. The result is a book that is eye-opening and heartbreaking.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
" What really makes the book's engine rev is the outsized personality of Dean Kamen, and the clash of ..." -- New York Observer, June 16, 2003
"... he documents it well in an intense, highly readable book." -- San Jose Mercury News, June 22, 2003
"the book's portrayal of the passionate, eccentric subculture of engineering is fascinating..." -- Boston Globe, June 15, 2003
... [Steve] Kemper is at his best ... -- Popular Science, July 2003
... early chapters of "Code Name Ginger" are rich with stories about Mr. Kamen's zany brilliance and showmanship. -- Wall Street Journal, June 17, 2003
..." works best as a personality profile; second-best as a "Soul of the New Machine" type of project diary." -- Network World
...Code Name Ginger is a lively ride around the block... -- Washington Post, JUNE 8, 2003
...Kemper used his access well to write a fascinating account of the messy process of invention... -- New York Times, June 8, 2003
To his credit, Kemper retains a sense of balance, portraying Kamen as a fascinating yet flawed idealist ... -- Fortune Magazine, July 7, 2003
delivers the exciting behind-the-scenes story of bringing a dream to the marketplace. -- BookPage, June 2003