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Eureka!: The Surprising Stories Behind the Ideas That Shaped the World Paperback – July 6, 2010

3.7 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Marlene Wagman-Geller is the author of two previous books, Once Again, to Zelda and Eureka!. She lives in San Diego.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 259 pages
  • Publisher: TarcherPerigee; 1 edition (July 6, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399535896
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399535895
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.7 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,849,096 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Book Review | 'Eureka!: The Surprising Stories Behind the Ideas That Shaped the World'
'Light bulb' moment explored: Forehead slaps changed globe

By Scott Coffman * Special to The Courier-Journal * August 7, 2010

The central conceit of this extremely enjoyable book is ingeniously simple: Begin each chapter with a somewhat vague description of a historical figure -- who may or may not be recognizable by name alone -- and then fill in the remaining pages with the person's story, complete with the "Eureka!" event that changed lives and history.

The story of the author's moment of inspiration -- the one that was the gestation of the book -- is entertainingly told in the forward. Wagman-Geller also describes the criteria for the stories included in the book: Some stories fell to the wayside not because they were less than riveting, but because they lacked a "light bulb" moment. Other stories had the requisite "slap to the forehead" origins, but not enough verifiable information was available about the creators and their handiwork.

The disparate subjects included never fail to entertain: the name Anne Made Grosholz may be unfamiliar, but only a hermit would be unfamiliar with her life's work; Pierre de Coubertin created the most famous quadrennial event in the world, even if you didn't know it; uncover the connection between the allegedly treasonous Alfred Dreyfus and racing great Lance Armstrong; learn the shocking last request of Bill Wilson, self-described as "just another drunk" and yet a savior to millions; discover the daughter of immigrants who created one of America's most enduring icons; and learn the identity of the "boy born on the wrong side of the tracks..." and how his Eureka has "... changed the way (the world) does business.
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Format: Paperback
I have always wondered how people take their inspiring ideas and make them into world famous products, etc. For example, how did the idea of Madame Tussand's wax museum actually come into being?! This book gives you the interesting background of the museum, plus many others.

This book proves once and for all that truth is even stranger and more interesting than fiction. You will recognize almost all of the famous people in this book, as the author made a special attempt to include people who would be generally known to the American public.

While the book is frequently noted for how a German sex toy became a Barbie doll, there are so many other intriguing stories. Who knew that Starbucks was rejected as an idea? Or that the slinky really owes its success to a woman?

You'll learn about Dr. Seuss and Woolworth's. You'll be able to regal your friends with your new found knowledge. These are such amazing stories, you won't be able to put the book down or forget them!
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Format: Paperback
I was looking for something interesting to read for a long flight and I don't think I could have selected a better book. There is just enough detail regarding each story to not cross the line into boredom. At a quick glance in the bookstore, I found myself reviewing the ideas and inventions discussed in order to determine if I had enough interest in their origin. When I came across subjects that I would never be interested in (i.e. The Kentucky Derby, Kwanzaa, Race for the Cure, etc.), I read them anyway and found them equally as fascinating. When I got to the end, I was actually disappointed as this was a very entertaining read.
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