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Finding the Next Steve Jobs: How to Find, Hire, Keep and Nurture Creative Talent Paperback – March 26, 2013

4.6 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"An absolutely invaluable book by the founder of Atari and the man who launched Steve Jobs' career" (Walter Isaacson, author of Steve Jobs)

"The man who helped give a generation the game of Pong now gives a new generation a series of pongs for their careers. Nolan Bushnell's book is a spirited and insightful road map for anyone trying to navigate the new world of work." (Daniel H. Pink, author of To Sell is Human, A Whole New Mind and Drive)

"Nolan is a genius, and a generous one, too. Like most geniuses who share their secrets, his secrets are simple, and available to anyone with the guts to listen." (Seth Godin, author of The Icarus Deception)

“A primer on how to ensure a company doesn't turn into a mind-numbing bureaucracy that smothers existing employees and scares off rule-bending innovators such as Jobs.” (Michael Liedtke Associated Press)

"There are a lot of highlights to Nolan Bushnell's career... but one of the more glorious footnotes is that he was one of Steven P. Jobs's first and only bosses." (Nick Wingfield The New York Times) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Nolan Bushnell is a technology pioneer, entrepreneur, and engineer. Often cited as the father of the video-game industry, he is best known as the founder of Atari Corporation and Chuck E. Cheese’s Pizza Time Theatre. His new company, Brainrush, draws on the latest developments in brain science to improve the educational process. He lives in Los Angeles.

Gene Stone, a former book, magazine, and newspaper editor for such companies as the Los Angeles Times, Esquire, Harcourt Brace, and Simon & Schuster, has ghostwritten thirty books (many of which were New York Times bestsellers) for a wide range of people in many different fields. Stone has also written numerous titles under his own name, including The Secrets of People Who Never Get Sick, which has been translated into more than twenty languages; the New York Times bestseller Forks Over Knives; and The Watch, the definitive book on the wristwatch. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Net Minds Corporation (March 26, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0988879514
  • ISBN-13: 978-0988879515
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #998,107 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Robert Morris HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 7, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Nolan Bushnell is a technology pioneer, entrepreneur and engineer. Often cited as the father of the video game industry, he is best known as the founder of Atari Corporation and Chuck E. Cheese's Pizza Time Theater. Over the past four decades he has founded numerous companies, including Catalyst Technologies, the first technology incubator; Etak, the first digital navigation system; ByVideo, the first online ordering system; and uWink, the first touchscreen menu ordering and entertainment system, among others. Currently, with his new company, Brainrush, he is devoting his talents to enhancing and improving the educational process by integrating the latest in brain science. Additionally, he enjoys motivating and inspiring others in his speeches on entrepreneurship, creativity, innovation and education.

In this volume, written with Gene Stone, Bushnell shares just about everything he has learned -- thus far -- about the do's and don'ts of identifying, recruiting, hiring, onboarding, nurturing and (when necessary) protecting, and then retaining the [begin italics] creative [end italics] any organization needs to achieve its strategic objectives. In fact, having sufficient creative talent should be among those objectives. Immediately he establishes a direct and personal, almost conversational rapport with his reader as he focuses on a series of insights, 52 of which are admonitions that serve as titles of 52 brief chapters. For example, "Make your workplace an advertisement fir your company (#1), "Hire the crazy" (#10), "Hire under your nose" (#15), "Champion the bad ideas" (#27), "Neutralize the naysayers" (#40), and "Take creatives to creative places (#42).
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If you want to study accomplishment, someone once told me, don't look only at the creative individual's life and choices. Look at the person's parents' background, because those people likely established an environment that permitted (if not inspired) the freedom to think differently. (Which is not to say that parents get the credit, but rather that they enabled the creativity, intentionally or otherwise.) If that's so, then it also makes sense to look at the attitudes of creative people's mentors, too -- and top on the list has to be Nolan Bushnell.

I think Bushnell is less-well-known to younger techies and entrepreneurs, and that's a damned shame. He founded and/or ran several companies that blazed new paths and did the unexpected, most prominently Atari and Chuck E Cheese -- as well as quite a few that didn't succeed, about which he is more candid than most. That alone would make his business advice worth listening to.

In this context, however, Bushnell is the most interesting (or marketable?) because of his impact on the young Steve Jobs, when Jobs (and then Woz) came to work at Atari. Bushnell saw Jobs' skills (and his weaknesses, too) and took the kid under his wing, creating a lifelong relationship in which they clearly inspired one another. And, as Bushnell writes, "The truth is that very few companies would hire Steve, even today. Why? Because he was an outlier. To most potential employers, he'd just seem like a jerk in bad clothing. And yet a jerk in bad clothing can be exactly the right guy to give your company the highest market capitalization in the world."

In this book, therefore, Bushnell shares snippets of advice -- he calls them "pongs" -- that can help a business identify and foster the creative talent within the organization.
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This book was both inspirational and insightful to me, particularly since I had the pleasure of interviewing at the corporate office for Chuck E. Cheese's Pizza Time Theatre during the very early 80's. So many friends went on to work for Atari, Apple, etc... As a creative, the pleasure and excitement of both living and working in Silicon Valley has brought great joy and meaning to our lives. Nolan Bushnell & Gene Stone have both put into words how to find, hire, keep and nurture the unconventional minds it takes to make-up (in my opinion) what has become the "Florence" of our time. The most successful patrons are those willing to take chances on people who are not only passionate about everything they do in life, but also intrinsically motivated and possess the moxie to flourish in their own ways.
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I work (probably not for long!) for a company synonymous with high-tech creativity. Nolan Bushnell's spellbinding book corroborated my suspicions about what's wrong with their corporate culture, and why they are successful instead of being hyper-successful. I was mystified by why they love what I call my little ideas but not my big ones that could change the world and make them more valuable than Apple, Microsoft, and Google combined. The answer? Fear of being wrong. If my company nixed Henry Ford's big idea as they did one of mine, we'd still be riding horses and bicycles.

They claim to embrace big ideas but instead reject them. A salient characteristic of big ideas is that they initially sound brash if not nutty. Imagine if a young Thomas Edison told them, "I have an idea for putting a carbonized bamboo filament in a bulb that will create a demand for a distribution system to bring electricity into every home and business. Yes, electricity is dangerous, but it will make the world a better place. Really."

My employer asks me to think of solutions to all sorts of problems. One request initially seemed so mundane that I decided to let it percolate in my brain by building a shed (readers of this book will know why that's important). Somewhere between the first nail and the last coat of paint, an idea popped into my head that met their request but also solved one of the biggest problems in the world today: a problem that seems unsolvable. My first prototype worked and subsequent ones were even better. Not only did it work marvelously, but it was easy to PROVE that it worked. It could be quickly produced for a low cost and there is nothing else like it, thus permitting substantial profits without plundering customers.
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