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Finding the Next Steve Jobs: How to Find, Keep, and Nurture Talent Hardcover – September 24, 2013

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (September 24, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1476759812
  • ISBN-13: 978-1476759814
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #554,668 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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)

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 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.

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 #1 New York Times bestseller Forks over Knives; and The Watch, the definitive book on the wristwatch.

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Customer Reviews

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The book is written in a very conversational tone and is filled with fantastic anecdotes.
When I obtained Finding the Next Steve Jobs I thought I'd start reading and see if it held my interest.
Few people are brave enough to think outside the box, but that's where the great ideas are.
Kevin Pezzi, MD

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Pezzi, MD on April 4, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Howard Rothenbach on May 28, 2013
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Nolan Bushnell hits the nail right on the head when he writes that creatives can't be caged. I've found the same to be true with my present work as a volunteer coordinator. The stuffy, everything must have a rule attitude, that I deal with on a regular basis chases most of my volunteers away after one or two visits.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jan Sollish on May 22, 2013
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I bought this book because, although am not in a tech industry, I do work in Silicon Valley. I am always looking for insights into the people I deal with. Many books ( with the exception of Steve Jobs biography) have been very boring.
Not so with Nolan Bushnell's book. FIVE STARS!
Mr. Bushnell has written a well crafted and fascinating look into a world few of us know. Each chapter is a "sound bite"...short (2-3 pages) but packed with interesting facts about companies we all are familiar with.
Not only that, the very subject of of creativity begs to be explored. And, apparently Mr.Bushnell, has dedicated much of his life to finding creative individuals, much like himself, and opening doors for them to explore their dreams and our present and future.
I bought this book for my three administrators.
I would hope anyone involved with creative people will pick up this book. We seem to have lost the deep and abiding respect, hope and faith in the creative individual.
It is so good to know that there are powerful people like Mr. Bushnell who are also ethical, empathetic, in touch with humanity and humorous!
Buy this book!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Craig Matteson HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on October 3, 2013
Format: Hardcover
This is a delightful and most useful business book.

Of course Steve Jobs the individual was sui generis, but the point of this book is that there are lots of people out there who can contribute to your organization the way Steve Jobs contributed to Bushnell's companies before he became "STEVE JOBS". The trick is not only to find them and recognized them, but to cultivate them, hold onto them, and spark their creativity and contribution. Most organizations say they want creativity but then shun it and if they accidentally hire it they consider it a mistake and squash it at every turn. Then they say that the age of the great creative minds and spirits has passed. Well, for them it never was. But others are pulling it off every day.

Nolan Bushnell, of course, is most famous for starting Atari and Chuck E. Cheese. But he has done many more cool things in life and this book is full stories from his career to illustrate the principles (he calls them pongs instead of rules - because rules can be too rigid and stultifying) he lays out for you. These pongs are short, clearly stated, and cleverly argued. Frankly, it has been a long time since I enjoyed a business book this much. For me, it seemed fresh, more than clever, and spot on in its points.

The author gives you creative ways to find creative types, identify the real ones from the poseurs, how to hire them, develop them, keep them fresh, manage them, use them within a true business setting without stifling them or killing the business, and what your jobs as the boss actually are.

As just one example, I loved his notion of keeping the naysayers and toxics from killing ideas with their cheap talk by making people write down their problems with the ideas put forward.
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