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136 of 143 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An essential guide to getting paid for your ideas!
I really like this book because it has opened up a whole new avenue for me, and showed me with simple descriptions all the areas where I was doing it wrong. I almost felt stupid that I did not know about provisional patents. I thought the only way to protect your ideas was the traditional patent route, and the 10-20 thousand dollars that route can cost. I did not know...
Published on March 13, 2011 by Chris Jaronsky

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91 of 104 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not life changing
So I read this book about 5 months ago. After I finished it, I started writing a review but got sidetracked. I was just looking up new books to read and saw that this book had 111 undeserving 5 star ratings, so I am now re inspired to finish my review and caution others. Unfortunately I can't remember all of the things I wanted to say about it, but I do remember...
Published on August 21, 2011 by Il


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136 of 143 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An essential guide to getting paid for your ideas!, March 13, 2011
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This review is from: One Simple Idea: Turn Your Dreams into a Licensing Goldmine While Letting Others Do the Work (Hardcover)
I really like this book because it has opened up a whole new avenue for me, and showed me with simple descriptions all the areas where I was doing it wrong. I almost felt stupid that I did not know about provisional patents. I thought the only way to protect your ideas was the traditional patent route, and the 10-20 thousand dollars that route can cost. I did not know that a simple provisional patent, that can be filed for $110 would give me even more protection than a patent the first year I filed it. And that I could get a company to pay for my patent when they license my idea! How can you not love this book?

Stephen Key walks you through the steps of taking your idea from birth all the way through getting some company to send you royalty checks every quarter. You come up with the idea, then follow the steps laid out to getting paid for that idea. You do not need to have really brilliant ideas either. A simple product improvement can be licensed. A manufacturing change can be licensed. A procedure change can be licensed. The list is pretty endless in regards to what you can do. Can you take an existing product, change it slightly, and use it for some other non-related use? Yes you can, and you can get paid to do it!

Here is how this book will help me. I started writing ideas down in a small five inch notebook on may 4, 2004. I date all the ideas, my memory is not that good. I have 7 of these notebooks filled with ideas, changes, upgrades, etc. I take notes on a voice recorder in my car because ideas always pop in my head while I am driving. I know a lot of people get ideas in the shower, but I was on a nuclear submarine a long time ago and got in the habit of taking very fast showers because we can't waste water. So my shower time is very fast and focused, no time for ideas, but driving really works well for me. The positive side of that experience is that many of my ideas relate to saving resources.

I looked through all 7 books this week. My old thinking told me many of these ideas need an expensive, and time consuming patent. Now that I know about provisional patents I am looking at these ideas in a whole new light. I came across 19 ideas that I can follow up with right now. Then there are many more that need some more thought, and quite a few that are already on the market. Someone that knew how to market them beat me to the punch. That will not happen again.

According to Stephen, licensing is a numbers game. You will not get every idea licensed, it is better to be prolific. With the details he gives in this book I am confident I can research the market, protect my idea, target specific companies, create a "sell sheet" and benefits statement, and approach my targeted companies to start discussing a licensing partnership.

If you have ideas that you think can make money, you need to read this book. I normally read a book once, but I have read and reread many chapters in this book. It is an excellent guide which I am positive will make a difference in my life. I look forward to one day meeting with Stephen and thanking him in person.
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68 of 75 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Invent Yourself Out Of A Day Job One Idea At A Time", March 10, 2011
This review is from: One Simple Idea: Turn Your Dreams into a Licensing Goldmine While Letting Others Do the Work (Hardcover)
One Simple Idea is a practical, real-world guide that will help you take your ideas and get them to market with minimum investment of time and money. It is a great read that motivates the creative genius inside to think outside of the box, dream big, and get paid for it. One Simple Idea is a 5 star book and a steal for anyone interested in turning ideas into cash.

Part 1 focuses on how nice it will be once your ideas pay off and you are earning extra income.

"Find Your Million-Dollar Idea" (Part 2) really kicks off the valuable information in the book. This section offers great advice on what makes an idea valuable and marketable. Key emphasizes simplicity and how small ideas can make big money. While this part is good, I think it's also the weakest section in the book. Key only offers three creative thinking methods to come up with ideas . . . each just a paragraph long. He focuses on other idea generation methods that are simpler, but creative thinking techniques can unlock tons of great ideas in my experience. Going in depth here would make this book too long, but it would have been nice to include some additional recommendations for idea generation. For a book that is really strong in this area, check out Thinkertoys: A Handbook of Creative-Thinking Techniques (2nd Edition). It makes a great companion to One Simple Idea: Turn Your Dreams into a Licensing Goldmine While Letting Others Do the Work

Also in Part 2, Key gives an "idea litmus test" (70-73) to measure the ideas that you dream up. This is a great tool and a step that could be easily missed.

"Prove Your Idea" (Part 3) offers real world techniques to prove the viability of your idea. The information in this section is easily worth the price of ten copies of the book. Key's thoughts on prototype development (105-110) remove financial and fear barriers from the inventor's equation. Using his methods anyone can test markets with a little research and create great prototypes of their invention with minimal investment.

"Protect Your Idea" (Part 4) is the most valuable section in the book. If Part 3 saves the price of ten copies, Part 4 could save the price of a thousand copies. The first chapter details Key's method of protection through patents. His thoughts on this (not to mention the additional information on StephenKey.com) could save an inventor thousands of dollars, if not tens of thousands. Getting advice like this from an entrepreneur is more valuable than advice from a patent attorney.

The second chapter in this section details the best method to protect yourself when presenting your idea to others. Again, the advice is not just theoretical. Key spells out exactly what to look for and what to add to your agreements (133-134).

"Prepare to Pitch Your Idea" (Part 5) details how Key has licensed his products. His two-step method is simple, easy-to-follow, and a great idea. Anyone who has evaluated products of any kind will appreciate his approach. It will give you success more frequently and limit your failures to substance, not style.

"Submit Your Idea to Potential Licensees" (Part 6) details methods to do just that. Key gives techniques to narrow down your list of companies and even includes access to a part of his site that will give you the names of more than 1,300 companies that license products through open innovation (see page 173). Chapter 17 then details what to do once you narrow your list of companies down. Key's advice on cold-calling is practical and very helpful. This section could easily be applied to a wide variety of businesses. Key has obviously made many thousands of calls over the years and presents methods that will help you secure a licensing agreement.

"Bring Your Ideas to Market" (Part 7) gives a brief overview of how to negotiate and cut your first licensing deal. While there is not enough information in this section to answer all your questions, it is a great start. It is helpful to know what the going rate for royalties on inventions is, and Key does not hold back any information.

Be sure and check out the last two pages of the book for Key's 10 Steps from Idea to Market (222-223). He references the steps a couple of times throughout his book, and finally gives them all in one place at the very end.

"Appendix: Valuable Resources" is the last part of the book. The only thing better than a great book is a great book that points you in the right direction to learn more. Most of the resources on this page direct you to a section of Key's website. The advice is valuable, though the page on his site could be better organized and indexed with hyperlinks. Also, the recommended business book section is weak with only two books recommended. However, this could all be updated quickly and the resources themselves are very valuable.

*Pros
- Excellent advice. Real-world help, not conceptual theory.
- Will help you take your ideas to the marketplace
- Additional resources and the value added from this book outweigh the cost of the book a thousand times over
*Cons
- Weak on the creative thinking & idea generation sections
- References other chapters throughout the book. Helpful if you read a chapter here and there, annoying if read cover to cover
- Uses same examples too often. I know much more than I want to about Michael Jordan's Wall Ball now.

If you are interested in a book that can actually deliver on its promise to make you money with minimal investment, this is a great one. It is refreshing to read a book that gives real advice, has very little theoretical filler, and clocks in at less than 240 pages. It is a book you will read through once and refer too often when you come across a great idea that has market potential. Buy it and, as two of Key's students say on page 151, "Invent yourself out of a day job one idea at a time."
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91 of 104 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not life changing, August 21, 2011
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So I read this book about 5 months ago. After I finished it, I started writing a review but got sidetracked. I was just looking up new books to read and saw that this book had 111 undeserving 5 star ratings, so I am now re inspired to finish my review and caution others. Unfortunately I can't remember all of the things I wanted to say about it, but I do remember finishing the book and being completely unsatisfied. This review is based off what I could remember and the notes that I took.

I had a few a few ideas that I was hoping to bring to the marketplace. With all of the 5 star reviews I thought for sure this book would be enlightening and the "key" to my shortcomings. Unfortunately I was completely wrong. The only way this book can be that great, is if you've never heard of provisional patents or that you can license an idea. I was not that familiar with licensing, so I could appreciate that concept alone. Basically you come up with an idea, file a provisional patent and present the idea to a licensing company who handles all of the production, marketing and sales. You receive a royalty from the sales and you now have more time to license more ideas. If you've never heard of provisional patents, look it up.

Idea Lab's comment about the book's repetitiveness is completely accurate. It's like a 7th grade essay that repeats the same points in the same manner to drive a point home. Here's a list of the redundancies you'll read:

-The most marketable ideas are usually simple ones; small improvements to existing technology
-He has 20 licensed products under his belt
-The conventional way of developing and licensing an idea is dumb and unnecessary, i.e. spending thousands of dollars and tons of time on creating prototypes and patents
-He developed the rotating label
-It's a numbers game; generate a lot of ideas

I actually found it insulting that he would repeat these things along with a few others as if I never read any of the previous sections or understood some of the most simple concepts.

The strongest section was chapter 17 on actually contacting potential licensees. It had some insightful points on the nuances of communicating and presenting to these companies. Overall though, the book was a waste of time. It had a few good ideas, but too much filler and repetitiveness to be worth the read. As long as you understand that you don't need a prototype and patent and that your idea can be licensed, skip this book and learn how to make a provisional patent. I've found this to be the real challenge.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't buy this book..., March 23, 2011
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This review is from: One Simple Idea: Turn Your Dreams into a Licensing Goldmine While Letting Others Do the Work (Hardcover)
...if you're looking for a "get rich quick" scheme or some feel good psycho-babble. But, if you: have an idea for a new product and are willing to work hard to see your idea through, this is definitely the book for you.

The author, Stephen Key, is one of those rare individuals who can "do" as well as can teach and this book is an excellent example of that. In it, Stephen breaks down the innovation licensing process into 10 easy-to-understand steps that take you from studying the marketplace and product ideation to negotiating a licensing deal and collecting royalty checks.

Full disclosure: I've taken Stephen's online licensing class that teaches the exact same steps espoused in this book. Using these steps over the past year or so, I've been able to get my ideas evaluated by a significant number of companies. In fact, I'm currently negotiating licensing deals for two of my product ideas and am hoping to receive royalty revenue from both of them by the end of the year! Thank you Stephen!
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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Real Deal - Forget Ferris...Go to the Guru himself!, March 3, 2011
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This review is from: One Simple Idea: Turn Your Dreams into a Licensing Goldmine While Letting Others Do the Work (Hardcover)
Timothy Ferris had a huge hit with "The Four Hour work Week". He almost single-handedly transformed the world of work by creating the concept of working smarter rather than harder into a process that people could at least partially adopt in their own lives. What you may not know is that Ferris began part of that journey thanks to the concepts in this book.

Stephen Key, the author of "One Simple Idea" has been around for awhile...chances are you have personally encountered more than a couple of his ideas. The concept of licensing has also been around for quite awhile but it was only when I saw it put into action that the "click" went off in my own mind. Years ago I knew two people that put together a relatively simple concept during the dot-com era and became overnight millionaires by licensing it out. Neither was especially brilliant and both were fortunate to have terrific timing. This was an era when most of us were simply in awe of being able to earn $1 per word for generating content - to say most of us "didn't get it" would be an understatement.

A few years later someone else I knew personally was in a position to put this into action and despite a LOT of ups and downs - managed to take a company public. The third time was a charm...it finally clicked but there were still unanswered questions. By now I knew it could be done and have seen first hand three people put it into action. None will be taking on Bill Gates but all have radically transformed their own standard of living and have been in a position to pursue a lifestyle they love. This book finally begins to fill in the gaps.

Wonderful book. Not as much hype as Ferris but a lot more substance.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Recipe for Success is Missing!, February 1, 2013
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One Simple Idea has turned out to be almost exactly what its name implies – a simple idea that should be obvious to anyone interested in the book’s subject matter. With so many simple ideas, we often find ourselves thinking “Of course! Now why didn’t I think of that?” On this expectation, One Simple Idea falls flat.
I have no doubt that Stephen Key has been successful in marketing ideas to companies, but many of the claims he makes in the book seem overworked if you inspect them further – claims that he makes in an effort to boost his credibility. For example, he states that he holds 14 patents, but coyly separates that statement from his later proclamation that 13 of those are on a single idea of his. His featured reviews infer that he was behind such blockbuster products as Laser Tag and Teddy Ruxpin, when in fact, he merely worked (at one time) at the company or with the person that was behind them, with no direct involvement ever mentioned.
This is not to say that Mr. Key does not know the process of licensing an idea and getting it to market, and this book presents a useful, if thin, plan to do so. But much like the inflated representation of his body of work, this book could be condensed to perhaps a quarter of its length with no loss in content. Large portions of the book are restatements of previous thoughts, or declarations that he will let you in on the crux of the matter in a later chapter, rather than when he first brings the subject up.
Turning the page, One Simple Idea is certainly an up-to-date book. I enjoyed reading about products that the author’s students licensed (he teaches a workshop on the same subject) that I have either purchased or am very familiar with in the market today. He mentions current technology and social media, and appropriate (and inappropriate) uses of it with regards to marketing.
I like this book, but I cannot get over the thought that Mr. Key never brings everything together. It’s like he’s trying to tell you how to make the most delicious chocolate cake, and his message is that you need flour, eggs, sugar, chocolate, and a really good recipe. The ingredients are obvious to a novice baker, or an interested inventor. What is the recipe, Mr. Key?!? -Three stars.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Starter Book for the Aspiring Inventor, November 9, 2011
This review is from: One Simple Idea: Turn Your Dreams into a Licensing Goldmine While Letting Others Do the Work (Hardcover)
I am a patent attorney and have practiced patent law for over 7 years. I have worked with hundreds of inventors over the course of my career, and was able to bring that experience to my reading of Stephen Key's book "One Simple Idea." I actually recommend the book to some of my clients for whom I think the book would be valuable. I believe the book is an awesome starter book for someone who wants to be an inventor, and make money doing it. However, you will need more than this book if you want to go all the way, since licensing and patenting is just not covered in enough depth to be meaningful in practice. You'll need to find resources that provide more detailed instruction on these topics. Still, the book is inspirational, motivational, and will get you off your butt and working toward your goal.

In a nutshell, Stephen Key's approach is to make SIMPLE improvements over existing products, and file a provisional patent application on these improvements before trying to find a licensee for the idea. It's an excellent strategy that has worked for some. There are also many other strategies that can work just as well for some inventors, and Key at least touches on some of these other strategies. I don't think he spends enough time talking about the potential downsides to filing a provisional patent application; these types of patent applications have their own set of risks that can, in some cases, affect the enforceability and scope of the patent issued therefrom. Key does make a convincing case that licensing your idea can be a superior option to starting a business from scratch. I've seen many businesses in my career that have put tens of thousands of dollars into their idea, and are still waiting for their first paycheck; this can be a risky and time-consuming route.

Overall, this is a short read and recommended to someone thinking of becoming a professional inventor. Just realize that this book only scratches the surface.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Add 3 Stars!, April 8, 2011
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This review is from: One Simple Idea: Turn Your Dreams into a Licensing Goldmine While Letting Others Do the Work (Hardcover)
I bought the book earlier this week, read it in 1 day and haven't stopped working on the steps to licensing success yet. It is going to change my life (I know that sounds crazy). If you are like me and have thought to yourself "Boy, if I could only get someone to put me in an office somewhere and pay me to just think S@#$ up...", buy this book and start putting YOUR ideas to work for YOU.

I have been struggling with bringing one of my ideas to market for over a year now. It has taught me why so many great ideas go unrealized: It is so hard! Actually, close to impossible to do it all yourself and have a positive outcome. Stephen cured me. I am going to rent my idea to someone who has the money and manpower to actually make it happen, and then I am moving on to the next idea.

Get this book, and good luck!
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32 of 40 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars One Simple Book, skip it unless you are a total newbie to marketing, August 23, 2011
By 
David Fauvre (Menlo Park, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: One Simple Idea: Turn Your Dreams into a Licensing Goldmine While Letting Others Do the Work (Hardcover)
I am sick and exhausted with get rich books sold as some way to 'live your dream' this is just an age old selling strategy used in MLM and recently by the noxious snake oil salesman Tim Ferris whose books are filled with his vision of something he never did. I should have been warned when the opening chapter is a tribute to Tim...uh,oh.

No doubt the author is a smart guy and probably would be enormously helpful as a business coach, but this book is too basic to be of any use unless you are completely new to business marketing and have been living under a rock. The book reads like a ghost written child's version of what the author actually does or teachers in his courses...which you can purchase online for $1000....so maybe that's the point. Unless someone is entirely new to business or marketing, this book is way too 'simple' to have any value. I was really hoping for something meatier and less intro level.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Filled with personal advice, March 16, 2011
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This review is from: One Simple Idea: Turn Your Dreams into a Licensing Goldmine While Letting Others Do the Work (Hardcover)
Steven does an excellent job discussing his personal take on how to deal with an idea from conception to getting your foot in the door to actually licensing your product. I have red a bunch of books on licensing ideas and this is by far the easiest read. He does not make it like textbook reading, he makes it fun easy to read yet engaging. Beening an Amatuer inventor I can tell you that I have taken away 4 very important learning lessons from this book:

- The importance of an NDA
- Cutting cost through PPA's
- The importance of a sellsheet with a benefit statement.
- The first thing to say on any cold call after an introduction should be that benefit statement (so true).

Steven thanks for all your advice!
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One Simple Idea: Turn Your Dreams into a Licensing Goldmine While Letting Others Do the Work
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