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The Myths of Innovation Hardcover – May 15, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-0596527051 ISBN-10: 0596527055 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (May 15, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596527055
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596527051
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (105 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #690,515 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Scott Berkun worked on the Internet Explorer team at Microsoft from 1994-1999 and left the company in 2003 with the goal of writing enough books to fill a shelf. The Myths of Innovation is his second book: he wrote the best seller, The Art of Project Management (O'Reilly 2005). He makes a living writing, teaching and speaking. He teaches a graduate course in creative thinking at the University of Washington, runs the sacred places architecture tour at NYC's GEL conference, and writes about innovation, design and management at http://www.scottberkun.com.


More About the Author

Scott Berkun (@berkun) is the best selling author of four books, Making Things Happen, The Myths of Innovation, Confessions of a Public Speaker and Mindfire Big Ideas for Curious Minds. His work has appeared in the The Washington Post, The New York Times, Wired Magazine, Fast Company, The Economist, Forbes Magazine, and other media. He has taught creative thinking at the University of Washington and has been a regular commentator on CNBC, MSNBC and National Public Radio. His many popular essays and entertaining lectures can be found for free on his blog at http://www.scottberkun.com.

Customer Reviews

Very easy to read and interesting.
Amazon Customer
I can tell I'm reading a good book if, in the middle of it, I'm flooded with ideas and I have to resist the urge to put the book down and go make things happen.
J. Leblanc
Scott Berkun has written a great little book on debunking the myths of innovation.
K. Sampanthar

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 40 people found the following review helpful By K. Sampanthar on May 19, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Scott Berkun has written a great little book on debunking the myths of innovation. He uses the myths to help explain how innovation happens. He also delves into some of the reasons for why these myths are popular and then proceeds to provide some insights on how to approach innovation without falling prey to these myths.

He starts the book with a great story of when he visited Google's head quarters and joined a tour group. He describes the moment when two of his co-tourists whispered to each other pointing over to a group of programmers "I see them talking and typing, but when do they come up with their ideas". This lays the groundwork for the rest of the book. It's a question many people ask of any creative/innovative person. Scott continues to explore our fascination with innovation and our desire to find the hidden secrets. Like all myths, the ones behind innovation are derived from quaint stories from history; Newton's Apple, Archimedes' bath tub.

Each chapter addresses one of the main myths and exposes the real path to innovation:
- the myth of epiphany,
- we understand the history of innovation,
- there is a method for innovation,
- people love new ideas,
- the lone inventor
- and many more.

The book is a fun read, and Scott has a very witty writing style. His stories and personal experiences help to explain some of his counter-intuitive demythologizing. As always the classic sign of a book I love, is that by the end I have many pages highlighted and copious notes written down the margins. Scott's book definitely fell into the category of `stimulating'. Even when I disagreed with him, I agreed with his underlying point.

I highly recommend the book for anyone interested in innovation.
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Format: Hardcover
(review of 2nd edition - 10/03/2010)

"Innovation" is a word that gets used so often in marketing hype that it seems to have lost its meaning. Scott Berkun sets out to reclaim the word and offer up a true definition in his book The Myths of Innovation. I found this book so compelling while reading it on my iPad that I ended up figuring out how to do highlighting as there were many points I wanted to remember and ponder.

Table of Contents:
The myth of epiphany; We understand the history of innovation; There is a method for innovation; People love new ideas; The lone inventor; Good ideas are hard to find; Your boss knows more about innovation than you; The best ideas win; Problems and solutions; Innovation is always good; Epilogue - Beyond hype and history; Creating thinking hacks; How to pitch an idea; How to stay motivated; Research and recommendations

One of the reasons this book resonated so deeply with me is due to my view of how people add importance to events that weren't critical at the time. For instance, a particular battle may be touted as the turning point of a war, and a commander's decision a brave and ingenious move. But the battle could have just as well been lost, no one would have written it up, and some other potential outcome would have decided the war. We seem to think that the outcome we received was the only possible course, and that's incorrect. Quoting Berkun: "Yes, when we look at any history timeline, we're encouraged to believe that other outcomes were impossible. Because the events on timelines happened, regardless of how bizarre or unlikely, we view them today as predetermined." I'm glad to see that Myths fights back against this common belief.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Terry Bleizeffer on June 11, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Have you ever been to a party and met someone with a great job and a great sense of humor and ended up spending the entire party drinking beer and swapping interesting stories? That's what Scott Berkun's new book, "The Myths of Innovation", felt like to me. There are lots of books on my shelf that I know I ought to read, and many of them I struggle through and afterwards feel like it was a valuable investment of my time, however painful. This wasn't one of them - this is one of those rare books that feels like reading for pleasure, and yet you learn something along the way.

And I might add that the colophon alone is worth the price of the book (a sentence that perhaps has never been written).

I wonder how much time and research Berkun did on this book before he came up with the idea of orienting the book around myths? Was that the idea all along? Or did it emerge over time? Because it turns out to be a perfect way of presenting the material. First, everyone loves to feel like they know something that other people don't - the truth behind the myths. This "peeking behind the curtain" approach is a great way to keep the material interesting. Second, innovation is such a complex area that it would be very difficult to write a book about what innovation is -- it's a lot easier to talk about what it isn't. But by providing the boundaries via the myths, it inevitably provides great insight into how innovation really happens. And third, myth debunking seems to fit Berkun's auctorial voice. His casual, conversational tone is not only funny and engaging, but it naturally allows the type of speculation and interpretation that is necessary for the topic. In other words, a textbook-style examination of innovation would be a very poor choice.
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