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4.6 out of 5 stars
The Shark's Paintbrush: Biomimicry and How Nature is Inspiring Innovation
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on November 8, 2013
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Not only is this a well-written, highly readable introduction to the wealth of innovations found in nature that would benefit our world, it's also one of the best overviews of the challenges of change dynamics within established industries. The sweep of the potential that understanding and application of the natural world's designs and approaches has for improving the effectiveness of many of our commercial/industrial designs and tools is astounding. How innovations are accepted and incorporated, however, is a long and winding road. Any and all aspiring entrepreneurs in the industrial space should read this, especially the last section of the book. Harman has captured the experience of entrepreneurs, whether they go the "self-financing/grants/angel" route, or venture capitalists. The writing style is unpretentious, clear, engaging, and any reader will gather take-aways of real significance.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on August 27, 2013
Format: Hardcover
As a layperson knowing nothing about biomimicry, I got this out at the library as I love to read about new things. Jay Harman takes you through learning something that ultimately is so simple yet complex with great examples and illustrations in the book. For someone interested in going "green" this is a great read on how we can accomplish that by making things more efficient using nature as guidance.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 7, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
The Shark’s Paintbrush is an excellent read that intersperses insights from the world of design inspired by nature with stories of the natural world drawn from the authors personal experience. I found this personalization provided terrific context for why he is so passionate about biomimicry and bio-inspired design, bringing the ideas contained in it to life, as well as making the book particularly readable.

The book kicks off with a pretty comprehensive tour of what can be achieved from a biomimetic approach to problem solving, drawing on both 'classic' examples of biomimicry as well as sharing cutting edge examples that were completely new, to me at least. The section on fluid dynamics, and how nano and micro vortices can create quite surprising efficiencies in fluid and air flow was particularly fascinating, and started to finally hint at why a bumble can fly, when I believe classic calculations suggest that it is an aerodynamic impossibility. Sometimes evolution is so efficient that it designs executions that far outstrip even our most sophisticated models.

The next part of the book focuses more on the challenges facing entrepreneurs and biomimicists wanting to translate their ideas and prototypes to market. While not applicable to me personally, I found this a fascinating ‘walk a mile in my shoes’ exercise. The later chapters explore how the study of nature can help us to understand systems and processes, and how natures inherent efficiency can act as a model for sustainable innovation. Its hard to overstate how important a concept that is.

All in all an informative, engaging and inspiring book that nicely melds an extremely important and useful topic with the experiences of an interesting individual
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on September 8, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
The introduction of The Shark’s Paintbrush by Jay Harman starts the reader off with a bang. Although it is brief, this initial, intriguing discussion sets the stage for some of the most engaging reading in books on nature. Harman summarizes some of the more exotic ways in which certain animals produce bodily substances that mankind has found a use for. The author calls these biomimicry, utilizing techniques for synthesizing certain bio chemicals. He moves on to form an argument for their necessity. He believes that biomimicry can reduce green house gas emissions and eliminate waste.

The Shark’s Paintbrush is as awe-inspiring as a similar book, Learning from the Octopus by Rafe Sagarin, which was released March, 2012. Harman builds his case by organizing his chapters into three broad areas, the New Golden Age, in which he talks about the Next Industrial Revolution; Biomimicry at Work; and the Nature of Change.

He placates the readers with dazzling anecdotes and selective points of view that make the read an exploration of alternate worlds. He plunges the reader’s mind into an aura of untapped plenty, giving us a responsibility of further developing his mission. You will not be disappointed.
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on October 10, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Quite disappointing. I bought this book after waiting through pre-production for it to be availabel for the kindle. The book is more (i.e. mostly) about the authors struggles in the world of Venture Capitalism to get his Biomimicry business going (interesting but not what i wanted/expected). Far to much me me me for my liking, I was hoping for a book about biomimicry, not a book about how to start a biomimicry business using VC. Judging by the amount of time he spends referencing Janine Benyus' book, I am guessing that will have a lot more relevant material. if you're looking for a book that has a basic introduction to the precepts of biomimicry this is just ok, but if you want pure detail about biomimicry, then Benyrus would be far more useful.
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on March 3, 2014
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
This book is an inspiration; there are designers, inventors and companies that are studying nature's models and making products based on what they see. Examples of biomimicry that are working and first hand experiences of business are interspersed with Mr. Harman's stories of his work as a naturalist. His stories are engaging, sometimes humorous but always the love of the natural world shines through. And the reader is made aware that biomimicry is the way of the future, that it makes sense, that nature is the most sustainable model. A delightful, informative, inspiring book for designers and anyone interested in the objects and processes we live with.
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on February 25, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
The Shark's Paintbrush: Biomimicry and How Nature is Inspiring Innovation by Jay Harmon
This book is about the business opportunities in transfering inventions from the natural world to the manufacturing world. The majority of the book details brilliant inventions based on things evolved by nature. But hanging over every cool invention is the failure to implement it in a profitable way with wide distribution.

When you read about these inventions you will want to buy them, you'll wish they existed because of the good they could do the planet in terms of energy savings, efficiency, and simplicity. Then you'll get really fed up of hearing how venture capitalists and greedy conventional industrialists scuppered these brilliant inventions and inspiring young companies. Getting a paradigm shift past the guardians of the status quo is clearly super difficult. Just because you have a superior product doesn't mean you win market share. From a quiet, low energy, super efficient bathroom extractor fan to an organic shaped watercraft these products sound so wonderful.
Sadly this is not the first time a brilliant inventor has suffered at the hands of investors, his scientific peers, and the world of manufacturing: Viktor Schauberger went through all this at the beginning of the twentieth century as detailed in the book Hidden Nature: The Startling Insights of Viktor Schauberger by Bartholomew and Bellamy.
So I recommend The Sharks Paintbrush as a fascinating read.
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on January 31, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
A thorough journey through the world of biomimicry. I enjoyed the myriad examples of applying nature's best solutions to today's problems. The last chunk of the book, now to run your own business, drags on and feels a bit misplaced. Overall it's a sharp and insightful book that I certainly am glad to have read.
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on May 27, 2014
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
Biomimicry is an exciting "new" field of science. The author details how we can learn how to solve energy and health issues by observing how nature does. Author Jay Harmon intersperses a fairly technical read with lively stories from his own experiences.
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on October 20, 2014
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
Not a Scientist but appreciate what this person is doing and has done. I passed it on to younger people who may benefit from it. We all will benefit from being more resourceful with our material possessions.
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