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Finding the Next Steve Jobs: How to Find, Keep, and Nurture Talent Paperback – September 23, 2014
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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)
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.
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In fact there some stories about Steve but nothing more then I already knew.
Then I start to find Bushnell "pongs", as he call the different sections of the book, quite interesting and under certainly point of view delightful. But honestly they are less then stories, really summarized, maybe the longest "pong" is 4 pages. If you take out of the book all the blank pages the book would be probably half of its actual size. It is not matter of waist of space on the book, which would have been better filled up with longer stories and more details, it is that it seems they wanted make the book look bigger then what it is in real.
Anyway I enjoy reading it and I could get to know better the genius of Bushnell.
Feeling overwhelmed with everything you need to do this year? Want to break old habits, get out of a rut, or change your daily routine? Live by dice! Here’s how:
1) Buy Dungeons and Dragons dice. Keep the 20 sided and the 8 sided dice in your kitchen, car, or office.
2) Create a list of 8 new daily habits you would like. Every day, roll the 8 die, and do whatever number it lands on.
3) Create a list of 20 lifelong goals. Roll the 20 die, and do whatever number it lands on until you finish the goal. Then, roll again.
I love this strategy praised by Atari founder Nolan Bushnell. He didn’t invent the strategy, but it’s the reason he wrote my favorite business book of all time, Finding The Next Steve Jobs.
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!
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. Most are short chapters with both anecdotes and specific suggestions, making them easily consumable, a little at time, for people with busy lives (doing creative things, I assume). There's advice on everything from hiring interviews to finding creatives (via Twitter!) to "instituting a degree of anarchy" to requiring risk (and "rewarding turkeys").
So, for example, Bushnell suggests one way to make it harder for a company to say No is to make people responsible for their criticism, because those with the most authority in a go/no-go decision "tend to be the ones who can analyze it least intelligently." One way, he says, is to set a rule that objections must be written down. For one thing, it forces the critic to be specific: "If the worst part of an idea is its cost, writing down actual numbers forces people to be more precise," Bushnell says, and it lets the idea's creator rebut or investigate the options.
The pongs make for outstanding reading, but I reluctantly withhold a fifth star because I'm not completely sure who will read this book. Certainly it's not the people whom we would agree NEED to read it, such as all the "We've always done it this way" bean-counter-led organizations that... well, I'm sure you've worked for a few of them, too. If you're trapped in one of those businesses, trying to break out, I worry that you'll just get depressed. The book is great reading for businesspeople who already are thinking in terms of fostering creativity, but I wonder how much of the advice will be really NEW.
I absolutely enjoyed the book -- as much for the geeky nostalgia about what it took to create a gaming company in the 70s and 80s, when microcomputers were spawning a revolution. I think some of his ideas are great, and I hope your company adopts them. But even if it doesn't, you'll enjoy reading this.