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Innovate Like Edison: The Success System of America's Greatest Inventor Hardcover – October 25, 2007

4.4 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“People who haven’t considered Thomas Edison since high school will see him in a new light, so to speak, after reading Innovate Like Edison.”
USA Today

“[A] must-have for anyone who wants to turn creative ideas into profitable reality.”
—Dr. Vijay Govindarajam, Amos Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth College, author of Ten Rules for Strategic Innovators --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Michael J. Gelb, a renowned innovator in the field of creative thinking and leadership development, is the bestselling author of How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci, Body Learning, Samurai Chess and Present Yourself! Since 1978 Michael Gelb has conducted seminars around the world for companies such as BP, IBM, DuPont, KPMG, and YPO. He lives in Edgewater, New Jersey. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton Adult (October 25, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525950311
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525950318
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 1.1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #190,776 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Stephen J. Susina on October 30, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The first thing you'll realize is that this is not your ordinary business book. You will not find self-serving case-studies of previous consulting assignments. You will not read broad generalizations thinly supported by a limited number of examples. You won't learn best practices designed for R&D managers.

What you will find is an extraordinarily researched book that provides a rich narrative of the life and times of Thomas Edison. At the same time Innovate LIke Edison crafts a framework that describes how Edison managed his business ventures to achieve his remarkable record of innovation. The payoff is that you will be able to learn how to apply Edison's thinking to today's life and work.

The book is filled with some very interesting anecdotes that show both the complexity and elegance of Edison's work. For example, within the first half-dozen pages you'll learn, that the light bulb is not a single invention, but rather a combination of five separate inventions: an improved vacuum process; a thin, high-resistances filament, platinum lead-in wires; a method for holding the filament in place; and connecting these elements in a glass-blown bulb.

At the heart of Innovate Like Edison is an approach to categorize the innovation process into five broad competencies: solution-centered mindset, kaleidoscopic thinking, full-spectrum engagement, master-mind collaboration, and super-value creation. Each competency is characterized by five individual elements, making it easy for the reader to understand and grasp the building blocks of innovation. Much as electric light is based on multiple individual inventions, Edison's innovation is the culmination of multiple best practices.
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Format: Hardcover
Michael J. Gelb has become one of my favorite non-fiction
authors . . . his bestseller, HOW TO THINK LIKE LEONARDO
DA VINCI, impressed me so much that I now use it the Creativity
course that I teach . . . several other books followed, and
while they were all good, I do believe that he has topped himself
with his latest effort: INNOVATE LIKE EDISON, co-authored with Sarah Miller Caldicott--Edison's great-grandniece.

INVENTOR, it is a winner from the very first page . . . there's
a short but fascinating biography of Edison, followed by
an easy-to-apply system of five success secrets--known as
the Five Competencies of Innovation.

These are as follows:
1. Solution-Centered Mindset: how to keep unwavering focus
on finding solutions;

2. Kaleidoscopic Thinking: how to juggle multiple projects, generate
many ideas and the make creative connections or discern patterns;

3. Full-Spectrum Engagement: how to manage and balance a
massive workload with social life, family and other obligations;

4. Master Mind Collaboration: how to multiply individual brain power
by bringing the right people together; and

5. Super-Value Creation: how to target all creations to an existing
market and provide value to potential customers.

Gelb and Caldicott describe these secrets, then show how they
can be utilized in many different situations . . . I liked how
they gave real examples, using both large and small companies . . . in
addition, they effectively "updated" Edison's work by viewing it
through the eyes of such contemporary thinkers as Edward
de Bono, Martin Seligman, Daniel Goleman and others.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I am not convinced that Thomas Edison would endorse all the ideas in Michael Gelb and Sarah Caldicott's book. But maybe that isn't so important. The authors present a five-competency, twenty-five element model of innovation, interwoven with stories about Edison's life, research, and business practices. While not an Edison biography, it is also something more than just another coffee-table business book.

The first chapter introduces the authors' five innovation competencies and the concept of "innovation literacy" that can be learned and measured. The second chapter is a well-written short biography of Thomas Edison, including a chronology of major life events, outline of family relationships, and exploration of special topics such as "Edison and Women" and "Edison's Follies and Foibles." A side-bar candidly covers Edison's stormy relationship with fellow inventor Nikola Tesla.

The next five chapters address the book's central question--what are the core competencies of innovation? Innovators who possess Competency #1, a Solution-Centered Mindset, align their goals with their passions, cultivate charismatic optimism, seek knowledge relentlessly, experiment persistently, and pursue rigorous objectivity. These qualities are illustrated with anecdotes from Edison's career and supported by developmental exercises.

The remaining four competencies are similarly treated. Competency #2, Kaleidoscopic Thinking, consists of maintaining a notebook, experiencing "ideaphoria"--the "delightful well-being that accompanies the effortless flow of insights and ideas"--discerning patterns, expressing ideas visually, and exploring roads not taken.
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