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The Innovation Delusion: How Our Obsession with the New Has Disrupted the Work That Matters Most Hardcover – September 8, 2020
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“[Challenges] us to ask an urgent question: what if we invested as much in maintenance, care, and upkeep as we do in growth, change, and disruption?”—Adam Grant, “The Fall Idea Books to Teach You Something New”
“There’s nothing quite like a pandemic to reveal how much a society relies on maintainers. The Innovation Delusion offers a vital wake-up call. Stirring, sobering, and brilliantly composed, this book is a must-read for everyone who longs for a radical reinvestment in what matters most.”—Ruha Benjamin, professor at Princeton University and author of Race After Technology
“Lee Vinsel and Andrew L. Russell have taken on one of the tech industry’s sacred cows, showing how the chase for the next big thing has harmed countless businesses, left our roads and bridges in a state of neglect, and drained support for the essential workers who keep society going. By equal turns alarming and empowering, The Innovation Delusion is a send-up of Silicon Valley’s empty promises and a much needed plea for sanity in how we think about technology, profit, and work.”—Dan Lyons, bestselling author of Disrupted and Lab Rats
“Vibrant, sure-footed . . . The authors guide readers with clear and contemporary examples of when deferred maintenance led to either slow or fast disaster. . . . The authors also thoroughly expose the unjust hierarchy that leaves maintenance workers at the bottom of the pay scale. . . . A refreshing, cogently argued book that will hopefully make the rounds at Facebook, Google, Apple et al.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“[A] resounding call for sane business growth. Readers will come away from Vinsel and Russell’s urgent and illuminating primer with a new perspective on the importance of maintenance as well as innovation in business.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“In this caring ode to the ordinary grit of maintenance, Lee Vinsel and Andrew Russell light a brilliant bonfire of the vanities from carefree innovation-speak. We should upkeep their message, and repair our corporations, communities, and consciousness. This book is more than a conversation starter—it’s a course correction.”—Guru Madhavan, Norman R. Augustine Senior Scholar and director of programs at the National Academy of Engineering, and author of Applied Minds: How Engineers Think
About the Author
Andrew L. Russell is a professor of history and the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at SUNY Polytechnic Institute. Together, they are the founders of the Maintainers research network and conferences, and their writing on the topics of this book have appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, and Wired.
- Item Weight : 1.2 pounds
- Hardcover : 272 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0525575685
- ISBN-13 : 978-0525575689
- Dimensions : 6.45 x 0.94 x 9.51 inches
- Publisher : Currency (September 8, 2020)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #149,022 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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This book discusses the many areas that people get caught up by digital technology and somehow feel compelled to keep moving along, coming up with new ideas all the time, only to abandon them unfulfilled when even newer ideas take over. The authors compare the people who maintain (‘The Maintainers’) with Susan Cain’s ‘Introverts in her book, “Quirt: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t stop Talking’. They both work quietly in the background but get things done.
The section on caring for our homes is useful. The authors wrote, ‘one of the things that contribute to our sense of burden is a growth mindset – as we build and purchase more and more, we bury ourselves under the things that require our attention and care…. take maintenance into consideration when you purchase objects. Look into things you want to buy – from air-conditioners to fridges to water heaters – and see if they have maintenance problems.’
We are conditioned into adopting ‘unhealthy ideals of efficiency, optimization, and ultimately, perfection in our private lives’.
One final warning: the book is very poorly written, lacks a clear structure, fails to make its key topics interesting and is extremely, mind numbingly repetitive! Its key message could have easily fitted in a 20 page article. I usually manage to get at least some interesting insights from every book that I buy, but this one was a complete waste of money and time.
The book stumbles, however, in wandering around into other areas, such as politics and justice and fields I didn't see as fitting, such as nursing. Did this happen because they were padding the ideas into a book, or that they had some personal agenda items to slip in, or was I missing something? Some time after the halfway point I realized I had gotten the message and skimmed much of the rest.