Here's a terrific, inspiring and impressive book about inventors and the innovation process, from author Brett Stern. Written entirely in conversational style, from thought-provoking Q and A, the reader has the rare opportunity to uncover business truths that are not apparent from more theory-oriented books in this category. The book is sprinkled with a mix of subjects and dialogue, from technology, products and pitchmen, that extends to all corners of our economy.
Author Stern is an able oarsman here, guiding the conversations with quiet confidence and purpose, gleaning new insights and material for us with each discussion. We initially get a full background of each inventor, with the conversations then leading to nuggets of usefulness from each of the participants interviewed.
I recommend this book to anyone interested in business and innovation, who is curious about what it takes and means to "break through". Seasoned inventors will be entertained by the new ground covered here, and people just getting started in their careers will find valuable information to use in their unfolding journey.
I thought this was an interesting and informative book which is easy to read. It provides case studies of people who have developed innovative and useful products for society. I think this book could be used as part of a college course to study the inventive process and what is required to successfully bring new and potentially disruptive concepts to market.
Author Stern uses an interview format to gain interesting insight into the way these inventors work. Questions like "what's cool about the job?" and "how many fingers get cut off? are typical of his inquisitive style which brings responses that are new to those of us who may have already read about, or heard some of these people speak. Interesting, engaging and fast-paced.
Excellent book and insights into the creative mind of inventors and their passions covering different methods and approaches to invention. Brett Stern is an excellent interviewer as well, uncovering the seedlings of thought processes that are revealed throughout the interviews...
Many books have become available in recent years about Entrepreneurship, and a good number have also appeared on product development and innovation. But few of these books has made a detailed study of the full invention process as gleaned from the mouth of the inventors themselves in succinct but in-depth interviews. This book benefits from the personal knowledge and interviewing skills of Brett Stern, who is himself an Industrial Designer and Inventor of surgical instruments, medical implants, and who is the holder of eight utility patents. These interviews with 23 inventors and teams involved in the invention process focuses on a diverse group of individuals ranging from academic scientists, to physicians perfecting their own tools, to Ron Popeil the Infomercial King and his specialty houseware(s), to Steve Wozniak developer of the first Apple Computer. Mr. Stern's skillful questioning based upon his own experience of invention and product development proceeds from a common core of base questions like biographical background and childhood experiences to detailed and insightful questions based upon each inventor's field of expertise and corporate, academic or entrepreneurial background. These inventors have been chosen to reflect a diversity of crafts and technologies ranging from commonplace household objects, to the most technical of academic/corporate specialties. They have a variety of involvement in the technical concerns and marketing process of the objects they invent ranging from academic research and senior corporate researchers to those for whom marketing and customer need identification is primary and for whom the technical process is primarily delegated to consultants. Mr. Stern provides insightful thoughtful questioning based upon both the common aspects and differing technical and organizational environments of each inventor.
There is much to learn from these deep interviews and biographies of working inventors, and Bret Stern manages to capture the flavor skills and caveats of each sort of invention in the corporate, academic, medical and entrepreneurial settings. I highly recommend these interviews for Makers, Inventors, Business People and all those seeking to be involved in innovation.
--Ira Laefsky, MS Engineering/MBA Information Technology Consultant and Researcher formerly on the Senior Consulting Staff of Arthur D. Little, Inc. and Digital Equipment Corporation