You are previewing Edison on Innovation: 102 Lessons in Creativity for Business and Beyond.
O'Reilly logo
Edison on Innovation: 102 Lessons in Creativity for Business and Beyond

Book Description

In this fascinating exploration of one of the most celebrated and innovative minds, best-selling author Alan Axelrod cuts through the myths and reverence surrounding Edison’s “genius” to show how the inventor was, in fact, an ordinary man who created extraordinary work. While many of us believe that creativity, like genius, is something that just happens by chance or destiny, Edison’s life demonstrates that creativity of the very highest order can indeed be summoned up at will, and even reduced to a reliable working method and set of principles.

Table of Contents

  1. Copyright
  2. Dedication
  3. Preface
  4. INTRODUCTION
  5. LIFE STORY OF A MIDDLE AMERICAN
  6. GETTING YOUR HANDS DIRTY
    1. Lesson 2: Experiment with Everything
    2. Lesson 3: Become a Boy of the Nineteenth Century
    3. Lesson 4: Knowing
    4. Lesson 5: See It
    5. Lesson 6: Working Bottom Up
    6. Lesson 7: Do the Thing Itself
    7. Lesson 8: Cut and Try
    8. Lesson 9: Know Properties, Not Theories
    9. Lesson 10: Understand Hands-On: Touch Everything
    10. Lesson 11: Miss No Detail
    11. Lesson 12: Know What's Going On Inside
  7. HOW TO USE EVERYTHING
    1. Lesson 13: Profit from Disability
    2. Lesson 14: Lose No Idea
    3. Lesson 15: Be Exhaustive
    4. Lesson 16: Appreciate Your Ignorance
    5. Lesson 17: Sharpen Your Tools
    6. Lesson 18: Embrace Problems
    7. Lesson 19: Problems Are Directions
    8. Lesson 20: The Limits of the Problem Approach
    9. Lesson 21: Use Disaster
    10. Lesson 22: "No Experiments Are Useless"
    11. Lesson 23: Fertile Failure
    12. Lesson 24: Make Defects Their Own Remedy
  8. INVESTING
    1. Lesson 25: The Ideal Executive
    2. Lesson 26: Insure the Permanency of an Investment
    3. Lesson 27: Invest in Assets
    4. Lesson 28: Start Small, Scale Up
    5. Lesson 29: Build an Invention Factory
    6. Lesson 30: Support the Shop
    7. Lesson 31: Build on the Weakest Points
    8. Lesson 32: Become a Collector
  9. ENTREPRENEURSHIP
    1. Lesson 33: Take a Reverse Inventory
    2. Lesson 34: Identify Markets
    3. Lesson 35: Define Yourself
    4. Lesson 36: Innovate Without Inventing
    5. Lesson 37: Inspire Confidence
    6. Lesson 38: Take the Credit
    7. Lesson 39: Be Legendary
    8. Lesson 40: Invent Systems
    9. Lesson 41: Think Bigger
    10. Lesson 42: Let Research Lead
    11. Lesson 43: Don't Stop Experimenting
    12. Lesson 44: Invite Distraction
    13. Lesson 45: Time It
    14. Lesson 46: Imagine the Future
    15. Lesson 47: Get Between
  10. CREATING YOUR CUSTOMERS
    1. Lesson 48: Get the News
    2. Lesson 49: Give Praise to the Dissatisfied Customer
    3. Lesson 50: Educate the Customer
    4. Lesson 51: Learn the Market
    5. Lesson 52: Niche Thinking: Find a Small Space to Make It Big
    6. Lesson 53: Offer an Edge
    7. Lesson 54: Move into a More Hospitable Environment
    8. Lesson 55: Sell Innovation
    9. Lesson 56: The Limits of Innovation
    10. Lesson 57: Become a Brand
    11. Lesson 58: No Such Thing as Overproduction
  11. MAKING RAIN
    1. Lesson 59: Be Skeptical, Never Cynical
    2. Lesson 60: Get the Biggest Picture
    3. Lesson 61: Design What You Need
    4. Lesson 62: Create New Uses for Whatever You Have
    5. Lesson 63: "Guard Against Results"
    6. Lesson 64: Exploit the Unexpected
  12. GRINDING IT OUT
    1. Lesson 65: Learn a Lesson from The Temperate Life
    2. Lesson 66: Know the Known
    3. Lesson 67: Want Some Real Labor? Try Thinking
    4. Lesson 68: "Genius Is 1 Percent Inspiration and 99 Percent Perspiration"
    5. Lesson 69: Work the Problem
    6. Lesson 70: Redesign
    7. Lesson 71: Don't Stop with Version 1
    8. Lesson 72: The Two Masters
    9. Lesson 73: Try a Kaleidoscopic Approach
    10. Lesson 74: Exploit the Details
    11. Lesson 75: Speed
    12. Lesson 76: Plod
    13. Lesson 77: Unlimited Incentive
    14. Lesson 78: If At First You Do Succeed, Try Again Anyway
  13. MANAGING
    1. Lesson 79: Never Neglect Logistics
    2. Lesson 80: "Mean to Succeed"
    3. Lesson 81: Plan for Spontaneity
    4. Lesson 82: Create a Shop
    5. Lesson 83: Start a School
    6. Lesson 84: Make Creativity a Predictable Process
    7. Lesson 85: Create Standards
    8. Lesson 86: Subdivide, Delegate, Empower
    9. Lesson 87: Harvest Complaints
    10. Lesson 88: Favor Fluid Structures
    11. Lesson 89: Keep Score
  14. FAKING GENIUS
    1. Lesson 90: Model It
    2. Lesson 91: Get on the Train
    3. Lesson 92: To Innovate, Imitate
    4. Lesson 93: Do It Better
    5. Lesson 94: Create by Analogy
    6. Lesson 95: Make the Problem the Solution
    7. Lesson 96: Analogy Again
    8. Lesson 97: Another Problem, Another Solution
    9. Lesson 98: New Wholes from Old Parts
    10. Lesson 99: Better to Elaborate Than Replace?
    11. Lesson 100: Prefer Evolution to Revolution
    12. Lesson 101: Make the New Familiar
    13. Lesson 102: Work Beyond the Cutting Edge
  15. AN EDISON CHRONOLOGY
  16. TWO HUNDRED REPRESENTATIVE PATENTS
  17. SUGGESTED READING
  18. The Author