4 out of 4 stars
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Inventing something new is simultaneously one of the simplest and most challenging activities I can think of. As Alvin H. Sacks, Ph.D. points out, anyone can come up with unique ways to create solutions to problems they currently face or improve on existing inventions. To promote inventive minds everywhere to hone their craft, Alvin has written a book on the topic: Wannabe An Inventor? Start Here!: How to make your invention a reality and have lots of fun in the process (author's capitalization and punctuation).
Wannabe An Inventor (as I'll refer to throughout the rest of this review) covers everything from coming up with an idea to the technicalities of getting the invention to market. Alvin focuses on "hobby inventors" who invent in their spare time and aren't out to become rich and famous. I liked this focus as it means readers aren't being encouraged to throw tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars at an idea. Instead, ANYONE can try their hand at it regardless of their situation.
Two additional things really stand out to me about Wannabe An Inventor. The first of these is the thorough case study of one of Alvin's own brilliant inventions. The book is broken up into fifteen chapters, and the fifth is focused entirely on the manual self-measurement blood pressure device he invented. In this chapter, Alvin takes readers from the inspiration for this idea through his efforts to get it to market over a fifteen-year period. At the end of the book, Alvin also includes three legal documents that he signed during this process so readers can get a deep dive into the technicalities.
The second truly great thing about this book is Alvin's positive-yet-honest tone. Any book that deals with a serious topic like this should carefully walk the fine line between encouragement and reality. Alvin tells readers that everyone can do it, sure, but he also points out that only 1% of all patents ever make any money. And yes, Alvin shows us that he was able to make money from one of his inventions, but he also points out that he was unsafe during the creation of his prototype and now has severe reactions to epoxy. In the end, I can't imagine anyone will walk away thinking that being an inventor is impossible, but no one will walk away thinking that they can come up with an idea that turns them into a millionaire overnight either. The balance between technical information and general information is just as solid. The book isn't dry, but readers aren't left ignorant of the technical challenges of inventing or how to overcome them.
I also really enjoyed the challenges and prompts the author included to exercise the reader's creativity. However, I would've loved if Alvin included summaries at the end of each chapter, particularly the chapter that includes most of the challenges. Turning this bit into a mini-workbook would've been absolutely magnificent!
Wannabe An Inventor is an excellent book that I'd recommend to anyone who's looking for a new way to challenge themselves creatively, but it's especially perfect for anyone who's considering becoming an inventor. I'd even recommend it to fans of shows like Shark Tank for the behind-the-scenes look at being an inventor. As I mentioned, the book is primarily aimed at "hobby inventors," but Alvin also includes bits of information and recommendations for further reading to those who want to become full-time inventors. It's worth mentioning that I came across 6 grammatical errors and two uses of profanity, but none of this affected my enjoyment of the book, and I wouldn't have recommended it to people under 13 anyway. My rating of Wannabe An Inventor is 4 out of 4 stars.
Wannabe An Inventor? Start Here.
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