4 out of 4 stars
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Have you ever viewed a simple invention on an episode of Shark Tank and thought, "Why didn't I think of that?" Although I have been described by others as creative, and I enjoy the creative process, I will confess that I have never considered inventing a product. However, after reading Invent, Innovate & Prosper: A Step-By-Step Guide to Successful Inventing by Michael G. Colburn, I am definitely more open to the idea.
The 272-page book is flawlessly edited and is by far, the most comprehensive how-to book I have reviewed to date. With over forty years of experience and inventions and business ventures worth over a million dollars, the author shares detailed instructions for each step of the process. He addresses everything from how to think like an inventor to defining the problem, inventing the solution, patents, troubleshooting, commercialization, and licenses. In addition to a thorough bibliography, he even provides sample forms at the end of the book. Interestingly, the author stresses that inventing is a skill that can be learned. “Any one of us with normal talents and determination can become an inventor.”
Perhaps, like me, you haven't personally considered the possibility of invention; I'd like to encourage you to keep an open mind for a few reasons. First, if the invention of a product simply isn't your thing, the author also explains how the inventive process can be applied by creators of music, art, and literature. Second, despite my initial hesitation to select a book about invention with close to 300 pages, the author's straightforward and encouraging writing style is quite engaging. I should also note that the book seems shorter, possibly because the final chapter ends on page 170; the rest of the book consists of profile discussions and appendixes, including the sample forms I mentioned previously.
Throughout the book, the author illustrates the importance of observation in the inventive process by sharing excerpts from Sir Author Conan Doyle's character, Sherlock Holmes, which I particularly like. He also ends each chapter with "Kernel of Invention" sections highlighting specific inventors. Although many historic inventors are noted, I especially enjoyed reading about Lori Greiner. She is currently known as the "Queen of QVC" and as a cast member on Shark Tank, but her first invention was a box for organizing earrings. She had to borrow the money to patent it and create a sample, but it "was picked up by J.C. Penney before one holiday sales season. About 18 months later, the earring product reportedly 'made her rich'."
There isn't anything I dislike about this comprehensive guide. I am pleased to rate it 4 out of 4 stars.. I recommend it to both readers who are interested in invention and creative makers who may not have previously considered it.
Invent, Innovate & Prosper
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