May 7, 2007
The Myths of Innovation--New from O'Reilly: Everyday Magic from Scott Berkun about True Origins of Inventions, Discoveries, and Techno-Breakthroughs
Sebastopol, CA--"The question of where ideas come from is on the mind of
anyone visiting a research lab, an artist's workshop, or an inventors'
studio. It's the secret we hope to see--the magic that happens when new
things are born," says bestselling author Scott Berkun.
So begins Berkun's highly entertaining and mesmerizing second book, The
Myths of Innovation (O'Reilly, $24.99). In it, the former Microsoft
manager digs into the history of innovation. He starts with the
Greeks--who created a group of nine goddesses, the Muses, to represent
creative power--and explores numerous inventions on up through the recent
software and Internet years. Berkun illuminates why much of what we think
we know about innovation is outmoded and sometimes dead wrong.
"I studied how the great innovators achieved what they did and why certain
things both worked and failed," says Berkun, also the author of the
bestselling The Art of Project Management (O'Reilly). "Along the way, I
discovered amazing, mind-blowing facts from history that I wish someone
had told me long ago. I wanted to distill the deepest, funniest, most
powerful lessons from all my research into a form others could use so that
anyone interested in changing the world could have a fast, entertaining,
and thought-provoking path to the truth."
So what are some of these mind-blowing facts? "Well, Isaac Newton was
never hit by an apple," notes Berkun. "The Nobel Peace Prize is named
after the man who invented dynamite, which has been used in every war
since its creation. Henry Ford was inspired to make assembly lines by
watching his butcher take animals apart. And Google's page-rank idea was
inspired by how academic papers list their references."
In his new book, Berkun also demystifies the concept of epiphany to reveal
the truth about how breakthrough ideas are generated and evolve.
"Epiphany, for all its graces, is largely irrelevant because it can't be
controlled," says Berkun. "Even if there existed an epiphany genie
granting big ideas to worthy innovators, they would still have piles of
rather ordinary work to do to actualize these ideas."
Instead, Berkun empowers readers to start solving their problems (or the
world's problems) now. "Readers discover the confidence to seek true
innovation and to challenge those people who have misplaced faith in the
myths," says Berkun. "And readers will be able to look at their world and
their work with a sharper eye--one that helps them find the true path for
The CTO of Amazon.com Werner Vogels agrees: "This book cuts through the
hype, analyzes what is essential, and more importantly, what is not. You
will leave with a thorough understanding of what really drives
Berkun's power to explain the truth about innovation will change the way
you think about creativity and show you how to bring your creations or
inventions to the attention of the world. The Myths of Innovation is for
scientists, artists, inventors, DIY-ers, managers, makers, crafters, moms
and dads, and anyone involved in creating something new or fostering an
environment where ideas grow and thrive.
Praise for the "Myths of Innovation"
"Insightful, inspiring, evocative, and just plain fun to read...It's
-- John Seely Brown, former Chief Scientist of Xerox, and Director, Xerox
Palo Alto Research Center (PARC); current Chief of Confusion
"Small, simple, powerful: an innovative book about innovation."
-- Don Norman, Nielsen Norman Group, Northwestern University; author of
"Emotional Design" and "Design of Everyday Things"
"The naked truth about innovation is ugly, funny, and eye-opening, but it
sure isn't what most of us have come to believe. With this book, Berkun
sets us free to try to change the world, unencumbered with misconceptions
about how innovation happens."
-- Guy Kawasaki, author of "The Art of the Start"
"Brimming with insights and historical examples, Berkun's book not only
debunks widely held myths about innovation but also points the ways toward
making your new ideas stick. Even in today's ultra-busy commercial world,
reading this book will be time well spent."
-- Tom Kelley, GM, IDEO; author of "The Ten Faces of Innovation"
"I loved this book. It's an easy-to-read playbook for anyone wanting to
lead and manage positive change in their business."
-- Frank McDermott, Marketing Manager, EMI Music
The Myths of Innovation (Hard cover)
By Scott Berkun
ISBN: 0-596-52705-5, 176 pages, $24.99 US, $32.99 CAN
O'Reilly Media spreads the knowledge of innovators through its books, online services, magazines, and conferences. Since 1978, O'Reilly Media has been a chronicler and catalyst of cutting-edge development, homing in on the technology trends that really matter and spurring their adoption by amplifying "faint signals" from the alpha geeks who are creating the future. An active participant in the technology community, the company has a long history of advocacy, meme-making, and evangelism.
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