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The Myths of Innovation by Scott Berkun

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Preface

By idolizing those whom we honor we do a disservice both to them and to ourselves…we fail to recognize that we could go and do likewise.

—Charles V. Willie

Prefaces are often like bad first dates: too much talk, too soon. Books, like future significant others, should know how much to say and when. Chapter 1 gets the first slot for a reason: if I've done my job, you can start with its first sentence and continue until you hit the back cover. That said, I offer you the choice of skipping the rest of the preface and digging in, or skimming around. It's the only way to know if we're right for each other. I hope we are, but if you don't like what you find, it's me, not you.

The aims of this book

The goal is to use myths about innovation to understand how innovations happen. Each chapter discusses one myth, explores why it's popular, and then uses the history of innovations—recent and ancient—to explain the truth. Although debunking and demystifying does take place, the intent is to clarify how innovation happens so that you'll better understand the world around you and can avoid mistakes should you attempt innovation yourself. My job as author is to:

  1. Identify myths about innovation.

  2. Explain why they're popular.

  3. Explore and teach from the truth.

The book takes on business, scientific, and technological innovation all at once, striking at the roots of the innovation tree more than the branches. Even if you are aware of many of the myths, you won't be bored by their dissection; the related truths are often more interesting than the myths themselves.

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