At Work with Thomas Edison

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Seeks to revive his forgotten business legacy by giving modern managers the tools they need to break loose from Corporate America's innovation-squelching mantra of efficiency, standardization, and control.

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Seeks to revive his forgotten business legacy by giving modern managers the tools they need to break loose from Corporate America's innovation-squelching mantra of efficiency, standardization, and control.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
McCormick, a management professor at Baylor University and author of Ben Franklin's 12 Rules of Management, is obviously enchanted with Edison and believes the inventor's talents haven't been fully recognized. In addition to patenting over 1,000 inventions, Edison was a capable businessman who recognized that innovation is a business, emphasizing the importance of creating a company that produces more than just one good idea. According to McCormick, Edison never invented simply to create a new thing, but rather focused on crafting something that would have a practical use. Edison also believed that one invention often led to a series of inventions, citing the link between the phonograph, telegraph and motion picture. Among the key lessons readers can learn from Edison are "limit your way to greater creativity" (Edison felt his deafness helped his creativity) and "the greatest innovators have made a lot of F's" (failure is essential to inventions). McCormick includes the inventor's own words as well as success stories about others who, like Edison, have achieved success through untraditional methods (including one of this season's top success stories, General Electric CEO Jack Welch). This book will appeal to those curious about Edison as well as anyone seeking tips on achieving entrepreneurial success. The writing is clear and rife with rarely discussed details that offer a new perspective on the achievements of a great American inventor. (Nov. 1) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
McCormick (management, Baylor Univ.; Ben Franklin's 12 Rules of Management) presents an absorbing summary of the major lessons to be learned from Thomas Alva Edison, effectively capturing the spirit of the man Peter Drucker called the "archetype for every high-tech entrepreneur." The ten lessons include how to attract and retain the best talent, build an "invention factory," learn from failure, and recognize play as the heart of innovation. McCormick explains well-known myths about Edison (e.g., he invented a better, cheaper light bulb and held better press conferences announcing his discovery) and offers numerous sidebars that showcase his most creative solutions to problems. Interviews with Edison drawn from contemporary publications further clarify the value of his work in today's "post-corporate world." While this work does not replace the solid, full-scale biographies by Paul Israel (Edison, LJ 10/15/98) and Neil Baldwin (Edison: Inventing the Century, LJ 1/95), it offers astute application of Edison's accomplishments for today's business executives. Highly recommended. Dale Farris, Groves, TX Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781891984358
  • Publisher: Entrepreneur Press
  • Publication date: 12/1/2001
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 6.05 (w) x 9.01 (h) x 0.61 (d)

Meet the Author

McGraw-Hill authors represent the leading experts in their fields and are dedicated to improving the lives, careers, and interests of readers worldwide

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Table of Contents

Foreword xi
Preface xvii
Introduction: 10 Lessons from America's Greatest Innovator 1
The Rise and Fall of Corporate America
"Your Attention Please: You Are Now Leaving the Strange Part"
Ten Lessons
Where Do We Go from Here?
Part I Interview with an Innovator: "Why Do So Many Men Never Amount to Anything?" 15
Chapter 1 America's First High-Tech Entrepreneur 21
The Original Nerd
Six Myths About Thomas Edison
Chapter 2 Turning a Deaf Ear (Into a Competitive Advantage) 33
So, What Happened?
Call the SWOT Team!
Three Good Things about Being Deaf
Limit Your Way to Success
Advice for Your Next Interview
Chapter 3 Talent, Not Titles 53
Rule #1: Start with Entrepreneurial Talent
Curiosity Didn't Kill the Cat
Getting Beyond the Game Show
So What If They Don't Like Me?
The Morning After?
Fixing a Bum Ticker
New Kinds of Work-Sample Tests
Worth Hanging Around For
How About "Lunch at No Additional Cost to You?"
Chapter 4 Get Connected 73
Making Connections with Science
No Experts In the Unknown
Are You Experienced?
The Power of Doodling
Making Connections with Poetry
When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Write Poetry
Part II Interview with an Innovator: "How to Succeed as an Inventor" 95
Chapter 5 Build Yourself an Invention Factory 101
Insulated, But Not Isolated
How to Tell If You Really Are Working for Nazis
Harnessing Creativity with a Few Simple Rules
Where's Your Laboratory?
The Power of One
Chapter 6 Fail Your Way to Success 121
Wisdom from the Runner-Up
Form Follows Function?
Failure as Unexpected Outcomes
Guidelines for Failing Intelligently
A Different Kind of M&M
Chapter 7 Mr. Edison Goes to Wall Street 137
Is Business the Bad Guy?
In Defense of Venture Capitalists
How Edison Got (and Kept) the Capital Flowing
No More Poker Faces
Was Edison a Bad Businessman?
Mistakes Were Made
Part III Interview with an Innovator: "The Age of Speed" 163
Chapter 8 All Promotion Is Self-Promotion 167
It Must Be Some Kind of Trick
The First Magic Kingdom
Edison and the Editors
Feeling Safe and Secure
What Would Oscar Say About This?
Thomas Edison: Cultural Engineer
Show and Tell
Now You See It
Are You Invisible?
Chapter 9 Let Freedom Ring (Cha-Ching!) 189
A Short History of Freedom in Business
Freedom from Corporate America
Freedom of Choice
Freedom from Monopoly
Freedom from War
Freedom from Clutter
Future Freedoms
Chapter 10 Stop Innovating and Start Playing 207
Routine: The Creativity Killer
How to Eat Your Way Out of Your Routine
A Brief History of Time
Those Crazy Kids
Are You Having Fun Yet?
[pi]r[superscript 2] or Pie Are Round?
"Hey, Kaleidoscope Brain!"
How Games Have Fueled the Digital Age
Play Business!
Conclusion--Glow, But Don't Consume Yourself 229
Acknowledgments 233
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Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2004

    Very disappointing

    First, McCormick uses a very annoying technique of inserting large chunks of boxed text throughout the book. There are 42 such instances in a 231 page book (18%) of the pages contain boxed text. That forces you to stop reading the book and read the information in the boxed text. Secondly, the book is only very loosely about Edison. McCormick seems intent on weaving what he knows about any other company into the text. In one section he dwells on Enron,McKinsey & CO. Abbot Labs and Hewitt Associates. If you want a very general overview of the development of the business culture in America, you might find it passable. However, if really learning about Edison is your goal, pick a different book.

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