The Myths of Innovation / Edition 1

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Since its initial publication, this classic bestseller has been discussed on NPR, MSNBC, CNBC, and at Yale University, MIT, Carnegie Mellon University, Microsoft, Apple, Intel, Google,, and other major media, corporations, and universities around the world. It has changed the way thousands of leaders and creators understand the world. The release of this paperback edition, updated and expanded with four new chapters, presents a fantastic opportunity to explore or rediscover this powerful view of the world of ideas.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781449389628
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/14/2010
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 225
  • Sales rank: 519,155
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Scott Berkun was a manager at Microsoft from 1994-2003, on projects including v1-5 (not 6) of Internet Explorer. He is the author of three bestselling books, Making Things Happen, The Myths of Innovation and Confessions of a Public Speaker. He works full time as a writer and speaker, and his work has appeared in The New York Times, Forbes magazine, The Economist, The Washington Post, Wired magazine, National Public Radio and other media. He regularly contributes to Harvard Business and BusinessWeek, has taught creative thinking at the University of Washington, and has appeared as an innovation and management expert on MSNBC and on CNBC. He writes frequently on innovation and creative thinking at his surprisingly popular blog: and tweets at @berkun.

His ambition in life is to fill the above bookshelf, which is by his writing desk, with books he has written. If he were smarter, he’d have picked a smaller shelf.

He’s based in Seattle, WA, but speaks often all around the world speaking about creativity and other topics he’s written about. If you’d like to hire him to speak at an event, head over here: You can watch videos of him in action and get in touch.

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Table of Contents

Commitment to research accuracy xiii

Preface for the paperback edition xv

Chapter 1 The myth of epiphany 1

Chapter 2 We understand the history of innovation 17

Chapter 3 There is a method for innovation 35

Chapter 4 People love new ideas 53

Chapter 5 The lone inventor 69

Chapter 6 Good ideas are hard to find 83

Chapter 7 Your boss knows more about innovation than you 97

Chapter 8 The best ideas win 111

Chapter 9 Problems and solutions 127

Chapter 10 Innovation is always good 139

Chapter 11 Epilogue: Beyond hype and history 153

Chapter 12 Creative thinking hacks 167

Chapter 13 How to pitch an idea 175

Chapter 14 How to stay motivated 187

Appendix: Research and recommendations 193

Photo credits 205

Acknowledgments 207

How to help this book: A request from the author 211

About the author 213

Index 215

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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2013

    Complete rubbish

    Zero insight just tedious blog
    Little tidbits of disconnected facts - no doubt all taken from internet or plagiarized
    Annoying style too. Like "you'll find this amazing but..." followed by another real yawner
    The only thing i find amazing is that this guy could publish a book - i imagine he's very happy someone "innovated" the internet and that it wasn't a myth

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    What Innovation is Not...

    "Myths of Innovation" (Scott Berkum, Oreilly, ISBN: 978-1-449-38962-8, 228 pages) is an expanded and paper back edition of the hard back book by the same name by the same author. I got an early copy of the eBook as part of O'Reilly Blogger Review program. Unlike conventional books on Innovation, in this book, the author tries to expose some of the popular innovation myths. This, he does by giving a number of examples, incidents and anecdotes. The point he tries to prove is that there is no substitute for hard work and grind, that innovations don't happen by accident, that anyone can innovate - not just the Newtons and Einsteins of the world. After he exposes the myths, the author proceeds to give some practical tips on how to innovate. He says, do not use the term "innovate" - instead solve problems, implement ideas, cure an illness, and so on. As the Nike slogan goes, he says "Just Do it". The book is an easy read. The author has a comfortable style of writing, perhaps, coming out of his innumerable essays and seminars/discussions. I would recommend this book to anyone who has been "told to innovate" or claims to be working in an organization that "innovates".

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  • Posted October 27, 2010


    Are you an innovative thinker? If you are, then this book is for you. Author Scott Berkun, has done an outstanding job of writing an expanded and revised book on where ideas originate to how they are made into things that change the world. Berkun, begins by discussing how it is an achievement to find a great idea, but an even greater achievement to successfully use it to improve the world. Next, the author explores why, much like the myth of epiphany, people are fond of reading and writing histories that make them feel better about the present. Then, he explains why there is no uniformity in innovative progress around the world; because, innovations may be adopted by one culture or nation decades before another. The author continues by explaining why innovations rarely involve someone working alone. Next, he examines how great ideas come from the repurposing of one thing for something else. Then, he discusses why persuasion fuels innovation at all levels. The author continues by explaining why the best ideas don't always win. Next, he discusses how new knowledge sometimes comes to the innovator in strange, bizarre, or incomprehensible experiences; and, why the innovator must chase these experiences until curiosities are exhausted or new solutions are found. Then, the author examines why the best philosophy of innovation is to accept both change and tradition and to avoid the traps of absolutes. He continues by explaining why there is so much hype around creativity today, that the simple truths get lost in the noise. Finally, the author gives advice on the three of the most essential challenges you'll face in trying to follow the simple plan of: coming up with ideas, explaining them to others, and staying motivated after the initial thrill of a new project is gone. This most excellent book recommends that discipline is required to seek motivation when feeling unmotivated; but, that is the difference between a "be" and a "want to be." You'll have to read the book to find out whether it will help you discover what you are capable of.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 17, 2007

    Inspired to Innovate

    It was an easy read and very entertaining. Scott Berkin is able to inject subtle humor throughout the book to help keep the readers interest. It debunked the myth of ¿build a better mouse trap and the world will beat a path to your door¿ Nothing is invented suddenly ¿ everything is built from the work of others. An inventor used all the knowledge available at the time, put different ideas and products together to `invent¿ or innovate something new. The second concept I found interesting was that many new ideas or `inventions¿ never made it at the time. A new idea or product requires several things to come together at once. First the public has to ready, there has to be a demand, second someone has to market it, get it out there to the public. It has to be easy to use or understand by the public. What is interesting is that many discoveries or inventions are credited to a now famous person from history, when in fact several others had done the same work or made the same invention or discovery, but they never moved forward with it, got it into the hands of the right people. Success was usually due to good business skills and clever marketing, not to mention finances to bankroll distribution or publicity. And many inventions were created indirectly while trying to solve a different problem. Being a Project Manager and tasked with solving problems, the most interesting concept Scott puts forth is that by clearly defining the problem up front, it almost solves itself. The solution becomes quite clear. The moral is: spend most of your time in defining the problem or project first, then executing a solution will be easy. The book contains many real life examples of products or ideas from ancient history to more modern times. The computer revolution references were particularly interesting to me, being of that generation and working in the IT field. The book contains a huge bibliography and copious foot notes for those that want additional information to substantiate Scott¿s ideas. It also had a nice index that would normally only be found in a text book or reference book. It was an inspiring book, made me want to revisit some of the ideas and products I had tinkered with in my garage now that I understand the forces at work behind great inventions. It¿s a book I would reference over and over again in order to re-inspire myself to continue any innovative Endeavour

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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