The Shark's Paintbrush: Biomimicry and How Nature is Inspiring Innovation

( 1 )


The wave of the future has been around since the beginning of time: it’s called Nature. Let inventor and entrepreneur Jay Harman introduce you to stunning solutions to some of the world’s thorniest problems.

The principle driving this transformation is called biomimicry, and Harman shares a wide range of examples of how we’re borrowing from natural models to invent profitable, green solutions to pressing ...

See more details below
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (13) from $9.04   
  • New (8) from $12.00   
  • Used (5) from $9.04   
The Shark's Paintbrush: Biomimicry and How Nature is Inspiring Innovation

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$10.49 price
(Save 44%)$18.95 List Price


The wave of the future has been around since the beginning of time: it’s called Nature. Let inventor and entrepreneur Jay Harman introduce you to stunning solutions to some of the world’s thorniest problems.

The principle driving this transformation is called biomimicry, and Harman shares a wide range of examples of how we’re borrowing from natural models to invent profitable, green solutions to pressing industrial challenges.
• Why does the bumblebee have better aerodynamics than a 747?
• How can copying a butterfly wing reduce the world’s lighting energy bill by 80 percent?
• How will fleas’ knees and bees’ shoulders help scientists formulate a near-perfect rubber?

The Shark’s Paintbrush reflects a force of change in the new global economy that does more than simply gratify human industrial ambition; it teaches us how to live in harmony with nature and opens bright opportunities for a better future.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The world’s most elegant engineer is without a doubt Mother Nature. She’s efficient, creative, and has time on her hands to put her innovations to the test, and Harman thinks we can learn a lot from watching her work. His company, PAX Scientific Inc., focuses on sustainable design solutions based on mimicking biological adaptations. Sounds far out, but the practice has been around for a while. Archimedes’ screw, a type of water pump that is still used today, is an early example of taking a concept from nature—in this case the spiral—and putting it to practical use. The eponymous paintbrush is equally fascinating. German scientists developed a special paint that, when applied to the hull of a ship in such a way as to mimic the water-repellent design of sharkskin, reduces drag by 5%. This can result in savings of 2000 tons of fuel per ship, per year. Looking elsewhere, scientists are learning about anticoagulants from leeches, acoustics from dolphins, antibiotics from Komodo dragons, shock absorbers from woodpeckers, and computer networks from slime molds. Harman points out that many of these developments would not only save money, but also prove an enormous boon to the survival of Mother Nature. His vision of a biomimetic “new global economy” is timely, crucial, and thrillingly eye-opening. Photos & illus. Agent: Danny Baror, Baror International. (June)
From the Publisher

"Imagine Indiana Jones, Huckleberry Finn, and Erasmus Darwin rolled into one person, and you will have some sense of what it is like to roam and see the world through Jay Harman's biomimetic eyes. The Shark's Paintbrush is a memo of kindness from the living world in a time of crisis and doubt: life in all its intricacy offers untold possibilities for the transformation of civilization."
- Paul Hawken, author, Blessed Unrest

“Jay Harman is the quintessential biomimic, a principled inventor who sees solutions everywhere he looks in the natural world. And he looks deeply, with the soul of a student. He moves with grace from a world of waving sea kelp to the world of sustainable design, bringing nature’s wisdom into the board rooms of global companies, to the design tables of the engineers and designers who make our world. This is more than a business book, more than a memoir, more than a new way to solve global challenges. It’s a book about a new way to think.”
–Janine Benyus, author of Biomimicry and founder of Biomimicry 3.8

The Shark’s Paintbrush reveals how nature is inspiring design to be more efficient, effective, resilient, and beautiful. In Nature’s 3.8 billion years of design experience, the roughly 99% of designs that didn’t work got recalled by the Manufacturer. The 1% that survived can teach profound lessons about how things should be made, how they work, and how they fit. Jay Harman’s immersion in and curiosity about the natural world have made him one of the best biomimetic designers. The Shark’s Paintbrush is a masterly field guide for all designers and entrepreneurs who aspire to help the world of the made work like, and live harmoniously with, the world of the born.
–Amory B. Lovins, Chairman and Chief Scientist, Rocky Mountain Institute

“At this point in our global ecological crisis, the survival of humanity will require a fundamental shift in our attitude toward nature: from finding out how we can dominate and manipulate nature to how we can learn from her. In this brilliant and hopeful book, Jay Harman shows us how far the new field of Biomimicry has already progressed toward this goal. The Shark’s Paintbrush makes for fascinating and joyful reading — much needed in these dark times.”
–Fritjof Capra, author of The Science of Leonardo and The Tao of Physics

“It blows my mind how the same patterns repeat themselves in flowers, growth in animals, and in shell spirals. When engineers mimic designs from nature, more efficient designs for windmills and fuel efficient vehicles are the result. Many of the breakthroughs are counter intuitive. Jay Harman has told the promise of Biomimicry in a compelling way. The Shark’s Paintbrush is essential reading for people interested in design and engineering.”
–Temple Grandin, author Thinking in Pictures

Kirkus Reviews
Green entrepreneur Harman offers a trendy pitch for innovative green capitalism. The author is the founder and CEO of PAX Scientific, a green corporation that specializes in engineering designs for "more-energy-efficient industrial equipment…based on nature's fluid flow geometries." He suggests that corporations should increasingly look to nature for inspiration, as has the modern pharmaceutical industry--e.g., synthesizing the active ingredients found in quinine and penicillin. An early such example of biomimicry, writes Harman, was Archimedes' screw. Even something as mundane as barbed wire has a natural model in the use of "fencing woven from naturally occurring briars," and the invention of "the hoop-and-loop structure" of Velcro was inspired by George de Mestral's annoyance at being attacked by burrs while hiking. At Cornell University, the long blades of wind turbines have been replaced by panels made from foam blocks that vibrate, creating a "vibro-wind" similar to tree leaves shaken by the wind. At the University of Maryland, they have created a "a mini, single-bladed, helicopter" based on the "single-winged samara seed." The author also discusses the advances made by his own company and makes the unsubstantiated claim that PAX fans are 50 percent more energy efficient than those of competitors. Would-be entrepreneurs will appreciate Harman's account of the difficulties he has experienced trying to find seed capital and to market his inventions, as well as his game plan for issuing common stock in order to attract "source money from angel investors." The author is not shy about self-promotion: "Now I find myself credited with being among the first scientists to make biomimicry a cornerstone of modern future engineering." A useful update on recent developments in biomimicry and an intriguing case for innovative green technology that goes beyond sustainability.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781935952848
  • Publisher: White Cloud Press
  • Publication date: 7/23/2013
  • Pages: 326
  • Sales rank: 1,530,642
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Jay Harman is a scientist, inventor, and entrepreneur dedicated to creating breakthrough technologies through biomimicry that will radically reduce energy consumption worldwide. He continues to conduct field research leading to new biomimetic products. Harman is CEO of PAX Scientific based in San Rafael, CA.
Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Nature of Innovation

1: The Next Industrial Revolution
2: Going with the Flow
3: Catching the Worldwide Wave

4: Secrets from the Sea
5 : Scales and Feathers
6 : The Bee’s Knees
7: Spores and Seeds
8 : Wampum

9 : The Corporate Jungle
10: Dollar Signs
11: Reorganizing (Your) Business


Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 1 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 11, 2015

    Jay Harmon has a unique eye for how nature applies her own effic

    Jay Harmon has a unique eye for how nature applies her own efficiency to the physical world.  His years as an outdoors-man in
    Australia combined with his own penetrating curiosity are the gifts he possesses to produce this well written, easy to read book on the
    marvels of nature and how she adapts to challenges.  A great book for youngsters who may someday apply their learning to help
     preserve our world and humanity. 

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)