The Myths of Innovation

The Myths of Innovation

by Scott Berkun
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The Myths of Innovation by Scott Berkun

In this new paperback edition of the classic bestseller, you'll be taken on a hilarious, fast-paced ride through the history of ideas. Author Scott Berkun will show you how to transcend the false stories that many business experts, scientists, and much of pop culture foolishly use to guide their thinking about how ideas change the world. With four new chapters on putting the ideas in the book to work, updated references and over 50 corrections and improvements, now is the time to get past the myths, and change the world.

You'll have fun while you learn:

  • Where ideas come from
  • The true history of history
  • Why most people don't like ideas
  • How great managers make ideas thrive
  • The importance of problem finding
  • The simple plan (new for paperback)

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. Now in an updated and expanded paperback edition, it's a fantastic time to explore or rediscover this powerful view of the world of ideas.

"Sets us free to try and change the world."
--Guy Kawasaki, Author of Art of The Start

"Small, simple, powerful: an innovative book about innovation."
--Don Norman, author of Design of Everyday Things

"Insightful, inspiring, evocative, and just plain fun to read. It's totally great."
--John Seely Brown, Former Director, Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC)

"Methodically and entertainingly dismantling the cliches that surround the process of innovation."
--Scott Rosenberg, author of Dreaming in Code; cofounder of

"Will inspire you to come up with breakthrough ideas of your own."
--Alan Cooper, Father of Visual Basic and author of The Inmates are Running the Asylum

"Brimming with insights and historical examples, Berkun's book not only debunks widely held myths about innovation, it also points the ways toward making your new ideas stick."
--Tom Kelley, GM, IDEO; author of The Ten Faces of Innovation

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781449399610
Publisher: O'Reilly Media, Incorporated
Publication date: 08/13/2010
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 248
Sales rank: 1,224,180
File size: 5 MB

About 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.

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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The Myths of Innovation 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
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
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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