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The Myths of Innovation

The Myths of Innovation [Kindle Edition]

Scott Berkun
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

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Product Description


"The naked truth about innovation is ugly, funny, and eye-opening, but it sure isn't what most of us have come to believe. With this book, Berkun sets us free to try to change the world unencumbered with misconceptions about how innovation happens." - Guy Kawasaki, author of The Art of the Start "Insightful, inspiring, evocative, and just plain fun to read it's totally great." - John Seely Brown, former Chief Scientist of Xerox, and Director, Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC); current Chief of Confusion, August 2007

The Myths of Innovation is a must-read for creative types searching for their muse--and anyone who want to understand more about the world we live in

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1160 KB
  • Print Length: 192 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (9 Feb 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004OL2YAU
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #164,484 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Scott Berkun (@berkun) is the best selling author of four books, Making Things Happen, The Myths of Innovation, Confessions of a Public Speaker and Mindfire Big Ideas for Curious Minds. His work has appeared in the The Washington Post, The New York Times, Wired Magazine, Fast Company, The Economist, Forbes Magazine, and other media. He has taught creative thinking at the University of Washington and has been a regular commentator on CNBC, MSNBC and National Public Radio. His many popular essays and entertaining lectures can be found for free on his blog at

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fascinating 28 Jun 2007
I really enjoyed this book. Scott has a great writing style - friendly and informative, well suited to the task in hand. What could have been a dull history of innovation has been turned into a short, punchy work. He manages to pack a great deal into the 192 pages; examples of how innovation works, where innovation comes from, and debunks several popular myths of innovation, pointing out that whilst there is a 'eureka' moment, there's a whole lot of hard work which lead up to it in the first place.

I read this book on a train journey, and found myself picking back through it on the return journey. It's jam-packed with interesting anecdotes and information. Inspirational too - it put the idea of writing and where ideas come from in a new light.

Recommended reading. Top stuff.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting reading 21 Jun 2012
By joooc
I'm a kind of innovative guy so new approaches fits me very well. In this book I've found things I already felt and sensed many times before very well described, truth revealing and inspiring. An interesting read it was.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A quick but utterly absorbing read 6 Jun 2007
In the Myths of innovation Scott Berkun analysis the what works and doesn't work in creating innovative products.

He looks at the Myths that surround innovation and breaks the process down to a pragmatic guide to creating the space to be a more productive innovator. Written in a relaxed style you'll plough though the book in no time at all, and come away inspired.

Anyone who want to go further in software/product/web design should read this book.

Also, don't forget to read the Colophon as with all of Scott's writing it's a treat.
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3.0 out of 5 stars I will like to return it 27 Mar 2014
By adenike
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The book was okay I hv not read it because I bought for someone as gift but unfortunately I lost the person so it just there un read, I dont know if I can exchange it for other book thanks.
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By JonH
An entertaining and inspiring romp through the history of business innovation and how it happens. Scott Berkun is an engaging and highly readable guide through the mysteries of how and why people invent stuff, why big business is bad at innovation and how to overcome all of your mental obstacles to becoming the creative person you know you should be. This book is sure to become one of the landmark textsa in innovation and creative thinking - and also an excellent read. Highly recommended.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting book, loses focus somewhat 17 Oct 2011
I have read The Myths of Innnovation twice. The first time around I wasn't especially enamored with this book. It felt too lightweight in it's structure and the language felt too comfortable. It was easy to read, and as such, it didn't feel like most of the books out there discussing the dreaded "I" word, Innovation.

I then realized I'd made a number of significant and interesting notes and decided to re-read the book. I actually really enjoyed it the second time around. I guess my expectations were that the book would be a scientific heavyweight (not sure where that expectation came from though).

The main concept in the book is along the lines of "Do cool work, accept that ideas come from other ideas and if the timings right, cool things will happen". And throughout the book that message is re-enforced with good examples and stories.

There was a point in the middle where I started to lose focus somewhat, but the examples brought me back in and it felt good to have finished the book. Scott picked some really well known innovations to tell a story about how ideas come about, all of which revolved around the concept that no idea is brand new. All ideas come from other ideas. All Innovations can be broken down and traced back to several other ideas.

Scott also suggests that many ideas are beyond our control and exist outside of us. Scott also talks about how ideas and innovations gain traction in society and culture. He makes a point of suggesting Myths and marketing spin are more effective at promotion than education, something which we clearly see in many products and services.

He makes some very interesting points about Historians being able to tell a story deciding which facts to include and which ones to leave out.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Wordy and useless 4 Sep 2011
By grottie
This book is just horrible - sorry. It has nothing to do with innovation. It's an endless collection of dull paragraphs, without any attempt to chisel out underlying patterns from masses of facts. If you are around 10, the book is ok. The rest of us will get further quicker by writing less, fussing less and observing Nature more.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A very interesting read 25 Aug 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
I first came across Scott Berkun's work when Joel Spolsky recommended Making Things Happen, Scott's excellent book on project management. I continued my adventure through Berkun's back catalogue with Confessions of a Public Speaker which I found very enlightening. I have now read his latest published work: The Myths of Innovation, published by O'Reilly Media.

This book attempts to discredit the numerous inaccurate ideas about innovation that are both written about in other books, and commonly held beliefs in the wider public. He shows that innovation is not a formulaic concept that can be copied at will, nor something that just happens when you decide you want to be "innovative". It is also rarely the case that a "lone inventor" beats the odds to produce a world-beating product.

One of the other major myths that he dispels is that of the "eureka moment" - the sudden spark that resulting in a complete idea overnight. Instead, most innovations are the result of many years of hard work on improving and productising ideas that may have first seemed like irrelevances. The myth of snap innovation continues to be perpetuated because these ideas are often revealed to the world as a complete concept, without showing the hard work that has been done behind the scenes to get there.

Berkun looks at what kinds of corporate environments produce the seed ideas that are required at the start of this process, as well as allowing those ideas to incubate over the course of many years to reach a successful conclusion. He looks at examples of companies that have made extremely successful businesses out of this type of innovation (e.g. 3M, Google) to see what they do differently from those companies that merely pay lip-service to innovation in their mission statement.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars free yourself from prejudices
Scott takes you in a journey over the ideas you probably well known but was not aware of details. He goes though the history of innovation,
shows us some interesting examples... Read more
Published on 26 July 2011 by mko
4.0 out of 5 stars More important than innovation?
We now live in an innovation economy. Actually that's a myth - we've always lived in an innovation economy it's just not been called that. Innovation is an odd word. Read more
Published on 5 Mar 2011 by renaissance geek
5.0 out of 5 stars The Myths of Innovation
In the knowledge economy, Innovation represents the Holy Grail : the undisputed source of wealth, pride and prestige. Read more
Published on 18 Feb 2011 by Mr. Cecil Dijoux
5.0 out of 5 stars Much more than expected
Amusing, captivating, inspiring and motivational - those would be the words I'd use to describe the book for anyone asking. Read more
Published on 13 Dec 2010 by mhitza
1.0 out of 5 stars One of the worst books I have read
I will try not to be rude to the author in this review: but I was left wondering who, exactly, the audience is expected to be? Read more
Published on 11 Dec 2010 by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars A hard but rewarding read in understanding the problem
This book although well written and paced over the chapters is not a quick read given the density of some of the points being made and thoughts being shared. Read more
Published on 4 Jan 2010 by Siriam
1.0 out of 5 stars Did not learn anything useful
After reading this book, I hardly found anything that is useful or anything worth taking notes. I've limited budget on books - so I'm a bit more disappointed(sorry Scott) as would... Read more
Published on 1 Jun 2009 by PS User
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Popular Highlights

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Any story of breakthrough work has someone acting as a shield, defending innovation while it's happening. &quote;
Highlighted by 4 Kindle users
This is the magic double-secret principle: innovative ideas are rarely rejected on their merits; they're rejected because of how they make people feel. If you forget people's concerns and feelings when you present an innovation or neglect to understand their perspectives in your design, you're setting yourself up to fail. &quote;
Highlighted by 4 Kindle users
It's the ability to see a problem clearly, combined with the talent to solve it, that matters. &quote;
Highlighted by 4 Kindle users

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