Land's Polaroid: A Company and the Man Who Invented it Hardcover – 1 Nov 1988
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Edwin Land played a large part in his own anonymity. He valued his individual privacy only slightly less than his family's, about which he was adamant. He sought the limelight, or at least accepted it, only to promote his inventions at crucial moments.
Peter Wensberg tells this sometimes technical story with the skill of a novelist, with a structure that evokes from the reader a genuine excitement about a man who not so much discovered the future as he did imagine it, and then invented it. Wensberg compellingly gets us inside Land, to whatever extent that was possible, to illustrate a true genius driven to go forward, leaving behind the beaten path, or indeed any path at all.
In Land we see the familiar pattern of genius, of people like Linus Pauling or Richard Feynman - an early identification of their quest, a self confidence both underlying and overriding, and the implicit knowledge that the quest will not be had within convention. Just as important, Wensberg gives an account of Land's technology that illustrates the decades of hard work that go into the consumer technologies we take for granted.
Land, though often reticent and inaccessible, inspired men, and very early on women. He caused people to leave good jobs for the opportunity to work for his unique company. He got from people far more than they thought they could give, and often in an astonishingly short time.
Land pioneered fair wages and equal treatment at a time when people would take any job at any pay under any conditions. His defense work in World War II saved countless lives. He committed his company to diversity long before that notion reached a level of political necessity.
This is a story about an American at his best.
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