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on 15 September 2008
Thomas Edison has become a legend in the field of innovation. Amongst other things, he invented the phonograph and the first practical electric light bulb. During his career he was granted over 1,000 patents across a wide range of subjects. As part of this success came fame - indeed, he is recognised as one of the world's first celebrities - interestingly, it was a man of science rather than entertainment (in those days, I suspect that there wasn't much difference!).

This book provides insights into Edison's life - the roller coaster nature of being an inventor, his dogged determination to perfect the phonograph, the multiple commercial and financial setbacks, and the people behind the scenes who helped (and hindered) him along the way. I found this a compelling book, particularly having read so many dry textbooks recently on innovation. Innovation is a difficult process to describe and yet it is critical to almost all endeavours. Frequently when attempting to understand the innovation process, many authors reduce the process to a set of rather abstract processes that lack the human touch making the processes difficult to relate to. Ultimately, innovation is a by-product of an inquisitive mind in the right sort of social and commercial setting.

In many ways, it is the quintessentially human activity. This book helped to bring real life to a set of abstract processes described elsewhere. I would highly recommend reading this book AFTER reading a number of the innovation textbooks. It helps underline the more abstract issues raised by other authors as well as providing another viewpoint on the innovation process.

This book seems to take a very balanced view of Edison's life - offsetting myth against, what has become, legend. Highly recommended for anyone interested in innovation.
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on 11 June 2016
Really interesting to read more into a persons life who has been so heavily idolised, a glimpse at the imperfections and strengths of a gifted man
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on 20 September 2016
Not many good books about Edison. This one is worth picking up if your interested.
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on 4 March 2011
This book may have contained the facts and information on Edison's life but I found it a real chore to read.
I finished it but it was like completing a work or school white paper.
I got a sense of Edison from reading this book as being a great innovator but a poor business man and an average husband, father, friend and competitor at best but his legend will live on for those innovations he brought to make our world a better place.

So this book gets the message across but the read is difficult and really not so enjoyable as biographies should be. I read a biography of Dickens recently, got the sense of the man and also enjoyed the read, for this book, just the former and not the latter.
2.5 stars!
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on 23 February 2012
Having spent some time trying to track down a decent biography of Thomas Edison (the inventor and brilliant businessman), I would wholeheartedly recommend this one. Very hard to find in UK as this is a US published book only. A lot of the books on sale are frankly for children and hopeless - this is for adults and is also illustrated. His life and achievements are fascinating - and more so than I had expected.
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