Saturday, August 05, 2006

They Made America - A Must Read

Well painting is done. The wasps made it interesting. Seems they took exception to the free pressure washing of their home this morning.

5K race went well. 21:51 which is not a bad time for me. I had my first swimming lesson in 30+ years on Tuesday. The coach was Danielle Dickson. That one lesson likely cut 3-4 minutes off my triathlon time. Not only from improved swim time but easier swim which should make me less tired for the other parts. There were many things I did not know I was supposed to do on the swim like reach, fingers together, elbow above the hand and one of my hands was not cutting into the water. Now if I can do a sub 22 on the run, I should place respectably on a tri. Of course all of this would be better if I trained more.

I read a great book called, "They Made America" by Harold Evans. It is a number of short stories about successful business people, everyone from Robert Fulton (Steamboat Services), Isaac Singer (sewing machines), Charles Goodyear (rubber), Levi Strauss through to modern day people like Ted Turner, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Pierre Omidyar (eBay). The book is perfect for my personality type; it is a number of short stories so it didn't take long to read. There is a summary on page 465 of the book that gives 10 lessons that can be learned from history's innovators:

1. Make no assumptions.

2. First isn't always best.

3. It is okay to steal. (They don't really mean steal; they mean that more innovations come from borrowing in combination than simple invention. Henry Ford said, "I invented nothing new, I simple assembled into a car the discoveries of other men behind whom were century of work."

4. Diffidence would do it. An idea may only work when pushed to the limits.

5. Nothing works the first time. In an impatient society we expect instant results and quarterly earnings make things worse. It takes a strong person to persist and think long term.

6. New ideas disturb.

7. Cross pollination works. Taking ideas from other industries and applying them to a different industry is often a great way to cross-pollinate.

8. Success is risky. We all know that entrepreneurs take risks and we all know this is all part of the greatness of our system.

9. When one plus one equals three, this talks about innovations flourishing in partnerships provided the psychology is right.

10. Plaguing into networks. Isolated innovators may be successful but most of them are well connected and network well.

Overall I found this book to be highly inspirational and a must read for any business person.

I also read, "Einstein's Cosmos How Albert Einstein's Vision Transformed Our Understanding of Space and Time" by Michio Kaku. Although I found this book to be interesting, I am not sure that everyone else would. I have increased my understanding of relativity and have gained even more respect for Einstein. From the book, I am impressed that he seems like a real down to earth decent person. He also suffered from many trials and tribulations (like hating school and almost not passing entrance exams, etc.).


At 7:58 AM, Blogger Stephen Tiano said...

I am waiting for a small publisher and an author to get their acts together--I'm told the author is doing some rewriting--so the publisher can get me enough infor to bid on designing and doing the page layout of the author's book, which (I was told, tho' I don't remember the publisher's exact words) seeks to debunk Einstein's Theory of Relativity.

At 2:01 PM, Blogger serenity said...

Wow....wasps, painting and a 5k? I'm exhausted :)

This sounds like a very interesting book, not just for its application to business, but so much of it is true for life as well. As someone with the entrepreneur gene myself, working smarter is always a priority.

Thanks for sharing your review.

At 11:57 AM, Blogger steven edward streight said...

What a wonderful post you have published here, Jim.

I felt euphoric flashes as I read that list of 10 insights culled from those who made America.

Creativity is making the big small, the small big, the unfamiliar known, and the known unfamiliar. A photo that makes you look at mountains differently.

Some ideas need to be extremely implemented, at least at first, because the tradition and consensus they face are formidable.

Like improving customer relations. Much opposition to that. Or listening to your front line sales clerks and janitors.

More genius comes from the drudging trolls in the basement than from the angels floating pure and aloof in the pinnacle of the tower.


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