Book Review : “Myths of Innovation” by Scott Berkun; O’Reilly Media

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).

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. A great element of story telling. Scott is also clear that history always contains a viewpoint and interpretation.

I enjoyed the book and it’s easy style makes it very accessible and readable. I think anyone who is interested in ideas creation; creativity and where ideas come from would enjoy this book. As too would anyone interested in marketing or entrepreneurship. It’s got them all covered. Although it won’t give you concrete advice it will sow some interesting seeds of thought in your mind.

The Myths of Innovation <– link.

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This post is part of the blogger review scheme with Oreilly Media.