“The Innovators” by Walter Isaacson

One of my favorite authors. The level of detail and unearthed stories are amazing. This book makes me wonder what it’s like to work in a truly collaborative environment, instead of a top-down, hierarchical organization.

  1. “A new idea comes suddenly and in a rather intuitive way,” Einstein once said, “but innovation is nothing but the outcome of earlier intellectual experience.”
  2. “Don’t worry about people stealing an idea, if it’s original you will have to ram it down their throats.”
  3. It reminds me of what the beaver told the rabbit as they stood at the base of the Hoover Dam: “No, I didn’t build it myself, but it’s based on an idea of mine.”
  4. There was a key lesson for innovation: Understand which industries are symbiotic so that you can capitalize on how they will spur each other on.
  5. Another key to fielding a great team is pairing visionaries, who can generate ideas, with operating managers, who can execute them. Visions without execution are hallucinations.
  6. The most successful endeavors in the digital age were those run by leaders who fostered collaboration while also providing a clear vision. Too often these are seen as conflicting traits: a leader is either very inclusive or a passionate visionary. But the best leaders could be both.
  7. Human creativity involves values, intentions, aesthetic judgments, emotions, personal consciousness, and a moral sense. These are what the arts and humanities teach us—and why those realms are as valuable a part of education as science, technology, engineering, and math.

The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution

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