Inspiring and empowering, this journey behind the scenes of humanity’s greatest creations reveals the surprising way we make something new.
What do Thomas Jefferson’s ice cream recipe, Coca-Cola, and Chanel No. 5 have in common? They all depended on a nineteenth-century African boy who, with a single pinch, solved one of nature’s great riddles and gave birth to the multimillion-dollar vanilla industry. Kevin Ashton opens his book with the fascinating story of the young slave who launched a flavor revolution to show that invention and creation come in unexpected shapes and sizes.
From the crystallographer’s laboratory where the secrets of DNA were first revealed by a long-forgotten woman, to the electromagnetic chamber where the stealth bomber was born on a twenty-five cent bet, Ashton weaves tales of humanity’s greatest creations to unpack the surprising true process of discovery. Drawing on the Amish and the iPhone, Kandinsky and cans of Coke, Lockheed, South Park, and the Wright brothers—who set out to “fly a horse”—he showcases the seemingly unremarkable individuals, gradual steps, multiple failures, and countless ordinary—and usually uncredited—acts that led to our most astounding breakthroughs.
Creators, he shows, apply everyday ordinary thinking that we are all capable of in particular ways, taking thousands of small steps and working in an endless loop of problem and solution. He explores why innovators meet resistance and how they overcome it, why most organizations stifle creative people, and how the most creative organizations work.
In a passionate and profound narrative that amazes and inspires, Ashton’s book sheds new light on how new comes to be. Download and start listening now!