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Inventors at Work: The Minds and Motivation Behind Modern Inventions


Inventors at Work: The Minds and Motivation Behind Modern Inventions is a collection of interviews with inventors of famous products, innovations, and technologies that have made life easier or even changed the way we live. All of these scientists, engineers, wild-eyed geniuses, and amateur technologists have dedicated their lives to the pursuit of that singular Eureka! moment in their laboratories or garages. Each has altered the modern world as we know it in some significant way.

The conversations will show budding tinkerers, professional inventors,  educators, and onlookers how the top minds in the field come up with ideas and manage the first steps of inspiration, how they experiment productively, how they “sell” ideas to others and secure funding, how they execute the final product, and how they commercialize and protect their work. All inventors will learn from these conversations, whether they are exploring new chemical compounds in million-dollar labs or perfecting a household gadget or toy in a basement workshop.

Author Brett Stern, an inventor himself, explores with each inventor the nature of creativity and intuition, the skill set needed, and the force, motivation, or desire that must be summoned to spend endless hours searching for an answer to a question that no one else has asked or solving a problem most think has no solution. The book is required reading for all technical and creative individuals to better understand the innovation process and the logistics of following through on an idea that has the potential to change society. This book offers:

  • Interviews with inventors of world-changing products and technologies
  • An outline of the steps required in the creative/inventing process whether the goal is a civilization-changing process or a device meant to impress friends and family and perhaps earn license fees. 
  • An instructive overview of how to solve problems in innovation—and how to use failures as stepping stones to successful inventions

What you’ll learn

  • Problem-solving techniques for the inventive mind
  • Sources of inspiration/motivation for innovation
  • The nature of creativity and the role of serendipity
  • Tools for ideation, including 2D sketching and 3D modeling
  • Using failure as pathway to success
  • Benefits of documenting all ideas
  • The commercialization process for inventions
  • Using intellectual property law to protect ideas

Who this book is for

Inventors at Work is a book for the professional scientist/engineer/inventor, the aspiring inventor/entrepreneur, product developers/innovators, and the backyard mechanic/maker. The book offers insights into the process of inventing, and the motivation and drive required for creating something novel. It will present a narrative of the inventing process and examples of how brilliant minds work, and how they often fail and sometimes succeed. The book is a blueprint for all of us who dream of creating the next new thing.

Table of Contents

1. Gene Frantz: DSP chips

2. Eric Fossum: Image sensors

3. Robert Dennard: Computer memory

4. Ron Popeil: Housewares

5. Gary Michelson: Spinal implants

6. Al Maurice: Polymers

7. Helen Greiner: Robotics

8. Glen Merfled: Batteries

9. Steve Gass: Table saws

10. Karen Swider-Lyons: Fuel cells

11. Don Keck: Fiber optics

12. Bob Loce: Imaging systems

13. Lonnie Johnson: Energy systems

14. Tim Leatherman: Folding hand tools

15. Reyn Guyer: Toys

16. Bernhard van Lengerich: Food manufacturing

17. Curt Croley, Graham Marshall, Shane MacGregor: Mobile devices

18. Matthew Scholz: Healthcare products

19. Daria Mochly-Rosen: Drugs

20. Martin Keen: Footwear

21. Kevin Deppermann: Seed genomes

22. John Calvert, Elizabeth Dougherty: USPTO

23. Steve Wozniak: Personal computers

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