Inventors at Work: Interviews with 16 Notable American Inventors

Kenneth A. Brown, Author Microsoft Press $9.94 (388p) ISBN 978-1-55615-042-5
Brown here conducts in-depth interviews with 16 notable inventors, from independent tinkerers to professional research and design specialists. In his foreword, BBC writer-producer Burke (Connections) notes that the subjects tend to ""look at the world in a highly idiosyncratic manner,'' are ``refreshingly and sometimes sharply individualistic'' and have ``provocative views'' about the effects of formal education on imaginative and creative thinking. Paul MacCready explains how he solved the puzzle of human-powered flight by watching birds soar. Steven Wozniak, designer of the Apple II computer, talks about ideas suddenly clicking: ``Maybe my learning is subliminal. . . . You think it out in your sleep.'' Nat Wyeth, inventor of the plastic soft-drink bottle, discusses the influence on him of his father, illustrator N. C. Wyeth. Other subjects include Jacob Rabinow (postal sorting), Raymond Kurzweil (voice-operated word processing), Harold Rosen (geosynchronous satellite), Bob Gundlach (xerography and imaging science) and Ted Hoff (microprocessor). Invention becomes an art in these accounts of serendipitous associations and ``lateral thinking.'' 20,000 first printing; major ad/promo. (December)
Reviewed on: 12/01/1987
Release date: 12/01/1987
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