Saturday, April 16, 2016


It has been some time since I've done a book review on Certainly Candid (but not because I haven't been reading!). With that being said, I'm currently in a nonfiction phase. I go through these phases every so often, reading books that capture my attention on a given topic. For the majority of 2015 it was astronomy: star charts, manuals on various telescopes, astronomical events, etc. This year the tread is engineering, probably because I considered electrical engineering as a career path once upon a time. As such, I've been pouring through books on electrical engineering for the most part, but very recently Inventology: How We Dream Up Things That Change the World caught my eye at Barnes & Noble.

A nonfiction book categorized in the sciences (and surprise, surprise, engineering), the book focuses on innovation and how inventions come to be. I cannot begin to describe how much I learned from just this one book alone. It discusses how inventors have, in the author's terms, a different mindset from the rest of the population. This mindset allows them to see problems in a different way and how to tackle these problems creatively.

What I enjoyed most about this book was the wide range of topics it covers. I learned about 3D printing and its origins, advances in oncology and hematology, how the transistor changed the way we approach building mechanical devices, InnoCentive (a program that allows the general public to tackle invention problems), bioengineering, and so much more. As someone who loved to make things growing up, the creations of the inventions presented in this book challenged me to consider even more out-of-the-box approaches to innovative ideas.

You should see my copy of this book. I've put over a dozen post-it notes on its pages, flagging topics and ideas that I want to return to later and research. I've highlighted passages where the author infuses the concept of innovation with certain psychological references. I've written my own connections in the margins, oftentimes unable to keep up with my own thoughts on the topics presented before me. And perhaps not everyone thinks this way, but the inventions that we take for granted everyday were the ones that I found so unique in how they were conceived beyond just a mere idea.

Pagan Kennedy's Inventology: How We Dream Up Things That Change the World inspired me to look around more closely at the things that make up our everyday lives. It taught to me appreciate the advances that we've made in the sciences, and to dream and hope that the future brings even more exciting possibilities. It also showed me that yes, the majority of people believed these inventors to be crazy (people were shocked at the idea that we would one day be able to walk around with a phone in our pockets - the inventor of the cell phone was considered to be a radical) but that with perseverance, these inventors set out to prove to everyone that there could be a new way.

And in today's world, I believe it is important to find new ways to challenge the status quo. Inventology looks at our society and asks: how can we do things to better benefit the people in our world?

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