Lehrer has lots of examples of how great discoveries are made. He writes of David Byrne who travels all over Manhattan (and other places) on a bicycle...moreLehrer has lots of examples of how great discoveries are made. He writes of David Byrne who travels all over Manhattan (and other places) on a bicycle. Byrne says it "lets him listen to the city. He describes cycling as "a form of urban eavesdropping." From this he gets ideas as a composer, visual artist, and simply to unwind. (pages 175-7).
Pixar has had eleven feature films and their unorthodox building forces all employees to work together. They realized that their creativity comes from their "ability to get talented people from diverse backgrounds to work together." (page 148) Every day a group gets together (to) "eat Lucky Charms and Cap'n Crunch and drink organic coffee." They "ruthlessy shred" the work of the previous day. (p. 156)
A hallmark of this book is that people in a field (perhaps chemistry) with a problem are so familiar with the process they overlook newer approaches. Indeed, at Eli Lilly years of investment in drug research might not pay off. In 2001 Alpheus Bingham set up a website called InnoCentive for posting the hardest problems of Lilly and offered a monetary reward. Bingham felt the problems would not be solved. After a few weeks of inaction, "The answers just started pouring in." "Our results showed that when the solvers rated the problem as outside their own field, they were more likely to discover the answer." (p 118-121)
Living abroad, going on vacation and simply walks in the neighborhood in which the mind is cleared are other methods of solving difficult problems.
Another contrast is between Route 128 and Silicon Valley. In the early 1950s Route 128 had a large group of high-tech industries. Each were protective of their secrets. In contrast, a group of grad students recruited by William Shockley founded the Fairchild Semiconductor Company in a San Jose garage. Other companies were formed and employees drifted back and forth and shared information and ideas. And enormous success! The Homebrew Computer Club began to discuss innovations in computer building, then moved to an auditorium at Stanford. At first there was brainstorming, then a presentation, then networking. From this came Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs, among others. (p 192-197)
However, this book also states that brainstorming is not a good source of creative ideas. In a study a group was told to use the brainstorming model. The control group of individuals working by themselves were given the same puzzles and came up with twice as many solutions. (p 158-159)
The first section of the book is "Alone" and has a number of puzzles oriented to individuals. In addition there is quite a bit of information about the brain. We find W.H. Auden was a drug addict, which allowed him to be prolific. There's the origin of "I heart NY," the origin of Barbie and more. There's information on Yo-Yo Ma's approach to performance.
I liked this work and am sorry it is slightly overdue at the library because others are waiting to find the secrets! (less)
The last of August/beginning of September are traditional times of change...going back to school, moving to a new school, getting settled in before wi...moreThe last of August/beginning of September are traditional times of change...going back to school, moving to a new school, getting settled in before winter.
If you are in this situation and need a calming book, may I recommend Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake: A Memoir. Anna Quindlen has a series of essays that just long enough to engage. She writes about her mother dying when she was 19 after a life of having babies and seeming immortal;
not attending the Catholic church but being steeped in the lore;
being grateful to previous generations of women who made her current life possible;
the joy of being alone;
having female friends for support in times of waiting for tests from the doctor;
previous standards of motherhood: her own mother if asked would have said of her, "She's around somewhere." Her mother didn't drive and didn't haul her kids to playgroups and classes. However all her children knew she cared for them. Now she reports, "We live in a perfection society and nowhere has that become more powerful than...than in the phenomenon of manic motherhood." (page 113)
along with that she also writes of the squeeze of care for parents (perhaps two sets!) with the ensuing problems of holding down a job and caring for ones own family.
And, Quinlan continues with the dreadfulness of having to be the "bad guy" in having to tell an older adult, who has been capable all his/her life they may not drive any more, need to move to assisted living instead of the house they've inhabited for many years.
These are not revolutionary essays. They are heartfelt commentaries on the status of humans in our contemporary world and most recent generations. (less)
Ramsland has a good section on memory, the brain, chemicals, as well as many interesting stories.
Martin Cooper was on his patio in the 1960s when the...moreRamsland has a good section on memory, the brain, chemicals, as well as many interesting stories.
Martin Cooper was on his patio in the 1960s when the phone rang inside. He got up to answer it and began to dream of a portable phone. His "SNAP" was to see Captain Kirk pull out his device and send orders. Ramsland says the first creation, "was more like a brick with an antenna sticking out, and the caller still needed to program it by hand." Even so, think of the improvements and how our current devices are stronger than the computers that NASA had to send spaceships into space. (pages 99-101)
Dean Kamen was in high school when his brother in medical school suggested he a method to deliver drugs to patients. The patent for his prototype, the AutoSyringe, a wearable infusion pump, was sold for $30 million. Kamen also invented a stair-climbing wheelchair as well as the Segway, the scooter used by policemen and other professions. (pages 45-46)
She writes of Ving Rhames who followed a couple of girls into a poetry class which changed his life. (page 50) Abraham Lincoln bought a barrel of books for half a dollar. The barrel contained law books which influenced the path of his life. (page 52) Laszlo Polgar and his wife were educators and decided to see where their three daughters found their bliss. Turned out it was chess and by the age of five they all excelled. (page 59-66)
I am friends with a wife who said they celebrated the first 25 patents but after that quit counting. While I do have "snaps," I'm certainly not in the same league.
Lives of others are difficult. Lacks went to John Hopkins with cervical cancer and they removed without her consent cells that were the first to be ab...moreLives of others are difficult. Lacks went to John Hopkins with cervical cancer and they removed without her consent cells that were the first to be able to be replicated. They have had a long life of their own. Well researched and written and points to the ethical problem of having science use our "spare parts" left behind after surgery.(less)
Frank Lloyd Wright is a famous name in architecture. I'd heard somewhere he hated women, so I was most interested in the title of Loving Frank. Horan...moreFrank Lloyd Wright is a famous name in architecture. I'd heard somewhere he hated women, so I was most interested in the title of Loving Frank. Horan has chosen to discuss Mamah Borthwick who leaves a comfortable life with her husband, Edwin Cheney, an electrical engineer, when Wright, who has six children with his wife, Catherine, is hired to build "a house with two levels," a Wright speciality.
In the form of a historical novel, the Chicago press articles about Borthwick leaving Cheney and their two children, and Wright leaving Catherine and their six is captivating reading. I had no idea of their lives together or the many problems that ensued nor the horrific ending. They were an interesting revelation and I enjoyed the book.(less)
I have not liked Ronald Reagan and now REALLY don't like him. This book explains when he began the war on drugs few people perceived drugs as a major...moreI have not liked Ronald Reagan and now REALLY don't like him. This book explains when he began the war on drugs few people perceived drugs as a major problem. He began giving money and equipment to police departments based on their arrests, as well as letting them confiscate cars, homes. About this time manufacturing jobs ended and black men specifically became targets. Now we have the highest rate of humans in a cage of any country, and the majority are black. It is a big business. On page 218 she says, "The justice system employed almost 2.4 million people in 2003," and continues "Rich and powerful people, including former Vice President Dick Cheney, have invested millions in expanding the market--increasing the supply of prisoners..."
The problems are not only living in a huge warehouse but when released and looking for employment when "checking the box" that says "felon." Many job applications end there. Alexander states that parole officers must be paid $50 a visit, child support is cancelled while in prison but upon release is resumed. Jobs now are often in the suburbs and getting there may take most of the paycheck. They may not live in subsidized housing, may not get food stamps. Probation is based on getting employment while the system is against the prisoner.
Family life is also affected in many ways. The drug war has taken away many relatives. This shame is horrible and many do not confide about their loss to others, especially to fellow church members. It was upheld that a grandmother was to be kicked out of subsidized housing when two grandchildren were smoking marijuana on the ground level without her knowledge. Because of this strictness relatives are hesitant to accept newly released inmates.
This book is not light reading, but I cannot express how appalled I am at this senseless system wasting human life, continuing the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow. (less)
I don't exactly remember when I read this, but I do remember sections of it vividly. Winchester's description of "the Madman" shooting a stranger in t...moreI don't exactly remember when I read this, but I do remember sections of it vividly. Winchester's description of "the Madman" shooting a stranger in the London fog was one of these...The shot man was the parent of perhaps 13 children with another on the way and he was on the way to work stoking a furnace with coal. Thus "the Madman" got put away and contributed greatly to the Oxford English. A most interesting book, although I was sad to have the myth that he died with small slips on his bed debunked.(less)
I really enjoyed this book! My parents and his family are in the same timeframe and learning about the difficulties of the time were just heartbreakin...moreI really enjoyed this book! My parents and his family are in the same timeframe and learning about the difficulties of the time were just heartbreaking. Well contrasted with "the boy" he acquires with his marriage who has a (less)