The eccentric inventor is a stereotypical figure within popular culture, and even non-fictional figures such as Edison are seen more as magicians than real people. In INVENT, INNOVATE & PROSPER, Michael G. Colburn dispels those ideas and provides insight into the process of invention–from inspiration to implementation and (hopefully) commercial success.
A successful inventor and patent-holder himself, Colburn has organized his book into an easy to follow exploration of the entire process. Liberally sprinkled with anecdotes and examples of famous (and not-so famous) inventors and creative thinkers, INVENT, INNOVATE & PROSPER starts at the true beginning—discussing how to prepare to liberate and foster creative potential and how to effectively define the problem or problems the potential invention will address.
Colburn’s writing style is open and accessible and flows smoothly from the somewhat esoteric ideas for creating dialogue between the conscious and subconscious mind to the more practical aspects of creating various prototypes and into the detailed and bureaucratic morass that is patent law and licensing strategy.
In addition to the many historical examples, Colburn adds details from a few of his own inventions. As the narrative moves from conceptual to research, on to prototyping and manufacturing, readers see sketches, schematics, early prototypes, and by the end of the book, finished products and examples of how the devices are licensed or sold.
INVENT, INNOVATE & PROSPER is a well-written, logically constructed “soup-to-nuts” guidebook for anyone interested in becoming an inventor. The early discussion about building connections between what the author calls “your two minds” (conscious and unconscious) isn’t rigorously scientific. The sources are often outdated or disputed, but nonetheless, it is practical advice that has proven to work, even if the scientific processes behind it aren’t well understood. By contrast, the practical advice regarding patents, commercialization, and manufacturing issues is detailed and sound. There are a few minor issues with included website addresses causing formatting problems.
Although the “historical anecdotes” are almost all interesting, practical, and even fun, one example is poorly researched and inaccurately described. The computer mouse was invented decades before and by a different person than the episode described in the book. In a book about and for inventors, this glaring mischaracterization is a serious blemish. Despite this, the book is full of great advice, practical steps, and inspiration that should help any aspiring inventor to succeed.
INVENT, INNOVATE & PROSPER is a thorough and well-crafted manual for readers interested in learning how to become inventors. From the process of idea-generation to marketing a completed product, no step in the process is overlooked.
~J.V. Bolkan for IndieReader