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Jeanne Destro, special for USA TODAY4:16 p.m. EST February 10, 2013
Curator's Comments: I have done many workshops on creativity and without a doubt being creative is an activity of the human spirit -- it is spirituality@work!
Additionally, my latest keynote entitled The Inspired Professional - Going From Ordinary to Extraordinary suggests that creativity, inspiration, and the working of the human spirit (spirituality) are intertwined and cyclical.
The key to all three is having and making the time to nurture these to the point of percolated action.
There's a challenge these days with not enough time, jamming full our schedule with so much busyness, rather than slowing down and doing less to allow our spirit to breath and birth the next great thing! Busy does not necessarily equal a successful business or career.
The book captures the imagination with stories about people whose tinkering curiosity, genius and persistence drove them to solve problems and create something new.
While most of us are clueless about how the devices we use daily actually work, Foege makes the somewhat audacious suggestion that we should just tinker around with them and find out.
That's exactly what he did when his mobile phone provider wouldn't fix the broken screen on his Blackberry smartphone. Like most customers, he was frustrated.
But instead of forking over several hundred dollars for a new phone, he went online and found a YouTube video explaining how he could fix it himself.
Interviewed by telephone from his home in Connecticut, Foege said even though manufacturers and retailers encourage us to buy new devices every couple of years, we should "ignore that a little bit, and not be intimidated."
After all, "humans built these things in the first place, and with the aid of a lot of online tinkerers' research and resources, you really can just sort of jump in -- and I would encourage people to do that."
Foege has several bestsellers to his credit, including Right of the Dial: The Rise of Clear Channel and the Fall of Commercial Radio and The Empire God Built: Inside Pat Robertson's Media Machine.
A former People magazine senior writer, Foege says he was inspired to writeTinkerers and explore what he calls the American tinkering spirit. "We have this whole wonderful history as a country of being able to solve problems that other cultures couldn't, and coming up with inventions that seemed crazy at first, but then changed the world."
His book is an entertaining, easy-to-understand, engaging tale of famous inventors such as Thomas Edison, "The Wizard of Menlo Park," as well as modern-day wizards responsible for some of today's sophisticated new technology.
You can't help being fascinated by some of the details he uncovers:
• Although Benjamin Franklin is probably the most famous inventor among the Founding Fathers, he wasn't the only one. Thomas Jefferson invented the hillside plow, the swivel chair, and the macaroni machine. James Madison devised a walking stick with a built-in microscope, and George Washington came up with a number of agricultural innovations.
• Edison, perhaps best known for inventing the electric light bulb, had quite a professional rivalry with Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone. In fact, the original idea behind the phonograph, which Edison invented, was that it could record and reproduce sounds coming from a telephone.
• Scientists at the world-renowned Xerox PARC (Palo Alto Research Center) actually invented the world's first personal computer. But company officials underestimated its significance, and actually allowed Apple founder Steve Jobs to tour their facility in 1979. Big mistake. Jobs hired away one of their key programmers, and the rest is history.
• Dean Kamen invented the heart stent, home dialysis machine and the world's first drug-infusion pump. He also invented the two-wheeled stand-up human transporter known as the Segway; famously lampooned in the movie Paul Blart: Mall Cop starring Kevin James.
• Nathan Myhrvold, Microsoft's original chief technology officer, now runs an idea factory called Intellectual Ventures. It's the seventh-largest patent holder in the world, with inventions including a nuclear reactor that can burn waste as fuel, and a laser that shoots malaria-carrying mosquitos out of the sky.
In addition to brilliant scientists and their groundbreaking discoveries, Foege explores the many opportunities for just plain folks -- do-it-yourselfers, or DIYers, of all kinds -- to pursue their own interests through tinkering.
Companies such as SparkFun Electronics, which produces electronic components, and O'Reilly Media, which publishes Make magazine, enable tinkerers to create a dizzying array of projects, from flying robots, to ukeleles made out of cake pans.
The magazine's Maker Faires -- big events featuring booths where hundreds of tinkerers display their projects -- are held in various locations around the world. This year's U.S. Maker Faires will be held in San Francisco, Detroit, and New York.
Foege tips readers to hackerspaces, places that provide community access to tools and equipment way too big or expensive for home workshops. They've been springing up in cities around the country. Click here to find one near you.
Foege says a tinkerer "can be anyone with big ideas and the time to pursue them."
He adds, "Something like a project out of necessity -- whether it's fixing a big-screen TV, or fixing something else that's broken in your home -- can turn into all sorts of things; maybe a new business, a new idea, or even a new perspective on your life."
So "before you toss out your old toaster, maybe you want to take it apart and see what's inside," he suggests. "Just make sure to unplug it first!"
The Tinkerers grabs your attention from page one, and doesn't let go until the end. Even if you don't know beans about technology, and can't tell a socket wrench from a spatula, you'll enjoy learning how tinkering can lead to amazing discoveries both great and small.
Destro is a freelance writer based in Akron, Ohio | Source Link
Tinkering is an inside force that needs to be satisfied - explore your force within with my latest release The Force Within | On Kindle