Kenneth J. Thurber’s Do Not Invent Buggy Whips is one of those books that truly make you think. It matters little whether you are an aspiring inventor, an old hand in this field, or simply a curious individual with an insatiable desire to learn. There will be plenty to astonish and amaze you within its pages.
While I certainly found the theory of invention and reinvention captivating, particularly since this book was written in a clear, concise and easy to follow manner, I got even more involved while reading parts three and four, which deal with application of concepts and examples of product strategies respectively. There were a lot of rather nostalgic moments involved, since some of the ideas that already need to be reinvented were such important discoveries or new products in my own past. I had to laugh time and again about the way I first misread the title itself as well. Being somebody who is always dealing with a computer, my first thought on seeing the word “buggy” was something with a lot of bugs, the computer type ones… Granted, the whips threw me off immediately there, but it still took me a moment to associate the word buggy with a horse drawn vehicle, which just shows you how quickly things, including language, change and need to be updated and reinvented.
The word “reinvented” brings us to the main premise of the book, namely the need for the inventions to be relevant and the simple truth that many of the formerly great and valuable inventions simply aren’t that any longer. Thurber describes a clear path of how such a process should be designed, put in place and implemented to disrupt the status quo on the market and bring in considerable success along the way. While he never promises to make the reader rich, and I certainly found that to be a wonderful departure from the style of all too many so called self-help books, he creates an easy to follow and quite reasonable outline of how one should approach this type of invention/reinvention and which factors one should pay particular attention to.
Do Not Invent Buggy Whips is a book that should find a permanent place on the bookshelves of those who always strive to better products – and ideas, and who are not afraid of hard work and some animosity along the way. Mr. Thurber’s models and ideas certainly could help a wide range of entrepreneurs, not only the inventors. Therefore I would recommend this book to anybody in any kind of a business who wants to remain relevant and successful.
(Reviewed by Olivera Baumgartner-Jackson for Reader Views)