Review: How to Fly a Horse by Kevin Ashton


As a technology pioneer at MIT and as the leader of three successful start-ups, Kevin Ashton experienced firsthand the all-consuming challenge of creating something new. Now, in a tour-de-force narrative twenty years in the making, Ashton leads us on a journey through humanity’s greatest creations to uncover the surprising truth behind who creates and how they do it. From the crystallographer’s laboratory where the secrets of DNA were first revealed by a long forgotten woman, to the electromagnetic chamber where the stealth bomber was born on a twenty-five-cent bet, to the Ohio bicycle shop where the Wright brothers set out to “fly a horse,” Ashton showcases the seemingly unremarkable individuals, gradual steps, multiple failures, and countless ordinary and usually uncredited acts that lead to our most astounding breakthroughs. (From Goodreads.)

Personal Take: If you’re planning to read one book that is worth your time during the year, it is this one. At first I assumed it would be preachy type of book about how to unlock creativity, and while it had a degree of that tone, there was more that just blew me away. Each chapter tackles an important element of creativity and discovery, drawing in historic examples and research findings– all of which are so enlightening to read about it. It was such an inspiring read, invigorating with each page, and the information so eye-opening. Ashton does a great job demonstrating the habits of creative people, and what needs to be done to achieve success.

His book hits on such absolute truths that was empowering to read, and I’m grateful it came my way.

This is definitely a must-read book– and a great addition to book collections on creativity.

Audience: Anyone interested in creativity.


Other recommendations: This is the only book written by Kevin Ashton, but you can complement this reading with Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert (which I haven’t read yet!).

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