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Deja Vu - WSJ.com
May 21, 2007 | WSJ | Cynthia Crossen

The toughest part of inventing isn't solving problems. It's figuring out which problems are worth the effort...If you made a list of the 2,100 inventions you thought were needed, you would also be painting a profile of yourself. "Invention is really a systematic form of criticism," Mr. Yates wrote, and people tend to criticize the things that annoy them in their daily lives. Mr. Yates, for example, seems to have found most commonplace devices excessively noisy....While Mr. Yates recorded most of his 2,100 inventions in no particular order, he did make a top-10 list that proves he wasn't a trivial thinker. His top-three needed inventions all concerned energy -- a way to transform energy into power with less waste, a more efficient way to store energy and better light bulbs.

Mr. Yates, a self-taught engineer, inventor and technical writer, tried to nudge other inventors in the right direction with his book, "2100 Needed Inventions." Published by Wilfred Funk Inc., Mr. Yates's book was a list of ways people could alleviate certain nuisances and defects of life and get rich for their trouble. "We often see clever and simple devices for sale which cause us to chastise ourselves with some such remark as, 'Why I could have thought of that years ago and made a lot of money with it!' Certainly you could have -- but you didn't."
critical_thinking  criticism  discernment  frictions  inventions  inventiveness  inventors  negative_space  pain_points  personal_enrichment  problem_solving  systematic_approaches  unarticulated_desires  worthiness  worthwhile_problems 
june 2012 by jerryking
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