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How To Invent (Almost) Anything > Preface

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When you open a door you usually have some notion of what may lie behind it. You also have some intent in opening the door. Now you have opened this book, do you know why are you here? As authors we do not know your particular journey, so all we can do is to paint a picture of the rooms you are about to explore.

Some of the rooms in this book are quiet places where you can sit and relax, just taking in what you see, reflecting on it and pondering the meaning you find there. These are the reading rooms where you can learn about what goes on in our heads when we are trying to be creative, or the basic principles of science. There is no examination at the end, so take from them what you will and do not worry. Browse, pick up, put down, let your thoughts wander. If you put energy into challenging what we suggest then make it fun so you have more energy after the challenge than before. Do not waste your energy in fighting ghosts!

Some of the rooms are activity rooms. They have a different pace, a get-up-and-do pace. Do not go into these rooms unless you want to do something. Enter them only if you are safe from interruptions–you will not want to break away from an ideas session just at the point of that brilliant notion. Have things to record your activity, whether it is big sheets of paper or a tape recorder or even a video camera. Do not be embarrassed about taping your thoughts. This may seem crazy but it provides great material for reflection, learning and the next groundbreaking ideas.

We have all created many exciting ideas in our heads, and at the eureka point of discovery we thought that this was it! But in the cold light of the next dawn the glamour and glee may have faded, leaving ordinary-seeming ideas that die in the still glare of cold criticism.

Inventing is not just about the thing you invent; it is about passion, about excitement, about commitment. When you are doing your inventing, if you can see and steer your own internal state, creating and fuelling your own passion, you will find that you have the sustainable energy that is necessary to drive those ideas through from conception to completion.

To be a great inventor, you must thus be both a scientist and a psychologist, engineering both the world around you and the world within. This book supports this cause by painting its rooms from the deep blue of human and scientific understanding to the vermillion hues of action, challenge and excitement.

Inventing is like love. You can read about it, or you can do it–and there is a big difference between the two. Doing involves chase, teasing, courage, confusion, persistence, excitement and passion. And the more you do it the more you learn and the better you become. So–enter here the brave and determined. Choose a future that is full of stimulation, passion and invention. And most of all, Have fun!


Graham and Dave


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