Summary of Against the Odds

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Against the Odds book summary


9 Overall

10 Applicability

9 Innovation

8 Style


This book is subtitled "an autobiography," but it isn't really about James Dyson, the man. It is about James Dyson, the inventor and designer who conquered the vacuum cleaner market. The difference? Dyson includes everything that might explain his success as an inventor, but gives only limited attention to his personal or interior life. Dyson briefly mentions some crucial points, like the strain his ongoing travels put on his marriage, or his wonderment at his companies' many lawsuits, but if you're seeking a man's inside emotional story, this isn't it. However, if you're looking for an exciting account of an inventor who proceeds, as Dyson puts it, in an Edisonian fashion, read this book. recommends it to anyone engaged in design, engineering, marketing or innovation. The stories it contains, especially the descriptions of inspiration or frustration - are refreshing in this theoretical age, as is his advice on creating and marketing innovative products. Dyson's book proves that a vital place still exists for individual vision and old-fashioned perseverance.

In this summary, you will learn

  • What led James Dyson to invent the Dual Cyclone vacuum;
  • How he innovates; and
  • How to put his design and management ideas to work.

About the Author

James Dyson studied design at the Royal College of Art in England, but is better known as the inventor of the Sea Truck, the Ballbarrow and the Dyson Dual Cyclone vacuum cleaner, his greatest success.



Early Influences on an Innovator
James Dyson sets out by explaining, "I have been a misfit throughout my professional life, and that seems to have worked to my advantage." Throughout his childhood and school years, Dyson learned that, "Misfits are not born or made; they make themselves...

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