Summary of The Tinkerers

The Amateurs, DIYers, and Inventors Who Make America Great

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The Tinkerers book summary
Has America lost its creative edge, or is it on the verge of a new golden age of innovation?


7 Overall

6 Applicability

7 Innovation

7 Style


This light reading from journalist Alec Foege is enjoyable if you start with the right expectations: it is not intended to be an in-depth exposition on innovation. Instead, it is an entertaining account of past and present innovators – some famous and others less so – but all equipped with a common urge to take things apart, mix them up and create something new. Despite the assets of this enjoyable book, Foege stumbles in two ways: His suggestion that America may or may not be facing a national crisis in creativity doesn’t come together cohesively enough and his paradoxical assertion that American people are innately more creative than other people would be maddening if it weren’t pretty easy to dismiss. Nevertheless, Foege’s random but interesting stories offer valuable insights into ways that schools, organizations and government agencies can encourage, support and accelerate innovation in education, commerce and public affairs. getAbstract suggests this accessible, sometimes even fun, book to business leaders, parents, educators and policy makers.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How America lost some of its lead in “tinkering” and innovation in the past 50 to 60 years,
  • What common characteristics tinkerers share and
  • How Americans are renewing and even teaching the “spirit of tinkering.”


“What If?”
If you could attribute any country’s development to inventiveness and creativity, the United States might be that country. From the Founding Fathers – George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin and Alexander Hamilton – to modern-day innovators such as Bill Gates, ...
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About the Author

Journalist Alec Foege founded Brookside Research LLC. He has written four books, including Right of the Dial: The Rise of Clear Channel and the Fall of Commercial Radio.

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