Summary of The Power of Why

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Productivity depends on innovation. Innovation depends on intense curiosity – the quest to find out: “Is there a way to do this better/cheaper/faster?” This question prompted Jeff Bezos to create Amazon, Michael Dell to start Dell Computer and Niklas Zennström to organize Skype. Asking “Why” prompted Sean Moore to invent the Crescent Rod, a curved shower curtain rod; Chip Wilson to found Lululemon Athletica, a quality yoga clothing supplier; and four Harvard students to invent Soccket – a soccer ball that generates electrical power for poor families through kinetic energy. Business journalist Amanda Lang reveals how asking “Why?” can fuel innovation and promote a spirit of inquiry in your workplace. She offers valuable insights and excellent case histories. getAbstract recommends her findings to parents, executives, educators, and all those who want their organizations – or, for that matter, their kids – to be innovative and productive.

About the Author

Award-winning journalist Amanda Lang covered business in North America for 20 years. She is the producer and anchor of Bloomberg North on Bloomberg TV Canada.



The Story of SawStop

Ever since he was a small boy, patent attorney Steve Gass loved to take complicated things apart and put them back together. An attorney-turned-inventor, Gass remains curious about how things work. Today he’s passionate about his invention SawStop, a power tool that protects people from sawing off their fingers. SawStop matters to Gass because when he was four years old, he cut off part of his thumb while playing with his father’s tools.

SawStop’s sensor detects obstructions and can tell the difference “between wood and human flesh.” When it detects an obstacle, SawStop shuts down the saw blade, which is rotating at 100 miles per hour or faster. Initially, Gass used hot dogs to test SawStop. Each trial experiment worked flawlessly, with the sensor alerting the blade when it detected a hot dog. In 2000, Gass tested SawStop with his own fingers before introducing it to the marketplace.

Innovation and Curiosity

Gass has always been naturally curious. Asking a single question started him down his path of inventing and marketing SawStop. He asked, “Hey, I wonder if there’s a way to stop the blade fast enough to prevent injury?” His...

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    C. P. 3 years ago
    Very good
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    R. M. 3 years ago
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    H. A. 4 years ago
    wonderful book
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    A. E. 4 years ago
    Interesting, I started to read it with my mind in my day-by-day job, and I finish it thinking as a dad. And even if I get a lot, I have to encourage more “WHY”; from myself, the people that work with me, and from me kids.
  • Avatar
    M. S. 4 years ago
    Nice one!
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    A. A. 4 years ago
    A very instructive book. Very helpful for teachers and parents.
  • Avatar
    K. P. 4 years ago
    @ Fabian, yes it was a good read. Whilst the power of "WHY" has been well explained by the authour, there are limitations that are imposed by; 'societal', 'Corporate', 'Cultural' and 'Political' powers. Challenging those limitations could [sometimes] make us face severe issues. In business we always say; "of you want a change in business, get an internal sponsor"!
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    F. P. 4 years ago
    Interesting read!