We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access .
How to Fly a Horse Audiobook

How to Fly a Horse: The Secret History of Creation, Invention, and Discovery

Regular Price:$35.00
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Publisher's Summary

As a technology pioneer at MIT and as the leader of three successful start-ups, Kevin Ashton experienced firsthand the all-consuming challenge of creating something new. Now, in a tour-de-force narrative 20 years in the making, Ashton leads us on a journey through humanity's greatest creations to uncover the surprising truth behind who creates and how they do it. From the crystallographer's laboratory where the secrets of DNA were first revealed by a long forgotten woman, to the electromagnetic chamber where the stealth bomber was born on a twenty-five-cent bet, to the Ohio bicycle shop where the Wright brothers set out to "fly a horse"; Ashton showcases the seemingly unremarkable individuals, gradual steps, multiple failures, and countless ordinary and usually uncredited acts that lead to our most astounding breakthroughs.

Creators, he shows, apply in particular ways the everyday, ordinary thinking of which we are all capable, taking thousands of small steps and working in an endless loop of problem and solution. He examines why innovators meet resistance and how they overcome it, why most organizations stifle creative people, and how the most creative organizations work. Drawing on examples from art, science, business, and invention, from Mozart to the Muppets, Archimedes to Apple, Kandinsky to a can of Coke, How to Fly a Horse is a passionate and immensely rewarding exploration of how "new" comes to be.

©2015 Kevin Ashton (P)2015 Random House

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.5 (282 )
5 star
 (185)
4 star
 (62)
3 star
 (24)
2 star
 (8)
1 star
 (3)
Overall
4.4 (241 )
5 star
 (154)
4 star
 (52)
3 star
 (26)
2 star
 (7)
1 star
 (2)
Story
4.4 (244 )
5 star
 (143)
4 star
 (60)
3 star
 (32)
2 star
 (6)
1 star
 (3)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Alfred 01-31-15
    Alfred 01-31-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A refreshing take on creation and innovation"

    As a creative professional and president of a game development company I often read new books on innovation only to find that they are rehashing old ideas or quoting each other. This book, however, was the first to challenge some outdated beliefs and provide me a new perspective.

    From an audiobook perspective the author did a wonderful job as narrator. It added to the sincerity of the message for me.

    I plan to pick up a printed version of this book as it has a permanent place in my library and I certainly will recommend it to employees and colleagues alike.

    Well done.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cole Phillips Austin, TX USA 11-18-15
    Cole Phillips Austin, TX USA 11-18-15 Member Since 2014

    Making the Connection

    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Creation is Ordinary! This book is not."
    If you could sum up How to Fly a Horse in three words, what would they be?

    This book is engaging, helpful, and inspiring. One of the most interesting books I've listened to. I can't stop talking about it with others. Not only did I learn more about the creative process from a different point of view, I learned so much more along the journey.


    What other book might you compare How to Fly a Horse to and why?

    Because of it's heavy use of stories from many difference fields, it kept me hooked from the start. In some ways, it reminded me of the Freakonomics books and books from Seth Godin and Malcolm Gladwell.


    Have you listened to any of Kevin Ashton’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    This is my first book to listen to from Kevin Ashton and I thought he did a great job narrating his book.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Creation is Ordinary. This Film Is Not!


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Aron Bacs 10-30-15
    Aron Bacs 10-30-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    6
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "He Explained My Life..."

    This was an Earth Shattering book for me personally...
    My entire life has been spent creating new technologies and products for all of my employers over the years, generating millions of dollars for them...and not me. However I never worked more than a few years at any of them...
    Kevin Ashton finally explained what my life was about, and that the problems I've had were not with me but how we as society deal with creative people, teach our children, and progress out society into the future.
    Kevin Ashton I Thank You... I am 55.
    If you are an artist, inventor this book will explain why you may not always succeed even though you are correct... sadly.
    If you are a manager or owner of a company that employs creative people in any discipline You MUST READ this book.
    If you are the spouse of a creative person you will understand them more and your relationship by reading this book.
    And finally, if you have creative children or bright children that somehow are not doing well in school, then You MUST READ this book. You will understand them better and you can help bring out there talents and allow them to flourish in society.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ryan 07-22-15
    Ryan 07-22-15

    Road warrior, love listening ~ love learning

    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    27
    11
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Too many Stories"

    This book was bad timing for me. I'm unsure where I received my expectations, however I found the book fairly uneventful. While I appreciate the use of stories for both entertainment and learning value, I couldn't help wanting the book to break-out and provide some actual content. I was seeking concepts, a framework, ideas on inspiring, creating or ideas to implement an environment of creation. A handful of these are evident in the stories and highlighted, but there is no consistent reinforcement of the story to the learning point. Just an approximate 25 stories back to back creation in the world that was essentially a result of hard work. If you want stories, dive in. If you are looking for an education on useful guidelines, carry on.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert F. Jones 11-27-16
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    17
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Personal"
    Any additional comments?

    Good to read when beginning a long, challenging problem.
    Contrary to Kuhn's 'paradigm shift'(although incorporates this as an example) - proposes iterative progression of major ideas. No big leaps, all incremental. Some examples glorified and not historically accurate and story incomplete(angiogenesis). Question accuracy of some of the other stories(Dyson 5000 prototypes in 10 years, so 500 per year, more than one every single day?).
    Point is well-taken - keep at it.
    Experienced practitioners make it look easy because of the countless hours spent building the foundation.
    Even 'flashes of insight' are iterative.
    Makes a good argument that things don't happen spontaneously, but after long, hard work.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    BoulderBuff64 CA 09-14-16
    BoulderBuff64 CA 09-14-16 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    11
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "How to be creative guide told with short stories"

    Probably the best book I've read this year. The author starts out by dispelling the myth that creatives are genius and geniuses are creators. There doesn't seem to be much of a correlation between IQ and creativity. Then he goes on to talk about historical creators like the European artists, the Wright Bothers, Lockheed Martin during WWII, and even the South Park guys. He used these stories to show how to instill creativity in yourself and your team.

    I really enjoyed this book and shared it with the CEO, project managers, and creative types at my company.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JUAN DAZA AREVALO 05-25-16

    juan @ belarga

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    34
    4
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Amazing!"
    What made the experience of listening to How to Fly a Horse the most enjoyable?

    This is a new born classic in creativity studies.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Ashton himself as a humble creator that inspires.


    What does Kevin Ashton bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Credibility and "in the trenches" experiences...


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    It made me stand up and get my game together and create. Do, not talk: Show me!


    Any additional comments?

    If you are into product discovery this is a MUST in your life.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pickinwilflowers 03-02-16
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    1
    Overall
    Story
    "A good collection of stories"

    This book conveys various observations around creation and creativity via a medium of lots of stories and accounts from real life. I have never heard of these accounts before and I enjoyed hearing them. However at times it felt that the author went too deep and gave lot of extra details which weren't that interesting.
    There are many take aways. But due to because the books so lengthy, you tend to forget them. I wish there were less chapters and the chapter names reminded you of the theme/take-away-learning so that one could easily find them and play them back.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Thomas 02-18-16
    Thomas 02-18-16 Member Since 2015
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Do away with paralysis"

    Kevin Ashton reveals the power of small incremental steps. A book for anyone feeling paralyzed by the enormity of their goals.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ES Centreville, VA 02-16-16
    ES Centreville, VA 02-16-16 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    38
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    159
    57
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "quit after first hour"
    Any additional comments?

    Nothing particularly interesting or imaginative during the first hour so I gave up and returned the book..

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank you.

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.