• How to Fly a Horse

  • The Secret History of Creation, Invention, and Discovery
  • By: Kevin Ashton
  • Narrated by: Kevin Ashton
  • Length: 10 hrs and 52 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (499 ratings)

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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 listeners say about How to Fly a Horse

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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 This book, however, was the first to challenge some outdated beliefs and provide me a new perspective.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.

5 people found this helpful

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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!

3 people found this helpful

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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.

1 person found this helpful

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Amazing

Best book ever.Strongly recommend this book to anyone 10+. If you haven’t bought the book already… DO IT

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Stories were interesting

This is a collection of stories, stringed together to explain the different aspects of creativity. It is quiet long, at least 62 chapters of content broken down into smaller parts. Overall, these stories can also be found in other sources, which may provide in depth dives into each anecdote.

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extraordinary

An amazing and inspiring book. It completely changed my perspective as a designer. Worth listening to over and over.

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inspirational and uplifting

It's ironic that in a book explaining the method of creation I find myself at a loss for words, I couldn't get enough of this book. I found myself hiding in restrooms at work and shrugging the satellite radio on my drive to hear more. This book is a must for anyone drowning in a monotonous existence or those stuck in what they perceive as rights of passage for beautiful creations i.e. depression and writer's block,hint its really not.

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Incredible!

Absolutely incredible book. Will relisten over and over. Dense with invaluable insight on creation and history! What a brilliant creation! Thanks Kevin.

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Creative people are driven by good values

The stories told are riveting and compelling. How much do you care to know and understand and break the chain of the past.

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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.