Flash of Genius

In Flash of Genius, I explore the moment when inspiration strikes in an otherwise average life, and what happens when that idea moves out into the larger culture and takes on a life—and commercial possibilities—of its own. The title piece in this collection is the David v. Goliath story of Bob Kearns, a professor and inventor who came up with something we all use every chance we get: the intermittent windshield wiper. When Kearns’ patents were infringed, he fought General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler, and eventually prevailed in a classic American story of never giving up, never backing down. It has been made into a major motion picture starring Greg Kinnear. Watch the Flash of Genius trailer.

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Flash of Genius book cover


Deeper was my first book. As the subtitle of the hard cover implies, it is a chronicle of the first two years I spent on the Internet. It is mostly about text-based interaction with strangers, both through private email and the kind of public email experiences of mailing lists and virtual communities like the Well (where much of the second half of Deeper takes place.) In some respects the book is of historical interest--it came out just before the Web caught on in a big way. But I think it remains relevant to net life today. I still witness flame wars and "thrashes" and other varieties of on-line experience described in Deeper. And somewhere out there, someone is getting an email from Bill Gates.

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Nobrow is my attempt to write in a reported and personal way about a subject usually treated academically and theoretically--the loss of cultural hierarchy. The book is about what happened to American culture sometime between the appearance of the first and second Star Wars trilogies, and it's also about what happened to me between the time I received my education and used it. When I was writing the book I made a conscious effort to take as much pop culture into my head as I could bear and then to blow it out through my saxophone (well, OK, my laptop) and believe in what came out. I think our culture gets more Nobrow all the time. But then, I would think that.

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