The fascinating inspirations behind common inventions and creations - from Barbie to Sweet and Low to Mt. Rushmore.
The slinky was born aboard a World War II ship.
The Barbie doll was inspired by a German sex toy.
Weight Watchers began with a Jewish housewife in Queens, New York.
Eureka! explores the fascinating stories behind these famous creations and many others-from blue jeans to the Taj Mahal to Mickey Mouse-detailing the relationships between inspirations and their inventors. Readers will delight in the intriguing-and sometimes surprising-origins behind the ideas that have shaped the world.
Book Review | 'Eureka!: The Surprising Stories Behind the Ideas That Shaped the World'
'Light bulb' moment explored: Forehead slaps changed globe
By Scott Coffman * Special to The Courier-Journal * August 7, 2010
The central conceit of this extremely enjoyable book is ingeniously simple: Begin each chapter with a somewhat vague description of a historical figure -- who may or may not be recognizable by name alone -- and then fill in the remaining pages with the person's story, complete with the "Eureka!" event that changed lives and history.
The story of the author's moment of inspiration -- the one that was the gestation of the book -- is entertainingly told in the forward. Wagman-Geller also describes the criteria for the stories included in the book: Some stories fell to the wayside not because they were less than riveting, but because they lacked a "light bulb" moment. Other stories had the requisite "slap to the forehead" origins, but not enough verifiable information was available about the creators and their handiwork.
The disparate subjects included never fail to entertain: the name Anne Made Grosholz may be unfamiliar, but only a hermit would be unfamiliar with her life's work; Pierre de Coubertin created the most famous quadrennial event in the world, even if you didn't know it; uncover the connection between the allegedly treasonous Alfred Dreyfus and racing great Lance Armstrong; learn the shocking last request of Bill Wilson, self-described as "just another drunk" and yet a savior to millions; discover the daughter of immigrants who created one of America's most enduring icons; and learn the identity of the "boy born on the wrong side of the tracks..." and how his Eureka has "... changed the way (the world) does business."
These are truly fascinating mini-biographies -- 40 in all -- that deftly condense reams of information into digestible chunks of a few pages in length. The subjects are disparate, so if one fails to entertain, the next surely will. The author indicates she is at work on a sequel, and such a book would be welcomed wholeheartedly.
Scott Coffman is a writer, cartoonist and bookseller who lives in Louisville.
Other books in this genre:
This sequel to THE BREAKING POINT will take you into the lives of Darryl and Catina Jones. Now married and expecting their first child, they feel that nothing can separate them from one another's love. But when Darryl loses both of his legs in a car accident, their lives are suddenly thrown into an emotional whirl. And it will take a great deal of strength, love, and courage for the two of them to accept the things they cannot change.
Charles Carpenter, the author of the revered memoir Handcuffed does it again with Colors of Oppression.
The well written narrative explores the anatomy of the often hostile, racially divided prison environment. Charles Carpenter details the social and psychological ramifications of oppression, and describes the wisdom needed to navigate through a microcosm of hatred, racism, deception, and prison politics.
This book highlights various deceitful tactics employed by the correctional officers and inmates, thus giving the general public an unadulterated glimpse into the world within a world - prison.
Colors of Oppression is an educational tool for anyone interested in a career in the field of corrections. This book also raises the awareness level for those interested in analyzing the dynamics of prison life.
It can be lonely parenting a special needs child, but you are not alone.
A Memoir / Self-Help book by Eichin Chang-Lim.
Parenting is a challenging journey, especially when raising a child who requires extra attention. There are days when it feels as if you're trapped in a dark cave with no way out. The lonesomeness and helplessness exhaust you. You may be looking for some words of inspiration to know that you are not alone.
A Mother's Heart is a book for any parent in a similar circumstance. This book is written by a mother raising a special needs son with a genetic disorder. It encapsulates both the elements of a memoir and a self-help book. The author candidly shares her need to make heart-wrenching decisions throughout the journey, including family life and working with the school systems.
This is a book not only helpful for parents with a special needs child, it will also give insights to individuals who may encounter or be involved with parents of special needs children.
A recent graduate of UCLA, Molly McAlister has just landed her first job and loves it.
The problem is her demanding boss, who seems to think he’s in charge of her free time too. Under threat of layoff, her boss manipulates her into giving up Christmas with her family in Florida to pet-sit his two beloved purebred poodles.
When Molly arrives at his house in Santa Monica a few days before Christmas, she learns she must also watch two ill-tempered Rottweilers, Darth and Vader, who scare her to death. His hypercritical wife seems to think Molly is a maid too, and leaves her a long list of chores and rules. Molly’s expecting to have a miserable Christmas, but things start to look up when she meets the boy next door and his family. Unfortunately, they’re embroiled in a neighborhood feud with her boss.
We’re French and You’re Not is a hilarious romp focusing on the clueless French millionaire, Robert, and the effects of his diary on the conventional Wisconsin farm boy, Frank.
While in America, Robert and his constant companion Jean meet Henrietta Montcalm, a meek and nervous redhead. Their influence turns her into a feisty woman wanted by the police.
Henrietta decides to marry Robert and guides them toward a wedding Reno. Jean can’t stand the thought of Robert giving up his bachelor lifestyle, so naturally he tries to kill him. Neither Jean, a burning hotel, nor fighter jets stop Henrietta from marrying Robert and taking off for her honeymoon.
Along their way, they incidentally: squash the Queen’s dog, fly a small plane inside an airport terminal, run McDonald’s in a very French way, rent exploding furniture, open childcare in Mammoth Caves, establish a gourmet hospital, and drive their Geo Metro the wrong way in the Indy 500.
Sacre bleu, what fun things the Wisconsin farm boy learns about the world.
Words can impact our lives in so many ways. They can be both wonderful instruments and deadly weapons at the same time. The tongue or words that come out of our mouths as referred to in the Bible, is a tool that the enemy, Satan, uses each time to deceive, kill and destroy us. If used for good, it can heal and bless others. Our words can make or break us. Learn the truth. Know the consequences of the words you say and what God has to say on matters of the tongue.
This book brings awareness of the importance of our words at the Last Judgement. God Himself put much emphasis in the Bible on how we must live. Be guided to discover the power of the tongue!
From the author of We’re French and You’re Not and The Fur West, De Lancey entertains supreme as he distills cooking to the simplest of terms—from boiling water (and identifying the stove) to preparing timeless classics from every corner of the globe including scrumptious Beef Stroganoff and Greek Wraps with tzatziki sauce. Every recipe is followed by hilarious tidbits, such as, ‘King Louis XV ate boiled eggs every Sunday. This practice ceased with his death.’
Eat Me is a cookbook spiced with comedy, leavened with silliness while still fully informative and functional. A great read for anyone's kitchen.
You thought it was about the happily ever after … when all along it was about the story
To their friends in San Diego, Sophie and Neil Beaumont are a successful, happy couple. One rainy night in 1987, that illusion is shattered, changing Sophie’s life forever. As she struggles to pick up the pieces of her life, she doubts that the aching hole in her heart will ever heal.
But everything changes when her best friend’s child, Jonathan, is born. Feeling a sense of hope, she has an intuition that he will be a beloved soul she knew in a past life. Their strong connection inspires her to embark on a healing journey of personal transformation that changes the course of her life.
Prior to his birth, Jonathan and his team of spirit guides create his intricate soul plan. His life purpose is to share wisdom from the spirit world with others, to help them live their lives with less suffering. However, as the result of an unexpected event, he disconnects from the spirit world, and without access to that unique knowledge he was born with, he finds himself at the mercy of his own heartbreaking struggles. His spirit team is determined to help him meet his mission—after all, people like Sophie are depending on him. But can they find a way to help him awaken?
The Line Between is in the genre of visionary/metaphysical fiction— fiction that quietly and unobtrusively shifts the reader’s consciousness through the magical process of storytelling. It’s an inspirational story of hope, loss, friendship, forgiveness, transformation, and eternal love. It speaks the language of the soul and reminds us to embrace all of our life experiences—the everyday routine, the miraculously mesmerizing, and the rip-your-heart-out tragic moments—as equally meaningful.
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