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:
“If only I had a dad…” Abandoned by his father as a small child, Rick Amitin survived a heartbreaking relationship with his mom and endured three stepfathers before he was nine years old. At fifteen, he set out on his own, traveling the world, searching for his dad, and finding it impossible to live happily without one. One misguided decision and painful consequence after another, Rick made his way through the military and answered the calling to ministry. He lifted people across the country and around the world while the wound of fatherlessness wreaked havoc on his relationships and pursuits, making him grapple with his lack of identity and sense of worth at every turn…that is, until his grand boy dropped out of heaven and into his arms and catalyzed his journey of healing. In If Only I Had a Dad, Rick’s raw-polish approach to sharing his story and hard-earned wisdom will help other fatherless men and women to: · Identify the True Cause of All the Messy Dysfunction · Discover the Power on the Other Side of the Pain · Become the Whole Person They Never Thought Possible If you have been searching for an answer to your father hunger, wanting the pain to stop, this book is for you. Turn your Wandering into Wonder and Your Longing into Love.
A week before Mother died, she told me a story about a conversation she had with her grandmother a week before her grandmother died. Mother looked at me in a way I knew meant that she needed me to really listen and told me the story. This how the story went:
She said, “My grandmother knew she didn’t have long to live from her stage-four breast cancer when she looked at me and asked, ‘What would you like from me when I die to show you that there is more to life once you pass?’ I felt shocked but responded, ‘I would like one of your red flowers to show up the day you die.’”
Mother continued, “A week passed and I went outside to the back patio to water plants and in a pot that had an old tree, a red flower had appeared as red and as perfect as could be, just like the one I had asked my grandmother for. I later found out that my grandmother had passed away around the same time that flower appeared.”
Mother then asked me, “Now, what would you like from me when I die to let you know there is more to life once I am gone?”
I knew my mother had been fighting a rare blood cancer for years, but she often talked about dying so it did not come as a surprise that we were even having this conversation.
I replied, “I want a red flower, too.”
Mother smirked and replied, “You do not even like flowers. You are not a ‘flower-type girl.’ You would like something different — you do like chocolate. I know! Chocolate flowers!” Mother said with a big, proud grin.
I looked at Mother, shocked, and knew there was no way she could arrange chocolate flowers. I just replied, “Sure, that sounds like me all right.” I smiled and looked at her — there she was with such a genuine grin and twinkle in her eyes. I kissed my mother on her forehead and took a long look in to her hazel eyes. I wondered when I would have the next chance to see her and whispered, “I love you.”
Mother didn’t respond. She didn’t look well — she had a tint of green and yellow to her skin and her thinning hair was a dull salt and pepper color, cut extra short and clinging to her scalp. She had no makeup on, which told me she just had no more energy. I began to walk out of her room and turned to look at her. I wanted to run up to her, shake her, and beg her to tell me she loved me and was proud of me. But when I looked at her, she was already sleeping.
A week passed, and I was busy working at my real estate office. One of my office phones rang, which was a surprise because I normally don’t give that number out. I answered it, and it was a man asking for Jori. I told him that I was Jori.
He replied, “I am at your home, and there is no answer. I have a floral delivery for you.”
I told him I was 20 minutes from my home and to leave them on the porch.
He said, “I need your signature.”
I said, “Just sign my name, and I’ll come right home.”
He replied, “I can’t leave them out; it’s a hot day, and they are chocolate flowers. I’ll go see if one of your neighbors are home.”
I hung up the phone and grabbed my purse when that same phone rang again. I answered it, and it was my stepdad. He sounded upset.
I asked, “Did Mom die?”
“Yes.” He sounded shocked.
“I will meet you at your house, Dad.”
I grabbed my purse, my cell phone, and yelled to my coworkers, “My mom just died. I am going to go help my dad!” I got into my silver Honda and drove home. I felt a dumb shock but was anxious to get my chocolate flowers while I wondered how my mother arranged a chocolate floral delivery at the exact time she passed as promised. I arrived home to the note on my door to go to the neighbor on the right. I knocked on the door and a grouchy, older man answered. Without saying a word, he went to his refrigerator, opened i t, and said, “I think these are for you.”
He handed me this large bouquet of fruits all cut like flowers and dipped in chocolate.
“It looks like chocolate flowers,” he said with a grin, adding “I had a few, and they are great.”
I held my delivery. I opened the small envelope and read the card:
I appreciate you showing us homes and although it has been months, I woke up this morning with a thought that we should do something nice for you today. I hope you remember us. The Johnsons.
This was a previous client who is a pastor. He never knew I had a mother who had cancer nor did I ever mention the conversation about the chocolate flowers. It had been several months since I had heard from this couple who were considering purchasing a home. I called the client, whom I hadn’t even spoken to for such a long time. I was confused and wanted to know what made him decide to send me chocolate flowers, and why that day, of all days? He said he woke up and told his wife that they should do something nice for someone. He thought of me. His wife was the one who thought of sending me chocolate flowers.
“Do you believe in God?” I asked Dad when I met with him at home and handed him the chocolate flowers. He was so hungry from being at the hospital with my
mom all day that he hadn’t even thought of eating. He sat and ate the entire bouquet by himself without saying a word. At that moment, I knew that the chocolate flowers were for my dad, and at that time I did not know then what I know now:
Chocolate Flowers “the book” was for me.
Contradiction is a riveting and dynamic account in which Charles Carpenter unveils the core of why at risk youth become attracted to gang subculture. Charles Carpenter shares his personal experience regarding his attraction to gang life. Profound insight is offered regarding loyalty and the ugly face of betrayal. Charles delves into how the catalyst that motivated his change was when a fellow member of his former gang violated the code of honor and respect by having a capricious affair with his wife; this transgression was the foundation that led to Charles Carpenter's conviction of second degree murder.
After years of living a destructive life style which continued to yield negative fruitage, Charles Carpenter vowed to make positive changes in his life. He made a conscious effort to change the behavior patterns that ultimately shaped the gang member that he diligently aspired to become. Charles Carpenter outlines the anatomy of his change and describes what is required to learn positive behaviors.
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.
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!
Her fingers touched the pages and held the quill
Lightly they pressed; a panoply of enumerations
Not mere whimsy, but tethered in grit
Fingers and palms held fast the measure of them,
The weight, infinite, She balanced these:
Her virtue, reputation, and devotion to the Divine
Juxtaposed to the demands,
Could she follow them?
Did she dare?
Her nib grazed the page
Ink blotting and boring through porous threads
Seeping down the fluted mahogany leg.
A compelling true story about a young man who ventured on the wrong path despite a mother’s best efforts to keep him on the straight-and-narrow path. This honest collection of memoirs written by Charles Carpenter while in the confines of California’s notoriously violent state prison (New Folsom) depicts Mr. Carpenter’s early years and details what led to his membership with the faction of Crips known as “Tray-Five-Seven.”
The book explains how a young man became fixated on a life of crime and through a distorted perception, viewed the gang subculture as a normal way of life. The Charles Carpenter story is a brutally honest account of his experiences in various juvenile facilities during the 1980’s and the members of various gangs he met during his unfortunate stints of incarceration.
The first story in this new, sweet holiday series. Who would ever think that being stranded at the Denver airport for three days over Christmas could be fun? It turns out to be the adventure of a lifetime for thirteen-year- old Jack and his younger siblings Ethan and Lily who are traveling alone from their mother’s in San Diego to their father’s in Florida. Jack is a bit of a wheeler-dealer who is thrilled to be out from under parental supervision, Ethan a comic book enthusiast and caricature artist, and Lily a budding matchmaker who won’t take no for an answer. Together, they learn to fend for themselves in an adult world and bring Christmas cheer – and even love – to other stranded passengers.
Relevant and Timely Encouragements!
As your church service approaches the same time every week, are you struggling to make time for spiritual preparation? Does worship sometimes feel more like a task than an expression? Do you often feel alone in your pursuits as a leader or worshiper?
This well organized and timely book delivers tried and tested wisdom that can strengthen your leadership and encourage your team. It will save you time as it puts succinct, season-specific devotionals in ONE easy-to-access place.
Whether you’re a worship leader or a church attending Christian, you have experienced worship as warfare, spiritually and sometimes physically, mentally, and emotionally. At the frontline of battle, there is limited time; valuable time that could be saved by having supplemental resources, proper tools and weapons, and a tested battle plan.
As someone who has studied worship of the Christian God for more than 10 years, I’ve been your shoes! I’ve been the curious onlooker bewildered by other’s expressions. I’ve been the congregant who wanted to grow in worship. I’ve led worship in a small group and a stadium. I’ve been there, and I know it can be a battle. Instead of battling alone, come alongside me and other worship soldiers as we fight together.
There are many great books on the theology of worship, but they often require the spiritual maturity of Martin Luther or New Testament Paul himself and months to read and digest.
As We Fight only takes about 5 minutes to read each week:
-52 weeks link modern church culture to specific times of the year.
-Increase your leadership equity with team members.
-Positively challenge your worship by giving fresh, measured perspectives.
Directly and immediately apply these up to date references and practical challenges to your worship experiences.
Following along with these devotionals will give you a better sense of your worship culture and help you adjust to better lead and participate. You will also learn more about deciphering truth from God versus lies from the enemy. Don’t let the enemy push you away from the truths waiting in these pages!
What’s stopping you from…
-standing prepared with better tools, weapons, and battle plans;
-gaining a deeper knowledge;
-reading one of these well-timed, thoughtfully prepared encouragements for yourself or your team THIS weekend?
Chat with Authors
I've always enjoyed writing and decided about seven years ago to try and write a book. My first adventure into writing was called 'A Boy...
I've written stories and plays since I was a little girl and I've always read and read and read. English was my favourite subject at...
In the late 1990s, my cousin Jacquelin Thomas became a published author. I was so inspired by her stories and style of writing that in...
I have been writing fiction since I was seven-years-old. There were several events that caused me to start writing. One reason I started writing was...
Writing has always come easily to me ever since I began studying journalism in college. I was a newspaper reporter, journalism professor, and editor of...
I had visited the lighthouse in Byron Bay once. The ocean and the lighthouse took my breath away. I got my inspiration from there.
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Tastes Like Murder (Cookies & Chance Mystery #1) by Catherine Bruns Narrator: Karen Rose Ritcher Series: Cookies & Chance Mystery #1 Published by Gemma Halliday