“One of the most creative books on creativity I have ever read” – William C. Taylor


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 twenty 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.

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How to Fly a Horse solves the mysteries of invention. Kevin Ashton, the innovator who coined the “internet of things,” shows that creativity is more often the results of ordinary steps than extraordinary leaps. With engrossing stories, provocative studies, and lucid writing, this book is not to be missed.”

-Adam Grant, Wharton professor and New York Times bestselling author of Give and Take

“Beautifully written, Ashton’s exploration of creativity explodes so many myths and opens so many doors
that readers, like me, will be left reeling with possibilities. We can all create, we can all innovate.”

-Larry Downes, New York Times bestselling author of Unleashing the Killer App

“Ashton is an excellent storyteller. His writing style is fresh and appealing, leaving the reader wanting more -- despite already having provided a wealth of information about the topics he discusses, all oriented toward describing creativity and human ingenuity. He makes it clear that coming up with something new and useful is generally hard work, rarely a flash of ingenuity.”

-Amazon Customer