Book review: Finding the Next Steve Jobs

Emma De Vita reviews the book by Nolan Bushnell

Finding the Next Steve Jobs
Finding the Next Steve Jobs

Every boss wants to discover the next Steve Jobs. Imagine finding that kind of creative talent working for you. The author Nolan Bushnell, founder of the video game company Atari, did just that. He gave Jobs his first job and was an active supporter of his early career. Now Bushnell has written a book about how to find, hire and nurture the people who could make your organisation the most innovative of all.

Bushnell talks a lot about "pongs". No, not aromas that escape from the departmental kitchen, but what he calls a piece of advice. It's a word that originated in a video game he created with a friend in 1972 and, as he explains, "it applies only where the advice is helpful or needed - unlike a rule, which thinks of itself as applicable to every situation".

He then lists 51 pongs to help you create an environment in which creativity can flourish. Pong eight, for example, cautions against homogeneous hiring: don't employ only people like you, because hiring a creative person is about embracing risk, not mitigating it.

Meanwhile, pong 39, "Think Toys", is about getting your team members to play games - be it chess, Lego or darts - to tap into their lost childish creativity. Bullseye!

Emma De Vita is books editor of Management Today

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