How To Fly A Horse Book Summary By Kevin Ashton

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"How to Fly a Horse" is an inspiring book that will motivate readers to tap into their power of creativity.

Written in 2015, this book delves into the process of how ideas and products are created, drawn from the experiences of generations before us.

It encourages us to break free from the notion that creation is something only accessible by select individuals, showing us that through grit and perseverance anyone can create something meaningful.

It inspires us to take on daunting tasks and optimistically attempt what may seem impossible.

How To Fly A Horse Book

Book Name: How to Fly a Horse (The Secret History of Creation, Invention and Discovery)

Author(s): Kevin Ashton

Rating: 4.1/5

Reading Time: 13 Minutes

Categories: Creativity

Author Bio

Kevin Ashton is the acclaimed author of How to Fly a Horse, and for good reason.

He is an innovator in the field of computing and the co-founder of The Auto-ID Center at MIT.

His work involving Internet Of Things has led to him conceptualizing and founding several technology start-ups, as well as having created many successful social experiments.

In addition to this, Ashton also speaks frequently on topics related to innovation and technology.

No one else is better placed to share their insight on such subject matters!

How To Unleash Your Inner Creative Genius: Uncovering The Power Of Creative Thinking

Creative Thinking

Have you ever looked at a great work of art or amazing piece of technology and thought to yourself, “I wish I had that creative talent”? Well don’t be discouraged, because it turns out that creativity isn’t about being someone special – it’s about learning a process that we all have the ability to do.

In How to Fly a Horse, you’ll discover how to unlock your natural urge to create.

You’ll learn why every creator stands on the shoulders of giants and just how Steve Jobs designed the iPhone step by step.

It covers how a twelve year old slave revolutionized the vanilla industry.

In these pages you’ll also discover key elements for success like setting personal goals and looking for inspiration in unlikely places.

It’s time to unleash your exhilarating creative potential – read this book and make it happen!

The Creativity Myth: Innovation Is Nothing But Problem Solving

Creativity isn’t something that only the select few of genius minds can achieve – in fact, anyone can tap into their own creative potential.

All it takes is careful thinking and problem-solving, which are skills that we all possess!

You don’t need to be a genius to create something great – all you need to do is give yourself the time and resources to solve a problem or tackle an issue.

Take Archimedes for example; he didn’t come up with his famous discovery about density out of the blue – rather, his success came from the careful thinking and long process of developing solutions that he put into solving the problem.

His “Eureka” moment only happened after exploring numerous strategies and paths that eventually led him to succeeding in figuring out the concept of density.

These principles have even been tested in experiments such as Karl Duncker’s Box Experiment, whose results showed that there are three different ways to solve the given problem (e.g., using wax, tacking things down or emptying the box) and they were achieved through similar processes each time.

This proves how ordinary people can carry out extraordinary feats by simply taking the time and effort needed to process how best to tackle an issue or problem at hand.

Creativity isn’t some magical thing reserved only for geniuses – it’s how ordinary people use their own mental capacities to think deeply about a certain issue until they come up with effective solutions.

So don’t let anyone tell you you aren’t cut out for creating something wonderful – everyone has within them what it takes!

Innovation Is A Collective Effort Of Many Individuals Throughout History

The concept of creativity and invention often requires us to think of something entirely new.

But in reality, it’s far more likely that we are creating something by building upon ideas that already exist, or which have been developed by people who came before us.

This is something highlighted in the book, “How To Fly A Horse”, where author Kevin Ashton explores the idea that great achievements, like those we celebrate today, all come from the contributions and innovations of people in the past.

Take for example Edmond, a 12-year-old Black slave from La Réunion who discovered how to make vanilla pods self-pollinate.

Without his master Ferréol and botanist Konrad Sprengel’s work coming before him, coupled with generations of unknown thinkers from the past who developed what would become Edmond’s discovery (and now part of our everyday lives!), he wouldn’t have been able to build such an invention!

It’s fascinating to think about – every one of us owes so much to the knowledge and wisdom passed down through generations before us that allow us to come up with new inventions even today.

Creation isn’t just coming up with something new – it means simply adding or contributing to a long line of innovations from a long line of forgotten ordinary people.

Seeing The Unusual: Successful Creation Comes From Stepping Out Of The Box

Successful Creation

When it comes to creation, the most successful inventions and ideas come from taking small steps rather than leaping into the unknown.

This is something that Steve Jobs clearly demonstrated in the creation of the iPhone.

Instead of making one large leap forward, he asked himself small questions and solved the problems that were put before him until he reached his desired outcome.

For instance, with the development of smartphones Jobs realized that the current keyboards were too clunky and difficult to work with.

To combat this issue, he came up with a big screen display accompanied by a pointer device such as a mouse or even a stylus (which proved easily lost).

The final solution was simply to use our fingertips.

This shows us that creating something new requires a lot of thought and effort which must be undertaken in gradual steps, instead of one huge leap in the dark.

In fact, this same principle holds true when conducting experiments and tests as well – often those who are trying to analyze something might miss out on important details because their attention is diverted elsewhere, leading them down an unintended path or an incomplete result.

The lesson here – don’t let yourself get distracted by conventional wisdom but instead keep your mind open to all possibilities and perspectives, only then can you truly make meaningful progress towards achieving your goals, just like Steve Jobs did with his revolutionary invention!

Resilience And Perseverance Are Keys To Creativity And Success

You can’t expect success to come without hard work, and you have to accept failure along the way.

This is true for all creative projects; no matter what you’re working on, it won’t turn out great unless you put in the time and effort.

Commitment is key if you want to achieve results, so be sure to clear distractions out of your way.

Take inspiration from someone like Igor Stravinsky—the great Russian composer would always begin each morning by playing a Bach fugue before dedicating ten hours to his craft.

He worked hard without waiting around for the muse to strike him with inspiration.

Stephen King is another example of someone who puts in immense amounts of work into producing something worthwhile—King often scraps around 300 pages in his pursuit of a good book.

Just remember that any set-backs are learning experiences rather than waste of time, so don’t get discouraged!

Franz Reichelt unfortunately failed in his Eiffel Tower parachuting experiment, ignoring warnings from even those who were closest to him–but this demonstrates why it’s important take advice on board: no matter how much creative output you produce, if it’s not backed up with enough forethought and research then the consequences can be drastic!

Collaborating On Creative Projects: Let The Ideas Soar With “Show Me”


In How to Fly a Horse, we learn the importance of working creatively as part of a team.

If you want to take your team’s creativity to the next level, there’s one phrase that can help: “show me.”

This process revolves around giving people the ability to present their ideas and see them in action.

While conversation will identify and solve problems together, letting team members show off their ideas allows everyone to appreciate how they could fit into whatever the project may be.

For example, Kelly Johnson made major improvements to the Lockheed P-80 “Shooting Star” when his boss asked him, “show me.” He worked on it and solved it with a “twin” tail – a great example of what happens when you give people the chance for their ideas to be seen and tested in action instead of just discussed.

Organizations who understand the power of creativity don’t stifle creative people – instead, they actively encourage creative thinking through processes like “show me”.

Doing so not only brings out new solutions to big problems but also gives team members validation in seeing how they can apply their skills and talents within an organization.

Wrap Up

The main message of the book How to Fly a Horse is that anyone can create something valuable and meaningful, no matter who they are.

It’s not just geniuses who have the power to come up with great ideas.

Through hard work, commitment and repeated failure, you can achieve success in creating something innovative and new.

The book offers actionable advice, such as encouraging people not to be worried about their wild or wacky ideas but to embrace them and treat them with scrutiny and determination.

This was showcased in the example of Judah Folkman: his left-field idea revolutionised cancer therapy against all expectations.

To summarise, this book encourages people to never give up on their wild dreams or ideas and strive until they reach success!

Arturo Miller

Hi, I am Arturo Miller, the Chief Editor of this blog. I'm a passionate reader, learner and blogger. Motivated by the desire to help others reach their fullest potential, I draw from my own experiences and insights to curate blogs.

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