How the art of the inquiry can transform ideas into action.
Journalist and advertising guru Berger (Glimmer: How Design Can Transform Your Life, and Maybe Even the World, 2009) examines the science of questioning and the ways in which the world’s top innovators have used it to their advantage. Establishing a “culture of inquiry” is a prudent move for both producer and consumer, writes the author, who cleverly examines the impact the “Whys, What Ifs, and Hows” have on the development of products like snow shovels, baby carrots and Crackerjack, among many others. Berger explores how, in asking “the question that defined the problem,” struggling entrepreneurs have moved from product conception to profitable execution. Begun as a website assisted by volunteers and researchers, Berger’s book expands further on questioning as a skilled art form that can be polished to gain its maximum benefits, even though the author finds its usage underutilized in today’s electronic multimedia age. Berger makes great use of both historical and contemporary examples of educators, innovators and business moguls who, by taking time to ask pointed questions of themselves and their respective industries, have both broadened their understandings of challenging situations and expanded the range of positive possibilities. Rhetorically (and hypothetically) asking the right questions also enabled entrepreneurs to establish wildly successful businesses like Netflix (“What if the video-rental business were run like a health club?”) or game-changing inventions like the microwave oven (“Could the energy from the radio waves be used to actually cook food?”). The author also touches on the reasons why we stop asking pertinent questions as we age and the ways parents can inspire inquisitiveness in children. If asking questions demonstrates an open willingness to know, Berger writes, the answers have the power to dispel ignorance.
A practical testament to the significance of the questioning mind.