By Costas Papaikonomou
Aikono Bv Books, $18.47, 144 pages
When considering books about business, humor isn’t the first thing to pop into mind. Thoughts from a Grumpy Innovator by Costas Papaikonomou defies those traditional thoughts and provides a commentary that will make readers smile. His intention appears to be not to write a ‘how to innovate’ book or provide proven steps to success, all wrapped up within a straight-laced serious theme. Instead, he writes in Twitter-length comments gleaned from his years of sending Twitter posts. His natural style makes it appear easy to be witty in 140 characters or less, and he draws the sketches peppered throughout the book. Sometimes the wit works, sometimes it does not. Behind the wit, and what makes the humor shine through the brief remarks, is his earnestness about and depth of knowledge of his subject.
“When gathering confidence for doing new things…Remember to stop doing some old things.”
Following his own quirky reasoning, Papaikonomou divides the book into a variety of humorous business-oriented headers that are like chapters. He begins with “The Art of Beanbags and Funny Hats” in which he talks about the occasionally silly manner in which organizations force start the creative process and just as occasionally fail miserably. “The Evil Twin of Operational Excellence” is about the perfection expected in organizations that can cause systemic inertia. In “Market Research and Modeling Madness” the author discusses what does and does not happen when working with research models (i.e. some people simply do not respond to surveys which skews the results). “Decision-Making Along the S-Curve” is about how different business stages are from technology innovations and “In Foresight, It’s All So Obvious” is about timing and moving on to the next idea.
Costas Papaikonomou may call himself the Grumpy Innovator, but his words carry humor and wisdom without sounding sullen or irritable. Even though his word choice and alphabet soup of initials belong to the business world, a significant number of his statements are humorous even to a neophyte which makes this book a good choice for an easy chuckle.
Reviewed by Mary-Lynne Monroe