5 Niche Books That Sparked New Business Ideas

Nature, Novels & Mythology Book The next time you browse through a business book be aware that the genre’ is not the only kind of information source that may hold answers if you are looking for new ideas. Potential entrepreneurs have used novels, even the Bible, for direction, inspiration and creative ideas of various kinds.

Take the Following Examples

Last Child in the Woods, by Richard Louv - book cover

1.  After reading the work of journalist Richard Louv’s Last Child in the Woods, Erin Kenny, a preschool teacher and former attorney, decided to start a unique outdoor kindergarten school in Washington state. Her program is based on the principles of environmentalism that Louv advocates.
ABC News
Richard Louv http://richardlouv.com/books/last-child/ www.childrenandnature.org CedarSong Nature School.org

Celebrating 'To Kill a Mockingbird'

2. Founder and host of Cook’s Country, Christopher Kimball, recalled reading To Kill a Mockingbird and his ensuring curiosity over mention of a cake recipe, which he had never heard of previously. Kimball decided to learn more about the history behind the old Southern recipe. Inspired by the Pulitzer Prize winning novel, an episode of Cook’s
Country featured the cake that author Harper Lee had written about in her book.
PBS Cook’s Country http://www.cookscountry.com/recipes/Classic-Lane-Cake-

Summerhill: A Radical Approach to Child Rearing: A. S. Neill

3. For Lynda Weiman, as a teenager and straight A student, she began experiencing major problems personally and academically. But a book helped to give her a life-changing renewed sense of direction. One that helped to formulate the mission behind the start-up she later co-founded: Lynda.com. Summerhill: A Radical Approach to Child Rearing by A.S. Neill, 1984 was the title. At the heart of the book’s message was a new approach to education. The premise of the book included allowing students to choose what they wanted to learn.
The Lynda.com story  “Lynda’s profile”. www.Lynda.com
Abebooks.com http://www.abebooks.com/Summerhill-Radical-Approach-Child-Rearing-

4. John Irving’s novel Hotel New Hampshire featured the metaphor of a “smart bear” and the symbolism would later inspire the name for a software company start-up by founder Jason Cohen.
Source: A Smart Bear Blog http://blog.asmartbear.com/pick-company-name-brand.html

5. Perhaps the most famous example of how a non-business book can inspire a creative or entrepreneurial project is illustrated by the movie Star Wars. Filmmaker George Lucas credits the reading of  Joseph Campbell’s blend of mythology and psychology The Hero with a Thousand Faces for his creation of stellar stories.

George Lucas Discusses Directing Star Wars: Oprah’s Next Chapter You Tube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uHVVfHXuj_s
Joseph Campbell Foundation http://www.jcf.org/

Conclusion  In each case, readers explored subject matter that sparked curiosity and left a lasting impression. And insight gained would later be used in the entrepreneurial arena. While Joseph Campbell’s book is widely regarded as inspirational.

Note: While some titles are out of print ,you may be able to locate the books through a  public or academic library or independent bookseller.

Aptitude Lesson

Do you know who invented bubble gum for commercial use?
The world’s most playful candy was invented by

A. Teenage boy

B. Candy store owner

C. Unemployed Plumber

D. Accountant

Answer:  Accountant

Takeaway Lesson
Walter Diemer did not invent chewing gum, but perfected the process that created a profitable consumer product worldwide.

Diemer had the skill set of an inventor, an activity he enjoyed in his spare time.
And, based on how he taught sales clerks to blow bubbles with the gum he invented he was not your
stereotypical number-counting professional.

Perhaps fun loving and a people person, it does not appear he was suited for a job involving paperwork and
computing, instead inventing and sales seem to be what he really enjoyed.

Unfortunately, Diemer appears to have  lacked a strong aptitude for business and accounting principles.

Incredibly, he not only failed to protect his idea but he also didn’t
benefit financially 
from his invention, according to reports.

Wikipedia: Bubblegum

The Invention of Bubble Gum

Name Game Puzzle

Finding Your Niche Online Class








Why Your Project, Product or Service
Needs the Right Name

You know most, if not all of the popular things, products or companies
on the list that follows.
Mercifully, the original names on the list were changed.

Can you guess their popularly known names now?

1. Atticus

2. Backrub

3. Kutol brand wallpaper cleaner

4. Sweetheart Drops

5. Eppisicle

6. Green Frog

7. German’s _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _   _ _ _ _

8. Blabber Blubber


1. Pulitzer Prize novel
To Kill a Mockingbird
2. Google*

3. **Play Doh

4. Hershey Kisses

5. Popsicle

6. Red Lobster

7. **German chocolate cake
Note: The ‘s at the end of German was later dropped.

8.  Bubblegum


To Kill a Mockingbird
PBS American Masters
Harper Lee: Hey Boo

*Backrub refers to back linking in Internet lingo,  notes author Peter Kent.

Bubblegum Wikipedia

Green Frog: Food Network TV

**Play Doh & German Chocolate Cake
Business pundit.com

Lesson: Choosing a good name for your project, service or product is an important
pre-launch consideration because it signals that you understand the nature of where your
offering fits into the marketplace.

Selecting an awful name can hamper communication between you and potential customers or clients.
You’ll spend a lot of  time explaining, which will make little difference because of the elephant in the room…
that name. Even worse,  it’s difficult to be inspired or innovate, or see and imagine possibilities
for your idea when the elephant has a turkey of a name.

Sometimes, a naming issue may signal lack of marketing skill or it may be a warning that the idea was poorly thought out and should be re-evaluated.

Dee Adams is the author of 
Finding Your Niche: Discover…

Book Cover

Book Cover