5 Niche Books That Sparked New Business Ideas

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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.
Sources:
ABC News
Richard Louv http://richardlouv.com/books/last-child/ www.childrenandnature.org CedarSong Nature School.org
http://cedarsongnatureschool.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.
Source:
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.
Sources:
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.

Sources:
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.

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