Foreword Reviews

Innovation on Tap

Stories of Entrepreneurship from the Cotton Gin to Broadway's Hamilton

Eric B. Schultz’s Innovation on Tap is an inspiring guide for entrepreneurs that invites innovators throughout American history into an imagined barroom to share their stories.

The stories of real-life visionaries who changed history with their ideas, including General Motors’s Alfred Sloan and beauty innovator Elizabeth Arden, are imparted in a text that imagines interactions between people from vastly different eras. Their creativity, determination, and against-the-odds successes show how hard-won business wisdom, dogged perseverance, and the whimsy of luck make or break American ingenuity.

Viewing American history through a fascinating lens, the book is divided into five phases of entrepreneurship: mechanization, mass production, consumerism, sustainability, and digitization. It shows the impacts that war, economic and political instability, and health (Eli Whitney had smallpox, for example) can have upon innovations. This work concludes with a final phase: social and cultural entrepreneurship. Here, the story of the creation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical Hamilton brims with hope and excitement.

“Back in the barroom” sections at the end of each chapter transition from individual stories back to an imagined conversation taking place across the ages. These sections bring home key themes that unite the stories, including the value of community, profitability and business success, and rewriting expectations.

Earlier eras are dominated by men and are focused on inventions in the more traditional sense. As history progresses, the book reflects the stories of women and a broader modern understanding of innovation and invention. The result is a compelling story about the development of American culture and the people who created it.

Built upon strong research and fun to read, Innovation on Tap gives today’s innovators the wisdom and gumption they need to overcome the odds.

Reviewed by Melissa Wuske

Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The publisher of this book provided free copies of the book to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. No fee was paid by the publisher for this review. Foreword Reviews only recommends books that we love. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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