Skip to Main Content

About The Book

Dyson has become a byword for high-performing products, technology, design, and invention. Now, James Dyson, the inventor and entrepreneur who made it all happen, tells his remarkable and inspirational story in Invention: A Life, "one of the year's most relevant and revelatory business books" (The Wall Street Journal).

Famously, over a four-year period, James Dyson made 5,127 prototypes of the cyclonic vacuum cleaner that would transform the way houses are cleaned around the world. In devoting all his resources to iteratively developing the technology, he risked it all, but out of many failures and setbacks came hard-fought success. His products—including vacuum cleaners, hair dryers and hair stylers, and fans and purifiers—are not only revolutionary technologies, but design classics. This was a legacy of his time studying at the Royal College of Art in the 1960s, when he was inspired by some of the most famous artists, designers, and inventors of the era, as well as his engineering heroes such as Frank Whittle and Alex Issigonis.

In Invention: A Life, Dyson reveals how he came to set up his own company and led it to become one of the most inventive technology companies in the world. It is a compelling and dramatic tale, with many obstacles overcome. Dyson has always looked to the future, even setting up his own university to help provide the next generation of engineers and designers. For, as he says, “everything changes all the time, so experience is of little use.”

Whether you are someone who has an idea for a better product, an aspiring entrepreneur, whether you appreciate great design or a page-turning read, Invention: A Life offers you inspiration, hope, and much more.

About The Author

TK

James Dyson was born in Norfolk in 1947 and studied at the Royal College of Art in London, before joining Rotork to engineer and make the Sea Truck, a high-speed flat-bottomed boat, with Jeremy Fry. Best known for his revolutionary cyclonic vacuum cleaner, his products have been sold around the world, renowned for their innovative technology, design, and efficiency. James believes that engineers can improve the world and he helps them to do so through the Dyson Institute of Engineering and Technology, The James Dyson Foundation, and the annual James Dyson Award.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (September 7, 2021)
  • Length: 352 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781982188443

Browse Related Books

Raves and Reviews

"Whatever problem Mr. Dyson has tackled, he has sought to come up with a product that is paradigm-shifting....The bulk of this new book focuses on Mr. Dyson’s inventing, promoting, manufacturing and selling products beyond the upright vacuum....in some detail and with plenty of passion.... Stories of consumer products and gadgets drive Mr. Dyson’s narrative forward, but parallel to describing the process of inventing, Mr. Dyson tells a story of the struggles of entrepreneurship." 
—Wall Street Journal

"An entertaining and inspiring memoir by a fellow who’s nearly impossible to pigeonhole—and good thing, too....The British inventor and vacuum-cleaner magnate delivers a paean to creativity and creation....His overarching point is very well taken: He makes a powerful argument that our educational systems are not giving sufficient attention to fostering creativity and the independent spirit required of the inventor, thereby stifling innovation."
—Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“[Dyson’s] written a book called Invention, but that’s the publisher’s title. He wanted to call it Failure because what we’ve all forgotten in our modern-day blame culture is that no achievement is possible without foul-ups. Every successful invention is the result of trial and error, with the emphasis on error…the central message in his book is that there are no shortcuts to success.”
—Sunday Times of London

"I left this book enlightened about engineering and design, and impressed by Dyson's dogged, trailblazing spirit."
—Sunday Times

"This is not a book about business, but rather education, mentorship, and self-reliance. Invention: A Life celebrates the unknown and encourages stepping into it and uncovering entrepreneurism."
—Women Love Tech

"Dyson, like other great entrepreneurs, finds joy in failing because each experiment teaches him something he can use to reinvent a product or category. In fact, the words "failure" and "fail" appear over 50 times throughout Dyson's book...Dyson's famous 5,126 failures offer valuable lessons in storytelling for all entrepreneurs and business owners."
—Inc.com

"In his book Invention: A Life, Dyson, explains not just how he built his empire but how his life is as much about failure as it is about success—and why that makes him happy."
—Air Mail

Resources and Downloads

High Resolution Images