Inventor. Innovator. Entrepreneur.
These are today’s heroes. Public policies are designed to help them. Investors want to fund them. Successful ones make hundreds of millions, even billions, of dollars. Whole nations pin their hopes on these people to stimulate their economies, solve their problems, give them prestige on the world stage.
But who are they? What special gifts do they have? And what exactly is it that they do? That is what this book is about.
Wrote his Ph. D. thesis at the University of Virginia on biographical forms, while tinkering with cars to make ends meet. So these brief lives (short studies of the technical imagination, in different forms) naturally combine his literary and mechanical interests. He studied English at Harvard, Art History at Trinity College Cambridge. His previous books are Modern Rowing (1969), from a successful career as an oarsman and coach, and Chrome Dreams (1976), a history of car styling. His occupations have included English professor, Computer Science professor, restorer and international trader of classic sports and racing cars, amateur race driver, real estate investor, architect, builder, landlord, journalist. Lives with his wife Bonny in Fairfield, Virginia.
A poster announcing the demonstration of “Antipodean Shoes,” which allowed acrobat Richard Sands to walk across a polished ceiling like a fly, referred to the inventor as “Professor Hunt.” Merely to give his name as “Walter Hunt” would not do; people who read such posters expected more. The title of professor seemed modest enough, at a time when traveling actors often styled themselves lords or earls, claiming ties with the English peerage.