Tag Archives: Leonard DeGraaf

Bill Gates Salutes Thomas Edison

In a Foreword to a new book, “Edison and the Rise of Innovation” about Thomas Edison, Bill Gates salutes Edison with these words:

“In the pantheon of American innovation Thomas Edison holds a unique place”

“He certainly has been an inspiration to me in my career. I am lucky enough to own a few pieces of Edison memorabilia…”

“Thomas Edison remains a powerful exemplar of creativity, perseverance and optimism…” [Bill Gates – Edison and The Rise of Innovation]

“Edison and the Rise of Innovation” is a collaboration among the Charles Edison Fund and Edison Innovation Foundation, Sterling Publishing, the National Park Service and is written by veteran author, Leonard DeGraaf, archivist at the Thomas Edison National Historical Park in West Orange, New Jersey.  On September 25 (Wednesday),  the book will be available in Barnes & Noble books stores and on their web site at www.barnesandnoble.com.

This important new book already has a very big fan, Bill Gates, who penned the Foreward.

Edison and the Rise of Innovation

People know Edison for his 3 major inventions, the electric light bulb and the power industry, the phonograph and the motion picture camera, but the great inventor also was a brilliant entrepreneur who knew how to bring his innovative ideas to the marketplace.

Edison and the Rise of Innovation

Over the course of his long career, Edison organized and managed dozens of manufacturing and marketing companies. In the process of adopting new production and sales strategies, he helped create a mass consumer market in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries; and also branding himself in the process. From his modest roll-top desk in his invention factory office/library, Old Tom routinely managed about 40 new product development teams and 30 companies that supported his operations and sold his products. If that is not an operational definition of an innovator, what is!

The crisp text and explanations by Author DeGraaf are fun to read and the photos in the book are illuminating. This book is a keeper. You STEM teachers out there…make sure you get a copy in your school library or for your classroom. Edison is the “STEMeister”, the taproot of team-based, multidisciplinary problem solving.

A copy of the book can be purchased now on Barnes & Noble website.

Thomas Edison on Time MagazineThomas Edison said … “If we all did the things we are really capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves….”

Time ® is a registered trademark of Time Inc.


Book Signing – “Edison and the Rise of Innovation” by Leonard DeGraaf; Foreword by Bill Gates

WHAT: “Edison and the Rise of Innovation” Book Signing

WHERE: The Edison National Historical Park, 211 Main Street, West Orange, New Jersey  07052

WHEN: Wednesday, October 30, 2013 @ 6:30 p.m.


Refreshments will be served. Books can be purchased at the Edison Book Store on location. Come one, come all!

About the Author

Leonard DeGraaf is an archivist at Thomas Edison National Historical Park. Before joining the National Park Service in 1991, he was on the staff of the Thomas A. Edison Papers. DeGraaf is the author of Historic Photos of Thomas Edison (Turner Publishing, 2008), and his articles have appeared in the New York Daily News,Seaport magazine, and Business History Review, among other publications. He received an MA in history from Rutgers University.

“Edison and the Rise of Innovation” Book Trailer

Purchase the book now.