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TECH
Gadget Nation
by Doug Black
on 30 April 2008
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When considering the success of the iPod it's easy to forget the thousands of failed inventions left in its wake. Steve Greenberg's new book, Gadget Nation, attempts to shine a light on some of the homegrown entrepreneurs who face the daunting climb toward widespread acceptance. Subtitled "A Journey Through the Eccentric World of Invention," the book looks at average Americans' creations, which run the gamut from handy to outlandish. Take for example the Octodog, which creates the octopus-shaped frankfurter you see below. Superfluous perhaps, but it does reflect the creative compulsion behind the millions of patent request every year.

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The majority of the book features this kind of ostensibly useless creations that one might find on Chindogu, Craplinks or the aptly titled Un Cool Hunting. Greenberg looks at oddities like bird diapers, a handle for carrying a turkey around the kitchen and the "Flat-D," a flatulence deodorizer that can be affixed to the underwear (all pictured below).

The book lumps inventions into eight categories based on use addressing all the necessities of life, such as sleep, food and excretion. Each invention includes a "Stat Bar" that offers information about the product and its creator. It lists age and location as well as the startup costs compared to the money made. Sadly, few inventors featured broke out of the red and made an actual profit on the thousands spent devising it. And even more sobering, a considerable portion is still hovering around the zero-dollar mark. Such is the all-to-frequent fate of the entrepreneur.

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The book is available now for $20 from Amazon.

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