INSTANT: The Story of Polaroid

"Instant photography at the push of a button!" During the 1960s and '70s, Polaroid was the coolest technology company on earth. Like Apple, it was an innovation machine that cranked out one must-have product after another. Led by its own visionary genius founder, Edwin Land, Polaroid grew from a 1937 garage start-up into abillion-dollar pop-culture phenomenon. Instant tells the remarkable tale^of Land's one-of-a-kind invention-from Polaroid's first instant camera to hit the market in 1948, to its meteoric rise in popularity and adoption by artists such as Ansel Adams, Andy Warhol, and Chuck Close, to the company's dramatic decline into bankruptcy in the late '90s and its unlikely resurrection in the digital^age. Instant is both an inspiring tale of American ingenuity  and a cautionary business tale about the perils of companies that lose their creative edge.

"Edwin Land was one of Steve Jobs's first heroes, and this book shows why he created a startup in a garage that grew into a company that stood at the intersection of creativity and technology. This is a  fascinating saga, both inspiring and cautionary, about innovation and visionary leadership." -- Walter Isaacson, author of Steve Jobs NG

INSTANT: THE STORY OF POLAROID is a book about a very unusual company. In the 1960s and 1970s, Polaroid was what Apple is today: the coolest technology company on earth, the one with irresistible[,ɪrɪ'zɪstəbl] products, the one whose stock kept climbing way past the point of logic. In its heyday, Polaroid was an absolute innovation machine--a scientific think tank that periodically kicked out a fantastically profitable, covetable product. In fact, the late Steve Jobs expressly said that he modeled his company to a great extent after Polaroid.

Instant  is a business story, about what happens when a company loses its innovative spark. It is a fine-arts story, showcasing the amazing things photographers (from AnselAdams to Andy Warhol to Chuck Close) did with Polaroid film. It is a technology story, of a company that created and maintained a niche all its own for 60 years. And it is a pop-culture history, of a friendly product that millions of people absolutely adored. I like to think that it also tells a larger story, about the rise and fall of American invention and manufacturing.

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To define it generically: an instant is a point on the time line that is unique and occurs only once, and such a date construct can occur only once in a meaningful  way.

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