Book Title: About Jenga: The Remarkable Business of Creating a Game that Became a Household Name
Author: Leslie Scott
Publisher: Greenleaf Book Group, LLC
Synopsis: Leslie Scott's book, About Jenga, is an interesting memoir nestled in the story behind the creation of Jenga. But her book also offers charming and entertaining anecdotal and experiential insights into the world of business making it a worthwhile and inspirational read for aspiring inventors and entrepreneurs.
Who Would Like This Book
If you love Jenga and are interested in learning more about the origins of the game you will find enough gossipy and anecdotal details to find the book enjoyable. For example, the book puts to rest any suggestion that Scott stole the idea for Jenga from African customs or that the game had its origins in some other ancient culture. Scott briefly compares her game to others and presents enough historical data to prove her case.
The book will also appeal to any aspiring entrepreneur (especially women) who have an interest in inventing, the trademark process, and in laughing while reading a book that cheerfully delivers some serious business lessons learned the hard way.
About the Author, Leslie Scott
About Jenga is an autobiography about the brilliant woman, Leslie Scott, who invented Jenga, the second best-selling game in the world. Scott first took the male dominated toy industry by storm in the 1980s and later went on to co-found Oxford Games and create more than forty other games.
Abut Jenga offers details about Scott's fascinating and colorful life in African and England. She was born in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and grew up in Kenya, Sierra Leone, and Ghana. Scott was educated in Kenya, Sierra Leone, and Oxford.
She is fluent in Swahili, the language from which she came up with the name for "Jenga," which is based on a Swahili verb meaning "to build."
Although she now lives primarily in Oxford, England, she still considers Africa her home and maintains a separate home in Laikipia, Kenya. Scott is married and has two children.
About the Book
Scott's writing style is one of the things I enjoyed most about the book. She is intelligent and articulate without being pompous. Her anecdotes are often humorous, and most readers will find something to relate to in Scott's candid highlights of her own life.
If you are interested in an inspiring story, that follows an idea through concept, to marketing, to bringing a product the shelves in retail, this is a colorful and clever read.
As you learn about the "business of business," you can glean wisdom about how to start your own entrepreneurial journey, and learn from Scott's mistakes and set backs (she sold her rights to Jenga to Milton Bradley in 1986 and lost out on enormous earning potential.)
Excerpt from "About Jenga"
Scott enters the bank and begins by asking if the bank would have any trouble handling currency from the U.K. The bank assures here there would be no problem handling her business needs. It is only towards the end of the conversation that Scott realizes there has been a tremendous misunderstanding:
(Scott) ... "I assume you will have no problem if they wire the money in pounds sterling for you to convert to U.S. dollars?"
(Bank) "Why ever would you want to send you money to us in pounds sterling?"
(Scott) "Because I am sending it to your bank from the U.K., where I keep it in sterling pounds.
(Bank) "You do? May I ask why?"
(Scott) "Why what?"
(Bank) "Well, why do you keep it in sterling?"
(Scott) "Well," I said slowly, "the pound sterling is the currency we use in the U.K."
Bank) "It is? Ma'am, we have many, many clients of the University of Kentucky, and I had no idea they used pound sterling."
Needless to say, Scott chose another bank (in New York) that could accommodate her international banking needs. She opened the account, officially starting her new business with only $195.
From those early days, Scott has risen to become a formidable business woman in the game industry turning that $195 initial working capital into a millions. Her book will inspire you to do the same.