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The Shark's Paintbrush Biomimicry and How Nature is Inspiring Innovation

By: Jay Harman(Author)
334 pages, 114 b/w photos and b/w illustrations
The Shark's Paintbrush
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  • The Shark's Paintbrush ISBN: 9781935952848 Hardback Jul 2013 Not in stock: Usually dispatched within 2-4 weeks
  • The Shark's Paintbrush ISBN: 9781940468211 Paperback Dec 2014 Out of Print #219448
Selected version: £21.99
About this book Customer reviews Biography Related titles

About this book

The wave of the future has been around since the beginning of time: it's called Nature. Let inventor and entrepreneur Jay Harman introduce you to stunning solutions to some of the world's thorniest problems. Why does the bumblebee have better aerodynamics than a 747? How can a seashell keep a microchip from overheating? What structural design is shared by a tornado and a blood vessel? How can the design of a butterfly wing reduce the world's lighting energy bill by 80 per cent? How will fleas' knees and bees' shoulders help scientists formulate a near-perfect rubber?

Today an interdisciplinary and international group of scientists, inventors, and engineers is turning to nature to innovate and find elegant solutions to human problems. The principle driving this transformation is called biomimicry, and Harman shares a wide range of examples of how we're borrowing from natural models to invent profitable, green solutions to pressing industrial challenges. Aimed at a business audience, aspiring entrepreneurs, environmentalists, and general science readers, The Shark's Paintbrush reflects a force of change in the new global economy that does more than simply gratify human industrial ambition; it teaches us how to live in harmony with nature and opens bright opportunities for a better future.

Among the many fascinating topics Jay explores: what the human heart and dust devils have in common, and how this parallel structure can lead to better technologies in medicine; how studying seaweed can lead to resistance-free antibiotics; how the noxious-smelling durian fruit can offer ideas for helping humans live on Mars; how a single whale affords us a vast library of design expertise and information that can revolutionize industries as diverse as medical, aerospace, and emergency pollution response following oil spills and catastrophic tsunamis; how the blowfly maggot could lead to breakthroughs in materials science, helping to lower production costs and manufacture higher-efficiency substances; and, how the tiny scales making up the skin of sharks are being replicated on boats and airplanes to reduce drag and increase fuel efficiency.

Customer Reviews


Entrepreneur and inventor Jay Harman is one of the most sought after speakers on biomimicry. As founder and CEO of PAX Scientific and its subsidiaries, he has designed more efficient industrial equipment, including refrigeration, turbines, boats, fans, mixers and pumps – all based on biomimicry.

By: Jay Harman(Author)
334 pages, 114 b/w photos and b/w illustrations
Media reviews

"His vision of a biomimetic 'new global economy' is timely, crucial, and thrillingly eye-opening."
Publishers Weekly

"Imagine Indiana Jones, Huckleberry Finn, and Erasmus Darwin rolled into one person, and you will have some sense of what it is like to roam and see the world through Jay Harman's biomimetic eyes. The Shark's Paintbrush is a memo of kindness from the living world in a time of crisis and doubt: life in all its intricacy offers untold possibilities for the transformation of civilization."
– Paul Hawken, author, Blessed Unrest

"Jay Harman is the quintessential biomimic, a principled inventor who sees solutions everywhere he looks in the natural world. And he looks deeply, with the soul of a student. He moves with grace from a world of waving sea kelp to the world of sustainable design, bringing nature's wisdom into the board rooms of global companies, to the design tables of the engineers and designers who make our world. This is more than a business book, more than a memoir, more than a new way to solve global challenges. It's a book about a new way to think."
– Janine Benyus, author of Biomimicry and founder of Biomimicry 3.8

"The Shark's Paintbrush reveals how nature is inspiring design to be more efficient, effective, resilient, and beautiful. In Nature's 3.8 billion years of design experience, the roughly 99% of designs that didn't work got recalled by the Manufacturer. The 1% that survived can teach profound lessons about how things should be made, how they work, and how they fit. Jay Harman's immersion in and curiosity about the natural world have made him one of the best biomimetic designers. The Shark's Paintbrush is a masterly field guide for all designers and entrepreneurs who aspire to help the world of the made work like, and live harmoniously with, the world of the born."
– Amory B. Lovins, Chairman and Chief Scientist, Rocky Mountain Institute

"At this point in our global ecological crisis, the survival of humanity will require a fundamental shift in our attitude toward nature: from finding out how we can dominate and manipulate nature to how we can learn from her. In this brilliant and hopeful book, Jay Harman shows us how far the new field of Biomimicry has already progressed toward this goal. The Shark's Paintbrush makes for fascinating and joyful reading – much needed in these dark times."
– Fritjof Capra, author of The Science of Leonardo and The Tao of Physics

"It blows my mind how the same patterns repeat themselves in flowers, growth in animals, and in shell spirals. When engineers mimic designs from nature, more efficient designs for windmills and fuel efficient vehicles are the result. Many of the breakthroughs are counter intuitive. Jay Harman has told the promise of Biomimicry in a compelling way. The Shark's Paintbrush is essential reading for people interested in design and engineering."
– Temple Grandin, author of Thinking in Pictures

"A useful update on recent developments in biomimicry and an intriguing case for innovative green technology that goes beyond sustainability."
Kirkus Review

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