Chuck Swoboda – “The Innovator’s Spirit”

Chuck Swoboda’s book The Innovator’s Spirit: Discover the Mindset to Pursue the Impossible isn’t meant to offer readers directions about how to be an innovator. Such a book is likely impossible. Swoboda, a three decade veteran of the technology world with a long history of innovative ideas to his credit, instead looks to inspire readers to recognize and tap into their own innovative inclinations. The book is Swoboda’s first and came about after Marquette University asked him to comment on their syllabus and design for a class covering innovation. He provided them with voluminous comments that inspired university officials to suggest he write a book and, shortly thereafter, Swoboda began writing. This book is the result of those efforts.


He builds the book in fifteen chapters and a conclusion adroitly balancing solid information and his own personal experiences. Each of the chapters concludes with a recap of the preceding content highlighting insights the reader can glean from the material. Structure is one of the key strengths defining the book and reflects Swoboda’s experience serving as Chairman and CEO of a major corporation – it’s a prerequisite for success in such a position. It helps the book unfold in logical fashion that’s easy to follow for any experienced reader. The personal tone Swoboda takes on for the work helps ingratiate himself with readers thus making them potentially more receptive to his ideas.

I do think there are some difficulties with the prose style. Swoboda’s line by line writing sometimes lapses for significant stretches into passive sentences. These moments sap the energy from his storytelling prowess and are, perhaps, the most glaring examples of Swoboda’s inexperience as an author. It is fortunate, however, for readers that Swoboda’s considerable talents as a storyteller supersede such weaknesses. A thorough rewriting would benefit the book a great deal, but even the passive sentences don’t mar The Innovator’s Spirit beyond repair.    

Despite any aforementioned difficulties with the prose, Swoboda presents his ideas and concepts in clear and easily comprehensible fashion. He reinforces the book with an abundance of research strengthening those concepts and ideas, but maintains a potent balance between his own writing and contributions from outside or secondary sources. The easy going ingratiating tone Swoboda assumes for this book makes it a more enjoyable reading experience and keeps the book from ever taking on a scolding air. 


There is a sense of personal mission with this book. Swoboda, more than once, claims one of his motivating factors writing this book is that he wants to use it as a platform for regaining his own innovative spirit. The book, by that measure, is an unqualified success; his inspiration is palpable throughout the book. Measuring its impact on readers is an ongoing process but I feel confident that those in touch with their innovative spark within will enthusiastically respond to Swoboda’s message. Chuck Swoboda’s book The Innovator’s Spirit: Discover the Mindset to Pursue the Impossible isn’t your typical non-fiction book with relevance to the business world and the effect it has on readers is far from typical as well.

Nicole Killian

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Nicole loves to go cross country skiing, swimming, reading and critiquing books, listening and critiquing music, some culinary arts, pottery, spending time with my daughter, cheesy horror films.

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