About.com: Women in Business

Excerpt from book review by Lahle Wolfe

About Jenga, Leslie Scott, Published by Greenleaf Book Group, LLC
About Jenga, by Leslie Scott, is a great holiday gift book for game lovers and budding entrepreneurs.
Greenleaf Book Group, LLCStumped for a Christmas gift your your boss or co-worker? About Jenga: The Remarkable Business of Creating a Game that Became a Household Name is a great and affordable gift idea.

Written by Leslie Scott, the woman who invented the game, 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

Any Jenga lover interested in learning more about the origins of the game will find enough gossipy and anecdotal details to make the book enjoyable. 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.

Full Review on About.com, which is part of the New York Times Company

Jenga, the generalist


A large part of Jenga’s success can be attributed to the fact that Jenga is, to borrow a concept from the natural world, a generalist. Being a generalist -as, for example, are the plants that gardeners accuse of being weeds – Jenga has managed to colonize, as weeds do, a wide range of different territories simultaneously . Children like to play it, so it’s available in toy stores. Teachers like to use it as a teaching aid, so it’s available through educational suppliers. It is a popular adult drinking game, so you find it in pubs. Language is no barrier and neither is age, hence it can be perennially popular without acquiring craze status and is thus less likely to drop in and out of fashion as many other toys have done, such as the yo-yo and the hula hoop.
The flip side to such general success is that Jenga spawned a number of copies of knockoffs, some of which, like weeds themselves, rushed in to take advantage of the cleared space and perfect growing conditions Jenga created. Keeping the ground free of these imitations remains a challenge and, at the risk of taking this analogy a step too far, the most effective method of suppressing them has been to treat them like weeds and try to fill any gap in the market with an original Jenga game (or genuine Jenga line extension) as a gardener fills every space in a bed with desirable plants, leaving no room for weeds to take hold.

A brief excerpt from chapter 12 of ‘About Jenga’

Diary Date

T.G.I.T.  Jenga Tourney Tonight!  on Twitpic

On Tuesday October 6th I’ll be playing Jenga into the wee hours @ Bar 675 in The Meat Packers’ District of New York City!

Sitting at my desk in my office (a converted 16th century cart barn) on our farm in the middle of the Oxfordshire countryside, surrounded by meadows full of sheep,  hares, deer and pheasants (NB:- that’s a ph not a p) – I’m finding it a little tricky this morning to absorb the idea that we’re off to New York, New York in just three days. And that we’ll be away in the States for a month – on a book tour that starts in NYC, which includes a stop off in DC, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Denver, LA, San Fransisco, and which ends in Phoenix.  Oh, and possibly involves a side trip to Orlando, too.

I’ll be attending a mind bogglingly diverse collection of events, which range from playing Jenga in bars – the aforementioned Bar 675 NYC on Oct 6th and the Rock & Roll Hotel DC on Oct 8th – to a book signing event at Chevaliers, in LA on Oct 18th to be hosted by the chairman of BritWeek  – to speaking at the Haas School of Business in Berkeley on Oct 22nd.

But then, I’ve always felt that diversity is what makes life thrilling.

Jenga, the Name of the Game

Excerpt from: Jenga. Jenga? Jenga!

‘What’s in a name, anyway? From the Ouija board to Twister, from Rubik’s Cube to Pictureka, toy and game designers often seek unique and memorable names, or names that cleverly describe both the thing and the play. “Jenga” is one clever game name.’

-Nicolas Ricketts,  Curator of Strong Museum of Childhood. Play Stuff

Excerpt from: About Jenga

‘So, why did this word jenga feel so right to me? Why, when most new words failed, did it succeed? And why, despite this success, have I avoided – albeit unconsciously until now-launching any other game with a seemingly meaningless word for its name.’

Leslie Scott, author of About Jenga

Chapter Four: ‘Real Tennis and Flappy Ducks’

‘But of the myriad games I have played over the years, Real Tennis is undoubtedly the one to have exercised the greatest influence over my life. I met my husband through Real Tennis, and in many respects, it was because of the game of Real Tennis that I became a professional designer of games.’ About Jenga: The Remarkable Business of Creating a Game that Became a Household Name.’

Chapter Three: ‘Intel Inside’

book image‘For three years in Oxford, a city world famous for its ancient university, its beautiful buildings, its “dreaming spires,” Intel UK occupied a few uninspiring little offices about the Potato Marketing Board in a drab three-story sixties building situated on Between Towns Road in Cowley.’ About Jenga: The Remarkable Business of Creating a Game that Became a Household Name