There are relatively few books on Imagineering. I believe that is not a problem because in my opinion if you pick the right books you won’t need a whole lot of them. It would not be a bad idea to acquire about half a dozen books on the subject, but if you want to minimize your reading you can confine your attention to the two best books on Imagineering and still be quite well informed. I see these books as being both individually excellent and highly complementary. They are briefly described below.
Imagineering: How to Profit from Your Creative Powers
Michael LeBoeuf, Ph.D.
Michael LeBoeuf taught business management at the University of New Orleans for 20 years and retired at age 47 in 1989. In 1980 he wrote this excellent book on Imagineering. It covers both creativity and completivity. It is detailed, well-organized, and easy to read. It is written as a schoolbook and is both positive and relatively complete on its subject. It is the best book of this type that I have found, and I have surveyed at least 50 books.
Imagineering: Illustrated by Ships That Have Wings
Joseph Chadwick, Ph.D.
I was an acting Imagineer rather than a schoolteacher. I carried out Imagineering from 1950 to 2000. My most important area of interest was marine engineering, and one of my early subjects was ship stabilization using wings. The design coming out of that work is still in operation today, 60 years after it was first put into operation. It is a required feature on almost all large cruise liners.
My book is a story book about this development. Many key aspects of Imagineering can be found in the story. And in the book I have added some other aspects as well. So the book provides a rather full discussion of most of the issues in Imagineering. And of course it puts you right down on the ground where the invention if actually taking place.
Complementary Nature of These Two Books
The approaches to the subject taken by these two books are quite different, and they are also very complementary. LeBoeuf’s textbook is a very well organized, careful, and complete overview of the subject. It is very easy to read and study. It is very easy to browse for topics of interest.
My storybook on the other hand, has to accept the story as it happens, so it is in a sense not quite as well organized. But by its nature it is very close to the ground and full of adventures and realities. It provides a more vivid view of the chances and circumstances that are sometimes beyond your control when you undertake Imagineering. It also inherently puts more emphasis on failures, and the importance of knowing how to deal with them. That is very important. And it actually and fully illustrates the tangled web of innovations. I doubt you will see that reality anywhere else.
These two books are very complementary. Together they add up to significantly more than either book alone. They can tell you pretty much of what it takes to understand Imagineering. At my blogsite I plan to discuss something on the order of 12-18 books on Imagineering, but these two are the best.