How knowledge flows in and out of innovative minds ripples through Journey's Reward, a fast-paced, captivating, historical account of twentieth century entrepreneurship spanning the Texas-Mexico borderlands.
The book by veteran business writer and entrepreneur Doug Perkins details the lives of self-taught photographer and botanist Robert Runyon and the Southwest's first aviator Prentice Alexander Newman. Each man arrived in Texas' lower Rio Grande Valley in early 1909. During the next six decades, each man took his turn generating compelling innovations in science and technology even while each experienced personal, legal, political, and wartime crises.
The violence of the Mexican Revolution and the Texas bandit wars, especially during Newman and Runyon's single brief collaboration, and the sorrow of personal losses accentuated both men's entrepreneurship. At times, Runyon also had to manage the complications of South Texas' political drama while Newman balanced the building of America's first monoplane with a court fight for his life. Through it all, the men created and transferred important new knowledge that helped pace early aviation and photography technology, brought awareness to needed protection for indigenous subtropical flora, and demonstrated that knowledge transfer drives productivity and economic growth in the borderlands.
Featuring main characters with whom every reader can relate, Journey's Reward mirrors the polymathic creativity chronicled in Walter Isaacson's Leonardo Da Vinci and the engineering ingenuity displayed in David McCullough's The Wright Brothers. The book features more than forty historic photographs, the majority of which are images taken by Runyon during his photography career between 1909 and 1926. That combination of actual events supported by illustrations of the era's events makes Journey's Reward a spellbinding examination of the knowledge creation process through the careers of two twentieth century men who expertly navigated the entrepreneurial path of risk and reward.