Irish Business Post journalist Barry J Whyte, who wrote several articles covering Steorn over the years, has published a book detailing the whole saga. The Impossible Dream: The spectacular rise and fall of Steorn, one of the Celtic Tiger’s most audacious start-ups is available now through Amazon for Kindle, and will be released on paperback in September.
I haven’t dug into this yet but I’m looking forward to it — Whyte scored new interviews with some of the major players, including Shaun McCarthy and Steorn co-founder Mike Daly, and uncovered aspects of the story that haven’t been told before. The Irish Sunday Times published a review of the book, which you can read here.
I don’t know if this new account will bring us closer to understanding what propelled Steorn, or if it will only deepen the mystery… but it’s bound to be a fun ride, like the Steorn journey itself. Unless, of course, you’re one of the many investors who lost millions along the way.
3 thoughts on “The Impossible Dream: book brings new account of Steorn’s journey”
I think that a good documentary could be made about this story as well. There is a good bit of film and interviews shot. There would be a lot of other people who had an opinion as well. It’s a good way to sell the story.
I’m only about half way through, but it is an extremely good read and it certainly answers some questions we’ve all been wondering over the years. Of greatest interest to me is that, differently from what Steorn wanted us to believe, there were scientists right from the start who looked at it and told them it didn’t work and explained why.
The long and the short of it is, that the folks in the driving seat at Steorn deluded themselves, and they had the charisma to sweet-talk 23 million euro out of the shareholders.
It really is as simple as that. I highly recommend this book; it answers pretty much any question a follower of this blog would have, from scientific questions to financial ones. Briefly, the science is explained as follows: it was a measurement error, and Steorn didn’t understand the science well enough to understand it, despite having it explained to them by experts early on. Also, Steorn had no scientific rigor in their approach: all their experiments had different setups and could not be compared with each other, and most damningly of all, they were measuring input power and output power in different ways because “it was easier”. If they had been more rigorous they would have seen early on that they really had nothing, or nothing that could be exploited.
Barry Whyte has done a really good job of explaining the science as well as the financial aspects, which are more his area. If you’ve spent the last fifteen years wondering what the good f*** was going on at Steorn, as I have, then read this book. I got it on Kobo for 11 euro.