How We Got to Now

How We Got to Now

Six Innovations That Made the Modern World

Book - 2014
Average Rating:
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"From the New York Times-bestselling author of Where Good Ideas Come From and Everything Bad Is Good for You, a new look at the power and legacy of great ideas. In this illustrated volume, Steven Johnson explores the history of innovation over centuries, tracing facets of modern life (refrigeration, clocks, and eyeglass lenses, to name a few) from their creation by hobbyists, amateurs, and entrepreneurs to their unintended historical consequences. Filled with surprising stories of accidental genius and brilliant mistakes-from the French publisher who invented the phonograph before Edison but forgot to include playback, to the Hollywood movie star who helped invent the technology behind Wi-Fi and Bluetooth-How We Got to Now investigates the secret history behind the everyday objects of contemporary life. In his trademark style, Johnson examines unexpected connections between seemingly unrelated fields: how the invention of air-conditioning enabled the largest migration of human beings in the history of the species-to cities such as Dubai or Phoenix, which would otherwise be virtually uninhabitable; how pendulum clocks helped trigger the industrial revolution; and how clean water made it possible to manufacture computer chips. Accompanied by a major six-part television series on PBS, How We Got to Now is the story of collaborative networks building the modern world, written in the provocative, informative, and engaging style that has earned Johnson fans around the globe. "-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Riverhead Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA), 2014
ISBN: 9781594632969
1594632960
Characteristics: 293 pages : illustrations (some color), map ; 24 cm

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ehbooklover Nov 02, 2015

My husband has been watching the show that accompanies this book on Netflix and it is really interesting so I thought I'd give it a read. It was ultra-fascinating. So much so that I read it in just a couple of days. The best part for me was connecting the dots between the inventions discussed and some of the surprising and unexpected consequences that followed them.

t
theresa_34
Aug 05, 2015

Really interesting information, though not as tightly written as I expected. Some parts consisted more of the author's point of view on political matters than on how certain inventions helped shape the modern world.

modis01 May 13, 2015

Insightful review of six innovations that are really the bedrock of all the technology we enjoy today. Well-written and thought-provoking history! Leaves you wanting to learn more!

m
mkhanh
Apr 08, 2015

A new unique perspective on world history. And the cover is well designed.

r
Roundcat
Jan 16, 2015

When I checked this book out, I was pleased with its artistic merits. It is well-designed and a pleasure to read. More importantly, it is intriguing to explore the chain of events that makes an invention possible, what Johnson calls the adjacent possible; and the unexpected consequences of the changes it makes possible. Another large point of this book is the final chapter, "Time Travelers", which mulls over the people, such as Ada Lovelace and Leonardo da Vinci, who envisioned things that had no adjacent possible at the time; but, because of their wide range of interests and imagination, made leaps to concepts that are being used today. Fascinating reading.

ChristchurchLib Dec 04, 2014

Citing "the strange chains of influence, the 'hummingbird effect'" that results in the cross-pollination of ideas across scientific disciplines, Steven Johnson, author of The Invention of Air and Where Good Ideas Come From, examines six deceptively simple concepts: glass, refrigeration, sound recordings, sanitation, clocks, and artificial light. While these may strike modern-day readers as mundane topics, Johnson argues that each is revolutionary in its own right and delves into the circumstances that made them possible. Nature and Science December 2014 newsletter.

r
rlinda
Nov 09, 2014

Fascinating and surprising ideas with a unique perspective on world history.

ChiPubLib_Adults Oct 13, 2014

The basis for a 6-part PBS series airing Oct 15th, Steven Johnson's book looks at 6 innovations and the impact they had, including consequences intended and unintended.

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