How We Got to Now: Six Innovations that Made the Modern World

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Penguin, 2014 - POLITICAL SCIENCE - 293 pages
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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 history, 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 uninhabitab≤ 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.

 

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HOW WE GOT TO NOW: Six Innovations that Made the Modern World

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

Best-selling author Johnson (Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation, 2010, etc.) continues his explorations of what he calls the "hummingbird effect," unforeseeable chains of ... Read full review

Contents

Robot Historians
1
GLASS
43
SOUND
87
CLEAN
127
TIME
163
LIGHT
197
The Time Travelers
241
Acknowledgments
257
Credits
279
Copyright

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About the author (2014)

Steven Johnson is the author of the bestsellers Where Good Ideas Come From,The Invention of Air, The Ghost Map, Everything Bad Is Good for You,Mind Wide Open, Emergence, and Interface Culture, and is the editor of the anthologyThe Innovator's Cookbook. He is the founder of a variety of influential websites and writes forTime, Wired, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. Johnson lives in Marin County, California, with his wife and three sons.

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