How We Got to Now

Author: Steven Johnson
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 9780698154506
Release Date: 2014-09-30
Genre: Technology & Engineering

Look out for Johnson’s new book, Wonderland, now on sale. 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 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.

How We Got to Now

Author: Steven Johnson
Publisher:
ISBN: 1846148537
Release Date: 2014
Genre: POLITICAL SCIENCE

How did the advent of refrigeration help create the golden age of Hollywood? How did the invention of flash photography help shift public opinion on the plight of New York's poorest inhabitants and bring about social reform? And what about our battle against dirt? How did that help create the microchips in our smartphones and computers? In How We Got to Now, Steven Johnson traces six essential innovations that made the modern world; from their origins in ancient history to the technological advancements of recent years. He uncovers a surprising history of pivotal scientific breakthroughs made by amateurs and entrepreneurs through the years: from the Parisian printer who invented the 'phonautograph' to record sound decades before Eddison, to a businessman's audacious and unannounced intervention of adding chlorine to his city's reservoirs in order to keep his contract with the water board. Each fascinating story builds the network of ideas which made subsequent discoveries possible. This book is a celebration of innovation: it shows how time and time again, big ideas coalesce out of smaller, incremental breakthroughs. Unlocking tales of the unsung heroes and unexpected scientific revolutions, this is the story of the ideas that changed the world and the way we live in it.

Wonderland

Author: Steven Johnson
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 9780399184505
Release Date: 2016-11-15
Genre: History

“A house of wonders itself. . . . Wonderland inspires grins and well-what-d'ya-knows” —The New York Times Book Review From the New York Times–bestselling author of How We Got to Now and Where Good Ideas Come From, a look at the world-changing innovations we made while keeping ourselves entertained. This lushly illustrated history of popular entertainment takes a long-zoom approach, contending that the pursuit of novelty and wonder is a powerful driver of world-shaping technological change. Steven Johnson argues that, throughout history, the cutting edge of innovation lies wherever people are working the hardest to keep themselves and others amused. Johnson’s storytelling is just as delightful as the inventions he describes, full of surprising stops along the journey from simple concepts to complex modern systems. He introduces us to the colorful innovators of leisure: the explorers, proprietors, showmen, and artists who changed the trajectory of history with their luxurious wares, exotic meals, taverns, gambling tables, and magic shows. In Wonderland, Johnson compellingly argues that observers of technological and social trends should be looking for clues in novel amusements. You’ll find the future wherever people are having the most fun.

How We Got to Now

Author: Steven Johnson
Publisher:
ISBN: 1846148553
Release Date: 2015-09-24
Genre:

From Steven Johnson, the bestselling author of Where Good Ideas Come From, comes How We Got to Now, the companion book to his six-part BBC One television series exploring the power and the legacy of great ideas. How did photography bring about social reform? What connects refrigeration to Hollywood? And how did our battle against dirt help create smartphones? In this story of ingenious breakthroughs and unsung heroes, Steven Johnson explores the essential innovations that changed the world and how we live in it. 'A new Steven Johnson book is something not to be missed. The author has become the leading writer on how inventions happen' Daniel Finkelstein, The Times, Books of the Year 'Graceful and compelling ... you'll find yourself exhilarated' The New York Times Book Review 'Readable, entertaining, and a challenge to any jaded sensibility that has become inured to the everyday miracles all around us' Peter Forbes, Guardian'This nimble history of invention . . .is a many-layered delight' Nature

Mind Wide Open

Author: Steven Johnson
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 0743258797
Release Date: 2004-02-27
Genre: Science

BRILLIANTLY EXPLORING TODAY'S CUTTING-EDGE BRAIN RESEARCH, MIND WIDE OPEN IS AN UNPRECEDENTED JOURNEY INTO THE ESSENCE OF HUMAN PERSONALITY, ALLOWING READERS TO UNDERSTAND THEMSELVES AND THE PEOPLE IN THEIR LIVES AS NEVER BEFORE. Using a mix of experiential reportage, personal storytelling, and fresh scientific discovery, Steven Johnson describes how the brain works -- its chemicals, structures, and subroutines -- and how these systems connect to the day-to-day realities of individual lives. For a hundred years, he says, many of us have assumed that the most powerful route to self-knowledge took the form of lying on a couch, talking about our childhoods. The possibility entertained in this book is that you can follow another path, in which learning about the brain's mechanics can widen one's self-awareness as powerfully as any therapy or meditation or drug. In Mind Wide Open, Johnson embarks on this path as his own test subject, participating in a battery of attention tests, learning to control video games by altering his brain waves, scanning his own brain with a $2 million fMRI machine, all in search of a modern answer to the oldest of questions: who am I? Along the way, Johnson explores how we "read" other people, how the brain processes frightening events (and how we might rid ourselves of the scars those memories leave), what the neurochemistry is behind love and sex, what it means that our brains are teeming with powerful chemicals closely related to recreational drugs, why music moves us to tears, and where our breakthrough ideas come from. Johnson's clear, engaging explanation of the physical functions of the brain reveals not only the broad strokes of our aptitudes and fears, our skills and weaknesses and desires, but also the momentary brain phenomena that a whole human life comprises. Why, when hearing a tale of woe, do we sometimes smile inappropriately, even if we don't want to? Why are some of us so bad at remembering phone numbers but brilliant at recognizing faces? Why does depression make us feel stupid? To read Mind Wide Open is to rethink family histories, individual fates, and the very nature of the self, and to see that brain science is now personally transformative -- a valuable tool for better relationships and better living.

The Ghost Map

Author: Steven Johnson
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 9781101158531
Release Date: 2006-10-19
Genre: Science

Look out for Johnson’s new book, Wonderland, now on sale. A National Bestseller, a New York Times Notable Book, and an Entertainment Weekly Best Book of the Year From Steven Johnson, the dynamic thinker routinely compared to James Gleick, Dava Sobel, and Malcolm Gladwell, The Ghost Map is a riveting page-turner about a real-life historical hero, Dr. John Snow. It's the summer of 1854, and London is just emerging as one of the first modern cities in the world. But lacking the infrastructure -- garbage removal, clean water, sewers -- necessary to support its rapidly expanding population, the city has become the perfect breeding ground for a terrifying disease no one knows how to cure. As the cholera outbreak takes hold, a physician and a local curate are spurred to action-and ultimately solve the most pressing medical riddle of their time. In a triumph of multidisciplinary thinking, Johnson illuminates the intertwined histories and interconnectedness of the spread of disease, contagion theory, the rise of cities, and the nature of scientific inquiry, offering both a riveting history and a powerful explanation of how it has shaped the world we live in.

Emergence

Author: Steven Johnson
Publisher:
ISBN: 0713994002
Release Date: 2001
Genre: Self-organizing systems

We have only recently begun to recognize it, yet it exists at every level of our lived experience. It is fast becoming clear that our lives revolve around the powers of emergence.

Everything Bad is Good for You

Author: Steven Johnson
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 1101158018
Release Date: 2006-05-02
Genre: Social Science

Look out for Johnson’s new book, Wonderland, now on sale. Forget everything you’ve ever read about the age of dumbed-down, instant-gratification culture. In this provocative, unfailingly intelligent, thoroughly researched, and surprisingly convincing big idea book, Steven Johnson draws from fields as diverse as neuroscience, economics, and media theory to argue that the pop culture we soak in every day—from Lord of the Rings to Grand Theft Auto to The Simpsons—has been growing more sophisticated with each passing year, and, far from rotting our brains, is actually posing new cognitive challenges that are actually making our minds measurably sharper. After reading Everything Bad is Good for You, you will never regard the glow of the video game or television screen the same way again. With a new afterword by the author. Steven Johnson's newest book, How We Got to Now, is now available from Riverhead Books.

Future Perfect

Author: Steven Johnson
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 9781101596975
Release Date: 2012-09-18
Genre: Social Science

Look out for Johnson’s new book, Wonderland, now on sale. Combining the deft social analysis of Where Good Ideas Come From with the optimistic arguments of Everything Bad Is Good For You, New York Times bestselling author Steven Johnson’s Future Perfect makes the case that a new model of political change is on the rise, transforming everything from local governments to classrooms, from protest movements to health care. Johnson paints a compelling portrait of this new political worldview -- influenced by the success and interconnectedness of the Internet, by peer networks, but not dependent on high-tech solutions -- that breaks with the conventional categories of liberal or conservative, public vs. private thinking. With his acclaimed gift for multi-disciplinary storytelling and big idea books, Johnson explores this new vision of progress through a series of fascinating narratives: from the “miracle on the Hudson” to the planning of the French railway system; from the battle against malnutrition in Vietnam to a mysterious outbreak of strange smells in downtown Manhattan; from underground music video artists to the invention of the Internet itself. At a time when the conventional wisdom holds that the political system is hopelessly gridlocked with old ideas, Future Perfect makes the timely and inspiring case that progress is still possible, and that innovative strategies are on the rise. This is a hopeful, affirmative outlook for the future, from one of the most brilliant and inspiring visionaries of contemporary culture.

Where Good Ideas Come From

Author: Steven Johnson
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 9781101444207
Release Date: 2010-10-05
Genre: Business & Economics

Look out for Johnson’s new book, Wonderland, now on sale. The printing press, the pencil, the flush toilet, the battery--these are all great ideas. But where do they come from? What kind of environment breeds them? What sparks the flash of brilliance? How do we generate the breakthrough technologies that push forward our lives, our society, our culture? Steven Johnson's answers are revelatory as he identifies the seven key patterns behind genuine innovation, and traces them across time and disciplines. From Darwin and Freud to the halls of Google and Apple, Johnson investigates the innovation hubs throughout modern time and pulls out the approaches and commonalities that seem to appear at moments of originality.

Great Inventions that Changed the World

Author: James Wei
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
ISBN: 9781118342732
Release Date: 2012-07-02
Genre: Technology & Engineering

Discover the inventions that have made our world what it is today A great invention opens the door to a new era in human history. The stone axe, for example, invented some 2 million years ago in East Africa, enabled us to enter the human path of endless improvements through inventions. The taming of fire enabled us to cook food as well as leave the warmth of Africa and move to the frigid lands of the North. From the stone axe to the computer and the Internet, this book provides a fascinating tour of the most important inventions and inventors throughout history. You'll discover the landmark achievements and the men and women that made the world what it is today. Great Inventions That Changed the World is written by Professor James Wei, a renowned educator and engineer who holds several patents for his own inventions. Following an introductory chapter examining the role of inventors and inventions in fueling innovation and global advancement, the book is organized to show how inventions are spurred by human needs and desires, including: Work Food, clothing, and housing Health and reproduction Security As you progress through the book, you'll not only learn about inventions and inventors, but also the impact they have had on our lives and the society and environment in which we live today. Inventions solve problems, but as this book so expertly demonstrates, they can also directly or indirectly create new problems as well, from pollution to global warming to bioterrorism. By enabling us to understand the impact of inventions throughout history, this book can help guide the next generation of citizens, decision makers, and inventors.

The Invention of Air

Author: Stephen T Johnson
Publisher: Penguin UK
ISBN: 9780141044910
Release Date: 2009-10-29
Genre: Biography & Autobiography

In 1794, Joseph Priestley - amateur scientist, ordained minister and radical thinker - set sail for America to escape persecution. Stephen Johnson tells his incredible story: the discovery of oxygen, the invention of a science, the founding of a church, and, with the great minds of his time, the development of the United States itself. But Priestley's revolutionary ideas put him in terrible danger. Johnson uses the progress of Priestley and his colleagues not merely to describe the wonder of discovery, but to show us how we have come to understand the world, how far we have travelled with the power of human enquiry - and how one man's curiosity can help build an entire country.

Dogfight How Apple and Google Went to War and Started a Revolution

Author: Fred Vogelstein
Publisher: Sarah Crichton Books
ISBN: 9780374711009
Release Date: 2013-11-12
Genre: Business & Economics

Behind the bitter rivalry between Apple and Google—and how it's reshaping the way we think about technology The rise of smartphones and tablets has altered the industry of making computers. At the center of this change are Apple and Google, two companies whose philosophies, leaders, and commercial acumen have steamrolled the competition. In the age of Android and the iPad, these corporations are locked in a feud that will play out not just in the mobile marketplace but in the courts and on screens around the world. Fred Vogelstein has reported on this rivalry for more than a decade and has rare access to its major players. In Dogfight, he takes us into the offices and board rooms where company dogma translates into ruthless business; behind outsize personalities like Steve Jobs, Apple's now-lionized CEO, and Eric Schmidt, Google's executive chairman; and inside the deals, lawsuits, and allegations that mold the way we communicate. Apple and Google are poaching each other's employees. They bid up the price of each other's acquisitions for spite, and they forge alliances with major players like Facebook and Microsoft in pursuit of market dominance. Dogfight reads like a novel: vivid nonfiction with never-before-heard details. This is more than a story about what devices will replace our cell phones and laptops. It's about who will control the content on those devices and where that content will come from—about the future of media and the Internet in Silicon Valley, New York, and Hollywood.

How We Got to Now by Steven Johnson A 15 minute Summary

Author: Instaread Summaries
Publisher: Instaread Summaries
ISBN:
Release Date: 2014-10-19
Genre: Technology & Engineering

PLEASE NOTE: This is a summary of the book and NOT the original book. How We Got to Now by Steven Johnson - A 15-minute Summary Inside this Instaread Summary: • Overview of the entire book • Introduction to the important people in the book • Summary and analysis of all the chapters in the book • Key Takeaways of the book • A Reader's Perspective Preview of this summary: Chapter 1 Glass formed in the Libyan desert about twenty-six million years ago when grains of silica became superheated for some unknown reason. People began making ornaments from it about ten thousand years later. Still later, Roman artisans learned to make glass windows and drinking vessels from these early examples of glass. In 1204, Turkish glassmakers migrated to Venice, a major trade hub. The merchants of Venice happily began trading in this new commodity, but the high heat required for glassmaking kept sparking fires in the city. In 1291, the glassmakers were relocated to the island of Murano, where their creative community has thrived due to new levels of competition and shared innovation. Murano glassmakers developed crystal, an extremely clear glass that bends light very precisely. Monks in northern Italy used it to create the first eyeglasses. Other than monks, most people did not read, so there was little demand for glasses until Johannes Gutenberg’s printing press made books accessible in the 1440s. Other innovators began studying the properties of convex pieces of glass. In 1590, a father and son in the Netherlands invented the microscope, which British scientist, Robert Hooke, used in the next century to discover the cell, the building block for life. In 1608, Hans Lippershey patented a lens that magnified what a person was viewing through it. Galileo improved on the Lippershey’s design and, two years later, was using a telescope to challenge the assumption that all heavenly bodies revolved around the Earth. The printed word spread his ideas and helped pave the way for the Renaissance. One hummingbird effect of glass came from a quest to measure things. In 1887, British physicist, Charles Vernon Boys, created a thin fiber of glass to use as a balance arm. The new type of glass, which would come to be called fiberglass, was very strong. Within a hundred years, fiberglass was widely used in insulation, airplanes and computer circuits.