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This book is a celebration of ideas: how they happen and their sometimes unintended results. Johnson shows how simple scientific breakthroughs have driven other discoveries through the network of ideas and innovations that made each finding possible. He traces important inventions through ancient and contemporary history, unlocking tales of unsung heroes and radical revolutions that changed the world and the way we live in it
From the New York Times–bestselling author of Where Good Ideas Come From and Farsighted, 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.
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 Steven Johnson is the US bestselling author of Where Good Ideas Come From, The Invention of Air, The Ghost Map, and Everything Bad Is Good for You, and is the editor of the anthology The Innovator's Cookbook. He is the founder of a variety of influential websites - most recently, outside.in - and writes for Time, Wired, The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.
David Reich describes how the revolution in the ability to sequence ancient DNA has changed our understanding of the deep human past. This book tells the emerging story of our often surprising ancestry - the extraordinary ancient migrations and mixtures of populations that have made us who we are.
This beautifully illustrated, oversized guide to the people and technology of the moon landing by award-winning author/illustrator John Rocco (illustrator of the Percy Jackson series) is a must-have for space fans, classrooms, and tech geeks. Everyone knows of Neil Armstrong's famous first steps on the moon. But what did it really take to get us there? The Moon landing is one of the most ambitious, thrilling, and dangerous ventures in human history. This exquisitely researched and illustrated book tells the stories of the 400,000 unsung heroes--the engineers, mathematicians, seamstresses, welders, and factory workers--and their innovations and life-changing technological leaps forward that allowed NASA to achieve this unparalleled accomplishment. From the shocking launch of the Russian satellite Sputnik to the triumphant splashdown of Apollo 11, Caldecott Honor winner John Rocco answers every possible question about this world-altering mission. Each challenging step in the space race is revealed, examined, and displayed through stunning diagrams, experiments, moments of crisis, and unforgettable human stories. Explorers of all ages will want to pore over every page in this comprehensive chronicle detailing the grandest human adventure of all time!
Did you drink a glass of water today? Did you turn on a light? Did you think about how miraculous either one of those things is when you did it? Of course not--but you should, and New York Times bestselling author Steven Johnson has. This adaptation of his adult book and popular PBS series explores the fascinating and interconnected stories of innovations--like clean drinking water and electricity--that changed the way people live. Innovation starts with a problem whose solution sets in motion all kinds of unexpected discoveries. That's why you can draw a line from pendulums to punching the clock at a factory, from ice blocks to summer movie blockbusters, from clean water to computer chips. In the lively storytelling style that has made him a popular, bestselling author, Steven Johnson looks at how accidental genius, brilliant mistakes, and unintended consequences shape the way we live in the modern world. Johnson's "long zoom" approach connects history, geography, politics, and scientific advances with the deep curiousity of inventors or quirky interests of tinkerers to show how innovation truly comes about. His fascinating account is organized into six topics: glass, cold, sound, clean, time, light. Johnson's fresh exploration of these simple, single-syllable word concepts creates an endlessly absorbing story that moves from lightning strikes in the prehistoric desert to the herculean effort to literally raise up the city of Chicago to laser labs straight out of a sci-fi movie. In other words, it's the story of how we got to now!
From the bestselling author of Lab Girl comes a slim, urgent missive on the defining issue of our time: here is Hope Jahren on climate change, our timeless pursuit of more, and how the same human ambition that got us here can also be our salvation. Hope Jahren is an award-winning geobiologist, a brilliant writer, and one of the seven billion people with whom we share this earth. The Story of More is her impassioned open letter to humanity as we stand at the crossroads of survival and extinction. Jahren celebrates the long history of our enterprising spirit--which has tamed wild crops, cured diseases, and sent us to the moon--but also shows how that spirit has created excesses that are quickly warming our planet to dangerous levels. In short, highly readable chapters, she takes us through the science behind the key inventions--from electric power to large-scale farming and automobiles--that, even as they help us, release untenable amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. She explains the current and projected consequences of greenhouse gases--from superstorms to rising sea levels--and shares the science-based tools that could help us fight back. At once an explainer on the mechanisms of warming and a capsule history of human development, The Story of More illuminates the link between our consumption habits and our endangered earth. It is the essential pocket primer on climate change that will leave an indelible impact on everyone who reads it.
The hardest choices are also the most consequential. So why do we know so little about how to get them right? Big, life-altering decisions matter so much more than the decisions we make every day, and they're also the most difficult: where to live, whom to marry, what to believe, whether to start a company, how to end a war. There's no one-size-fits-all approach for addressing these kinds of conundrums. Steven Johnson's classic Where Good Ideas Come From inspired creative people all over the world with new ways of thinking about innovation. In Farsighted, he uncovers powerful tools for honing the important skill of complex decision-making. While you can't model a once-in-a-lifetime choice, you can model the deliberative tactics of expert decision-makers. These experts aren't just the master strategists running major companies or negotiating high-level diplomacy. They're the novelists who draw out the complexity of their characters' inner lives, the city officials who secure long-term water supplies, and the scientists who reckon with future challenges most of us haven't even imagined. The smartest decision-makers don't go with their guts. Their success relies on having a future-oriented approach and the ability to consider all their options in a creative, productive way. Through compelling stories that reveal surprising insights, Johnson explains how we can most effectively approach the choices that can chart the course of a life, an organization, or a civilization. Farsighted will help you imagine your possible futures and appreciate the subtle intelligence of the choices that shaped our broader social history.
Alternately funny, tragic, and life-affirming, Ben Ellis' HOW WE GOT TO TODAY is a delightful mix of the everyday and the surreal, the romantic and the comic. Perfect for fans of Jill Mansell and Mhairi McFarlane. How can you find love, when you've lost sight of yourself? Sheridan doesn't know what he looks like. There's nothing wrong with his vision, it's just that he's the only person in the world who can't see his own face. Despite this, he has it all going for him - a good job as an optometrist, a nice home, and a wonderful girlfriend. All until Heidi, totally out of the blue, dumps him. And to make matters worse, not only has she broken his heart, but she's disappeared. Distraught, Sheridan begins to search for her, and ends up finding himself along the way. . . This is a story about how sometimes it's the people closest to us that see us the best and, if we lose sight of ourselves, can tell us who we really are.
The inspiring, life-changing bestseller by the author of LEADERS EAT LAST and TOGETHER IS BETTER. In 2009, Simon Sinek started a movement to help people become more inspired at work, and in turn inspire their colleagues and customers. Since then, millions have been touched by the power of his ideas, including more than 28 million who’ve watched his TED Talk based on START WITH WHY -- the third most popular TED video of all time. Sinek starts with a fundamental question: Why are some people and organizations more innovative, more influential, and more profitable than others? Why do some command greater loyalty from customers and employees alike? Even among the successful, why are so few able to repeat their success over and over? People like Martin Luther King Jr., Steve Jobs, and the Wright Brothers had little in common, but they all started with WHY. They realized that people won't truly buy into a product, service, movement, or idea until they understand the WHY behind it. START WITH WHY shows that the leaders who've had the greatest influence in the world all think, act, and communicate the same way -- and it's the opposite of what everyone else does. Sinek calls this powerful idea The Golden Circle, and it provides a framework upon which organizations can be built, movements can be led, and people can be inspired. And it all starts with WHY.