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.
LONGLISTED FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD • YALSA EXCELLENCE IN NONFICTION FINALIST • A ROBERT F. SIBERT HONOR BOOK 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!
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.
“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.
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.
Simultaneously heartbreaking and heartwarming, This is How We Got Here follows a close-knit family as they deal with an unexpected loss. A mother, father, aunt, and uncle must learn how to move forward after the trauma and re-learn how to interact with one another with forgiveness, humor, and love.
From the New York Times bestselling author of How We Got To Now and Farsighted 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.
This popular and accessible account of how the Bible has been preserved and transmitted for today's readers is now available in trade paper.
From John Green, the #1 bestselling author of Turtles All the Way Down "The greatest romance story of this decade." —Entertainment Weekly -Millions of copies sold- #1 New York Times Bestseller #1 Wall Street Journal Bestseller #1 USA Today Bestseller #1 International Bestseller TIME Magazine’s #1 Fiction Book of 2012 TODAY Book Club pick Now a Major Motion Picture Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten. Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars brilliantly explores the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love.
The easy accessibility of the Bible in most of the world's major languages can obscure a dramatic and sometimes unexpected story. In Know How We Got Our Bible, scholars Ryan Reeves and Charles Hill trace the history of the Bible from its beginnings to the present day, highlighting key figures and demonstrating overall the reliability of Scripture. Reeves and Hill begin with the writing of the Bible's books (including authorship and dating), move into the formation of the Old and New Testaments (including early transmission and the development of the canon), and conclude with several chapters on Bible translation from the Latin Vulgate to the ongoing work of translation around the world today. Written simply and focused on the overarching story of how the Bible came to us today, Know How We Got Our Bible is an excellent introduction for formal students and lay learners alike. Each chapter includes reflection questions and recommended readings for further learning.
From bestselling writer David Graeber—“a master of opening up thought and stimulating debate” (Slate)—a powerful argument against the rise of meaningless, unfulfilling jobs…and their consequences. Does your job make a meaningful contribution to the world? In the spring of 2013, David Graeber asked this question in a playful, provocative essay titled “On the Phenomenon of Bullshit Jobs.” It went viral. After one million online views in seventeen different languages, people all over the world are still debating the answer. There are hordes of people—HR consultants, communication coordinators, telemarketing researchers, corporate lawyers—whose jobs are useless, and, tragically, they know it. These people are caught in bullshit jobs. Graeber explores one of society’s most vexing and deeply felt concerns, indicting among other villains a particular strain of finance capitalism that betrays ideals shared by thinkers ranging from Keynes to Lincoln. “Clever and charismatic” (The New Yorker), Bullshit Jobs gives individuals, corporations, and societies permission to undergo a shift in values, placing creative and caring work at the center of our culture. This book is for everyone who wants to turn their vocation back into an avocation and “a thought-provoking examination of our working lives” (Financial Times).
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.
This is the story of how Apple and Google have reshaped our world and redefined the meaning of content and how it is distributed. It begins with the iPhone, which has transformed the concept of what a smart phone can be. Now everyone wants one, or else a smart phone like it. Apple and Google are fighting to find a way to control the software that runs these phones so they can manage the content that runs on top of it. The battle has become vicious, although Google makes more than half the apps that run on Apple devices. There may be room for both, but the history of technology suggests that only one player will be dominant in the long term. Author Fred Vogelstein recounts that struggle and describes the impact it is having on the rest of the media and on technology. Filled with in-depth interviews of key players and behind-the-scenes accounts of corporate strategy, Dogfight is a must-read for anyone interested in the biggest societal and technological shift since the Industrial Revolution.
Look out for Johnson’s new book, Wonderland, now on sale. Steven Johnson, author of Where Good Ideas Come From, Emergence, Everything Bad is Good for You, Mind Wide Open and Ghost Map, and an acknowledged bestselling leader on the subject of innovation, gathers - for a foundational text on the subject of innovation - essays, interviews, and cutting-edge insights by such exciting field leaders as Peter Drucker, Richard Florida, Eric Von Hippel, Dean Keith Simonton, Arthur Koestler, John Seely Brown, and Marshall Berman. Johnson also provides new material from Marisa Mayer of Google, Twitter's Biz Stone and Jack Dorsey, and Ray Ozzie, Microsoft's former Chief Software Architect. With additional commentary by Johnson himself, this book reveals the innovation found in a wide range of fields, including science, technology, energy, transportation, education, art, and sociology, making it vital, fresh, and fascinating reading for our time, and for the future.
"Thoroughly engrossing. . . .a spirited, suspenseful, economically told tale whose significance is manifest and whose pace never flags." —Wall Street Journal The New York Times bestselling author of Ghost Map and How We Got to Now returns with the story of a pirate who changed the world Henry Every was the seventeenth century’s most notorious pirate. The press published wildly popular—and wildly inaccurate—reports of his nefarious adventures. The British government offered enormous bounties for his capture, alive or (preferably) dead. But Steven Johnson argues that Every’s most lasting legacy was his inadvertent triggering of a major shift in the global economy. Enemy of All Mankind focuses on one key event—the attack on an Indian treasure ship by Every and his crew—and its surprising repercussions across time and space. It’s the gripping tale one of the most lucrative crimes in history, the first international manhunt, and the trial of the seventeenth century. Johnson uses the extraordinary story of Henry Every and his crimes to explore the emergence of the East India Company, the British Empire, and the modern global marketplace: a densely interconnected planet ruled by nations and corporations. How did this unlikely pirate and his notorious crime end up playing a key role in the birth of multinational capitalism? In the same mode as Johnson’s classic non-fiction historical thriller The Ghost Map, Enemy of All Mankind deftly traces the path from a single struck match to a global conflagration.
Journalist Walls grew up with parents whose ideals and stubborn nonconformity were their curse and their salvation. Rex and Rose Mary and their four children lived like nomads, moving among Southwest desert towns, camping in the mountains. Rex was a charismatic, brilliant man who, when sober, captured his children's imagination, teaching them how to embrace life fearlessly. Rose Mary painted and wrote and couldn't stand the responsibility of providing for her family. When the money ran out, the Walls retreated to the dismal West Virginia mining town Rex had tried to escape. As the dysfunction escalated, the children had to fend for themselves, supporting one another as they found the resources and will to leave home. Yet Walls describes her parents with deep affection in this tale of unconditional love in a family that, despite its profound flaws, gave her the fiery determination to carve out a successful life. -- From publisher description.
From the bestselling author of How We Got To Now, The Ghost Map and Farsighted, a new national bestseller: the “exhilarating”( Los Angeles Times) story of Joseph Priestley, “a founding father long forgotten”(Newsweek) and a brilliant man who embodied the relationship between science, religion, and politics for America's Founding Fathers. In The Invention of Air, national bestselling author Steven Johnson tells the fascinating story of Joseph Priestley—scientist and theologian, protégé of Benjamin Franklin, friend of Thomas Jefferson—an eighteenth-century radical thinker who played pivotal roles in the invention of ecosystem science, the discovery of oxygen, the uses of oxygen, scientific experimentation, the founding of the Unitarian Church, and the intellectual development of the United States. As he did so masterfully in The Ghost Map, Steven Johnson uses a dramatic historical story to explore themes that have long engaged him: innovative strategies, intellectual models, and the way new ideas emerge and spread, and the environments that foster these breakthroughs.