Steven Johnson

How We Got to Now: Six Innovations That Made the Modern World (Hardcover)

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Highlights

Book FormatHardcover
AuthorSteven Johnson
Publication DateOctober, 2018
ISBN-139780425287781
GenreJuvenile Nonfiction/Technology - Inventions
<b>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 <i>New York Times</i> 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.</b> <p></p>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. <p></p>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 &quot;long zoom&quot; 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. <p></p>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. <p></p>In other words, it's the story of how we got to now!

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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!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!

Specifications

Publisher
Penguin Young Readers Group
Book Format
Hardcover
Original Languages
English
Number of Pages
160
Author
Steven Johnson
Title
How We Got To Now
ISBN-13
9780425287781
Publication Date
October, 2018
Assembled Product Dimensions (L x W x H)
9.38 x 7.91 x 0.62 Inches
ISBN-10
0425287785

Customer Reviews

Average Rating:(4.6)out of 5 stars
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1-5 of 14 reviews
Average Rating:(5.0)out of 5 stars

This is a wonderful revision for young readers of the best-selling non fiction book, How We Got to Now, based upon research gathered during production of the BBC and PBS TV series of the same name. This book is very well designed, bound, and printed, with welcome photos throughout. The hardbound version is about 140 pages, and sized 8 x 10.5 inches, and about 3/4 of an inch thick. It would make for a nice gift for the inquisitive people in your life, young or old. Here, the book is segmented into a welcome introduction, along with chapters on Glass, Cold, Sound, Clean, Time, and Light. Each chapter actually spans quite a lot of history and detail, and is chronological. So for example, the chapter on glass starts with jewelry from ancient Egypt, to Venetian blown glass, all the way up to modern telescopes. I really appreciate how the book reveals the cause and effects of the various inventions which shape modern life, and how incremental growth can be inspired by unexpected causes, like how the the invention of eyeglasses was spurred on by the invention of Gutenberg’s printing press, which revealed to would-be readers that they couldn’t see details as well as others.

Average Rating:(5.0)out of 5 stars

Glass, cold, sound, cl...

Glass, cold, sound, clean, time, and light - these are the six innovations that Steven Johnson describes in his book about how we got to now. These aren't the innovations that first popped to my mind when I started listening to this book, but Johnson deftly shows how inventions like cold or time enabled so many other seemingly unrelated inventions.

Average Rating:(5.0)out of 5 stars

This book reminded me ...

This book reminded me of Connections, the PBS series by James Burke in (I just looked it up) 1978. (I can't believe it was that long ago.) Apparently, How We Got to Now is also a TV series. (I didn't know this when I picked up the book. I pretty much gave up on TV about 15 years ago. Books are SO much better - and there's no commercials.) Anyway, like Burke's Connections, this book shows how certain inventions led to others, and ended up changing the world. It's informative and entertaining. I learned stuff. That, along with the good writing, earns it full marks from me.

Average Rating:(5.0)out of 5 stars

Great, thought provoki...

Great, thought provoking book with a very compelling alternate historical view on the evolution of technology and society. One major takeaway for me is how counter to innovation our current patent system is, as ideas need to be shared and built upon in order for real breakthroughs and positive societal change to occur.

Average Rating:(5.0)out of 5 stars

This was a fascinating...

This was a fascinating look at innovation and discovery. Concentrating on just six areas - glass, cold, sound, clean, time, light - and using what he calls the "hummingbird effect," the author demonstrates how discoveries build upon one another and bring about changes in seemingly unrelated areas, leading us in directions we never imagined. For example, glass: before the 15th century, most people were farsighted and never knew it; most couldn't read and had no need to see tiny shapes formed into words. Therefore, spectacles remained rare and expensive items. The invention of the printing press changed that when it brought the written word to the masses, creating a market for spectacles. People began experimenting with lenses; microscopes, telescopes, and cameras were invented, creating a multitude of new discoveries in the sciences as a result. The author discounts the lone genius theory where one person magically came up with an idea and "invented" it. He demonstrates how most innovations were collaborations. An example was the light bulb: multiple individuals were working on developing a light bulb, and many "invented" it, but the person known for the light bulb was the one whose bulb outperformed the others and was most successful in bringing it to market. And that was Thomas Edison. I could babble on a lot about this book and how much I enjoyed it. But instead I'm going to encourage you to give this a read or a listen and have fun learning about how all the things we take for granted became part of our daily lives. And no, you do not need to know one bit about science to enjoy this - just curiosity about the world around us. Audio production: I can be a bit of a science nerd and once I started reading this I didn't want to stop and switched between audio and print so I could keep going. The audio was competently read by George Newbern in a very listenable but documentary-like style. For those who prefer the visual, there were some very cool drawings, photos, and illustrations that make having a print copy worth while. But in either format it was an enjoyable read.


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