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How We Got to Now: Six Innovations That Made the Modern World (2014)

por Steven Johnson

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1,0714719,252 (3.99)50
"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 volume, 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. "--… (mais)
  1. 00
    At Home : a short history of private life por Bill Bryson (cbl_tn)
    cbl_tn: Both books address some of the same technological advances, such as refrigeration and electricity and artificial light, for a popular audience.
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Great start of a book but the author doesn’t carry through a d doesn’t justify the title which seems to promise cimpleteness.

The book is a fun romp across connected technologies and how they enabled each other leading to deep changes in culture and society. ( )
  yates9 | Feb 28, 2024 |
This book connects inventions with social movements in a way that formed many moments of epiphany for me. It was delightful and thought-provoking, but it's not a gripping book; I had to force myself back into it a few times because the excitement wasn't quite there (and I was reading Six Of Crows at the time), but every time I went back in I was glad I did.

It may give you a sense that, sometimes, the world really does make sense, and it will make history seem just a little bit smaller and more closely intertwined. ( )
  AdioRadley | Jan 21, 2024 |
Some fascinating histories, plus a strong underlying theory on how we get to these "Big Ideas". ( )
  BBrookes | Dec 5, 2023 |
Like James Burke, whose “Connections” series ran on BBC and PBS in the late 1970s, Steven Johnson is interested in how one thing leads to another. Ideas are built on other ideas, often in surprising ways.

Johnson narrated his own BBC and PBS series, and the book based on that series, “How We Got to Now,” was published in 2014. Easier to follow than Burke, Johnson concentrates on six areas of discovery: glass, cold, sound, clean, time and light.
The discovery of glass, by accident, led to windows, lenses, fiberglass and eventually modern electronics. "The World Wide Web is woven together out of threads of glass," he writes.

As for cold, for many centuries nobody gave any thought to creating artificial cold, although artificial heat in the form of fire had been around for a long time. But then they started transporting ice in ships, which led to ice boxes, refrigerators, frozen food and air conditioning.

Discoveries lead in unexpected directions, Johnson points out. Because of air conditioning, population centers in the United States have moved south, from New York, Chicago and Detroit to Houston, Los Angeles and Miami. Telephones made skyscrapers possible. Because of barcodes, big stores like Walmart, Lowes and Target came to be.

We celebrate inventors like Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell as if their genius was unique. Yet if they hadn't done what they did, somebody else would have. And in many cases somebody else did but never got the credit. Truly unique ideas are rare. ( )
  hardlyhardy | Nov 11, 2023 |
Fantastic! ( )
  SandyRedding | Jul 4, 2023 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 47 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
While we appreciate it in the abstract, few of us pause to grasp the miracles of modern life, from artificial light to air conditioning, as Steven Johnson puts it in the excellent How We Got to Now: Six Innovations That Made the Modern World, “how amazing it is that we drink water from a tap and never once worry about dying forty-eight hours later from cholera.” Understanding how these everyday marvels first came to be, then came to be taken for granted, not only allows us to see our familiar world with new eyes — something we are wired not to do — but also lets us appreciate the remarkable creative lineage behind even the most mundane of technologies underpinning modern life.
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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 volume, 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. "--

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