How We Got to Now

Six Innovations That Made the Modern World

How We Got to Now

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.

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

Six Innovations That Made the Modern World

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

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.

The New Leadership Challenge

Creating the Future of Nursing

The New Leadership Challenge

Whatever your role, practice or educational environment, here are the tools and techniques you can use to realize your leadership potential, advance your career, and contribute to the future of nursing. Thoroughly revised and updated throughout, the 5th Edition features a new chapter, The Phenomenon of Leadership: Classic/Historical and Contemporary Leadership Theories, as well as expanded coverage of the Institute of Medicine initiatives and how they relate to leadership that ensures high-quality and safer care in our complex, chaotic health-care delivery systems. You’ll also find more critical-thinking exercises in each chapter

The Best Technology Writing 2009

The Best Technology Writing 2009

In his Introduction to this beautifully curated collection of essays, Steven Johnson heralds the arrival of a new generation of technology writing. Whether it is Nicholas Carr worrying that Google is making us stupid, Dana Goodyear chronicling the rise of the cellphone novel, Andrew Sullivan explaining the rewards of blogging, Dalton Conley lamenting the sprawling nature of work in the information age, or Clay Shirky marveling at the 'cognitive surplus' unleashed by the decline of the TV sitcom, this new generation does not waste time speculating about the future. Its attitude seems to be: Who needs the future? The present is plenty interesting on its own. Packed with sparkling essays culled from print and online publications, The Best Technology Writing 2009 announces a fresh brand of technology journalism, deeply immersed in the fascinating complexity of digital life.

Saturday Review

Politics, Literature, Science and Art

Saturday Review


Off Armageddon Reef

Off Armageddon Reef

Here is the saga of humanity reduced, by an implacable alien enemy, to inhabiting a single colony on the distant world of Safehold. To avoid drawing the attention of the enemy through the busy signals of an industrial civilization, the human rulers of Safehold have taken an extraordinary measure. With mind control and hidden high technology, they have built a religion in which every Safeholdian believes, one designed to keep Safehold society medieval and unnoticed forever. After disagreement about the wisdom and justice of this course, the dissenters were ruthlessly eliminated. Centuries have passed and now, in a hidden chamber on Safehold, an android initiates a rebirth set in motion centuries before. A rebirth that will provide the only remaining humans with their last chance to learn the truth and to rejoin the universe. It is destined to be a tremendous undertaking, unfolding a story of deception and ignorance, freedom and tyranny, and the liberating power of the truth. 'Nobody does space opera better than Weber' Publishers Weekly

Mind Wide Open

One Man's Journey Into the Workings of His Brain

Mind Wide Open

A journey into the mind, showing the reader exactly how our minds work and how we can use this information to comprehend our behaviour. The author undertakes a variety of weird experiments to discover the reasons behind his own habits - such as making inappropriate jokes at the wrong time.