How We Got to Now

  • by Steven Johnson
  • Narrated by George Newbern
  • 6 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

From the New York Times best-selling 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 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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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

cool title, unexceptional content

Good effort at tying a few conceptual frameworks together. In the end, not much there.
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- Andy

some interesing history

This is another of many recent books that chronicle how inventions changed our lives... I don't really feel this one justifies the title of "how we got to now" ... maybe "a few of the things that got us to now" would be more like it. It has some history that I hadn't heard before, but a little more of stuff I had heard before. It's an interesting listen, I don't regret it, but it didn't blow me away.
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- Max

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-30-2014
  • Publisher: Penguin Audio