• How We Got to Now

  • Six Innovations That Made the Modern World
  • By: Steven Johnson
  • Narrated by: George Newbern
  • Length: 6 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 09-30-14
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Penguin Audio
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars 4.4 (1,271 ratings)

Regular price: $21.00

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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.
©2014 Steven Johnson (P)2014 Penguin Audio
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By CJFLA on 10-29-14

Really good and interesting book

Where does How We Got to Now rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This is really a very interesting book about the development of everyday life tools we take for granted (light, clean water, sound recordings, etc). The stories for each major area are extremely interesting and the narrator does an excellent job of getting the message across. If there is ever a volume two to this series I will definitely get it!

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Raleigh on 03-08-17

connect the dots

? are you fascinated by the history of science and ideas
? do you ever question the origins of the underpinnings of modern life
? do you enjoy learning about seemingly unrelated innovations

well, steven johnson has put his considerable intellect to work for you
he teases out the history of the foundations of our 21st century lives
his 6 explanations are brilliantly entertaining and incredibly insightful

glass > lenses > telescopes > printing presses > lasers
ice > refrigeration > air conditioning > living nearer the equator
cave echoes > phonograph > music (jazz) > telegraph & telephone > ultrasound

germ theory > sewers > dense urban living > clean water > swimming pools & suits
sun dial > pendulum > clock > tightly time regulated modern lives
candle > oil lamps > light bulbs > photographs > cinema

knowing the historic source of the implements of our current lives is fascinating
it's helpful to remember how most inventions are collaborative joint efforts
the diversity and interactions of cultures so often leads to the best outcome

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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