• 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
  • Release date: 09-30-14
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Penguin Audio
  • 4.4 (1,201 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

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


By DeweyLib on 08-04-15

Excellent Book

What made the experience of listening to How We Got to Now the most enjoyable?

The content of this book is fascinating! If it had been a physical book, I wouldn't have been able to put it down.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Being a non-fiction book, this question doesn't apply. I think the chapter on "Glass" was perhaps my favorite.

Which character – as performed by George Newbern – was your favorite?

n/a

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

A man spent his fortune transporting ice to the Caribbean, only to learn the people there had no idea what it was or what it could be used for. We take ice for granted, but if you've never seen it, never had a cold drink, or never eaten ice cream, then why would you buy it?

Any additional comments?

Great book! "Out of the box" subject matter!

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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