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How We Got to Now: Six Innovations That Made the Modern World Paperback – Illustrated, September 22, 2015

4.5 out of 5 stars 1,076 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for Steven Johnson

 “A great science writer.” — Bill Clinton, speaking at the Health Matters conference

 “Mr. Johnson, who knows a thing or two about the history of science, is a first-rate storyteller.” — The New York Times

“You’re apt to find yourself exhilarated…Johnson is not composing an etiology of particular inventions, but doing something broader and more imaginative…I particularly like the cultural observations Johnson draws along the way…[he] has a deft and persuasive touch…[a] graceful and compelling book.” — 
The New York Times Book Review

 “Johnson is a polymath. . . .  [It’s] exhilarating to follow his unpredictable trains of thought. To explain why some ideas upend the world, he draws upon many disciplines: chemistry, social history, geography, even ecosystem science.” — Los Angeles Times

“Steven Johnson is a maven of the history of ideas...
How We Got to Now is readable, entertaining, and a challenge to any jaded sensibility that has become inured to the everyday miracles all around us.” — The Guardian

“[Johnson's] point is simple, important and well-timed: During periods of rapid innovation, there is always tumult as citizens try to make sense of it....Johnson is an engaging writer, and he takes very complicated and disparate subjects and makes their evolution understandable.”
  The Washington Post

 “Through a series of elegant books about the history of technological innovation, Steven Johnson has become one of the most persuasive advocates for the role of collaboration in innovation….Mr. Johnson's erudition can be quite gobsmacking.” – The Wall Street Journal

 “An unbelievable book…it’s an innovative way to talk about history.” — Jon Stewart

"What makes this book such a mind-expanding read is Johnson’s ability to appreciate human advancement as a vast network of influence, rather than a simple chain of one invention leading to another, and result is nothing less than a celebration of the human mind." —
The Daily Beast

“Fascinating…it’s an amazing book!” — 
CBS This Morning

 “A full three cheers for Steven Johnson. He is, by no means, the only writer we currently have in our era of technological revolution who devotes himself to innovation, invention and creativity but he is, far and away, the most readable.” — The Buffalo News 

"The reader of How We Got to Now cannot fail to be impressed by human ingenuity, including Johnson’s, in determining these often labyrinthine but staggeringly powerful developments of one thing to the next." —
San Francisco Chronicle

"A rapid but interesting tour of the history behind many of the comforts and technologies that comprise our world." — 
Christian Science Monitor

"
How We Got to Now... offers a fascinating glimpse at how a handful of basic inventions--such as the measurement of time, reliable methods of sanitation, the benefits of competent refrigeration, glassmaking and the faithful reproduction of sound--have evolved, often in surprising ways." — Shelf Awareness 

"[Johnson] writes about science and technology elegantly and accessibly, he evinces an infectious delight in his subject matter...Each chapter is full of strange and fascinating connections." — Barnes and Noble Review

"From the sanitation engineering that literally raised nineteenth-century Chicago to the 23 men who partially invented the light bulb before Thomas Edison, [
How We Got to Now] is a many-layered delight."— Nature Review

“A highly readable and fascinating account of science, invention, accident and genius that gave us the world we live in today.”
—Minneapolis Star Tribune

 

About the Author

Steven Johnson is the bestselling author of eleven books, including Where Good Ideas Come From, Wonderland, and The Ghost Map. He's the host and co-creator of the Emmy-winning PBS/BBC series How We Got To Now, and the host of the podcast American Innovations. He lives in Brooklyn and Marin County, California with his wife and three sons.

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Riverhead Books; Illustrated edition (September 22, 2015)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 320 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1594633932
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1594633935
  • Lexile measure ‏ : ‎ 1230L
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 1.3 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5.72 x 0.83 x 8.82 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,076 ratings

About the author

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Steven Johnson is the best-selling author of seven books on the intersection of science, technology and personal experience. His writings have influenced everything from the way political campaigns use the Internet, to cutting-edge ideas in urban planning, to the battle against 21st-century terrorism. In 2010, he was chosen by Prospect magazine as one of the Top Ten Brains of the Digital Future.

His latest book, Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation, was a finalist for the 800CEORead award for best business book of 2010, and was ranked as one of the year’s best books by The Economist. His book The Ghost Map was one of the ten best nonfiction books of 2006 according to Entertainment Weekly. His books have been translated into more than a dozen languages.

Steven has also co-created three influential web sites: the pioneering online magazine FEED, the Webby-Award-winning community site, Plastic.com, and most recently the hyperlocal media site outside.in, which was acquired by AOL in 2011. He serves on the advisory boards of a number of Internet-related companies, including Meetup.com, Betaworks, and Nerve.

Steven is a contributing editor to Wired magazine and is the 2009 Hearst New Media Professional-in-Residence at The Journalism School, Columbia University. He won the Newhouse School fourth annual Mirror Awards for his TIME magazine cover article titled "How Twitter Will Change the Way We Live." Steven has also written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Nation, and many other periodicals. He has appeared on many high-profile television programs, including The Charlie Rose Show, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. He lectures widely on technological, scientific, and cultural issues. He blogs at stevenberlinjohnson.com and is @stevenbjohnson on Twitter. He lives in Marin County, California with his wife and three sons.

Customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5
1,076 global ratings

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Top reviews from other countries

Jules
4.0 out of 5 stars I am all the better informed from having read it - great stuff
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 7, 2017
Barbara Lyddiatt
4.0 out of 5 stars How We Got to Now
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 27, 2015
2 people found this helpful
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Super Blue
5.0 out of 5 stars My husband is enjoying this book
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 8, 2021
Andrew Luce
4.0 out of 5 stars Wow x 3.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 18, 2015
Raccass1
5.0 out of 5 stars Arrived Promptly!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 31, 2015