- Paperback: 344 pages
- Publisher: Riverhead Books; Reprint edition (October 4, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1594485380
- ISBN-13: 978-1594485381
- Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (193 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,692 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation Reprint Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
Johnson--writer, Web guru, and bestselling author of Everything Bad Is Good for You--delivers a sweeping look at innovation spanning nearly the whole of human history. What sparks our great ideas? Johnson breaks down the cultural, biological, and environmental fuel into seven broad "patterns," each packed with diverse, at times almost disjointed anecdotes that Johnson synthesizes into a recipe for success. A section on "slow hunches" captivates, taking readers from the FBI's work on 9/11 to Google's development of Google News. A section on error takes us through a litany of accidental innovations, including the one that eventually led to the invention of the computer. "Being right keeps you in place," Johnson reminds us. "eing wrong forces us to explore." It's eye-opening stuff--although it does require an investment from the reader. But as fans of the author's previous work know, an investment in Johnson pays off, and those who stick with the author as he meanders through an occasional intellectual digression will come away enlightened and entertained, and with something perhaps even more useful--how to recognize the conditions that could spark their own creativity and innovation. Another mind-opening work from the author of Mind Wide Open. (Oct.) (c)
Copyright © PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
The figure of the lone genius may captivate us, but we intuit that such geniuses’ creations don’t materialize in a vacuum. Johnson supported the intuition in his biography of eighteenth-century scientist Joseph Priestly (The Invention of Air, 2009) and here explores it from different angles using sets of anecdotes from science and art that underscore some social or informational interaction by an inventor or artist. Assuring readers that he is not engaged in “intellectual tourism,” Johnson recurs to the real-world effects of individuals and organizations operating in a fertile information environment. Citing the development of the Internet and its profusion of applications such as Twitter, the author ascribes its success to “exaptation” and “stacked platforms.” By which he means that curious people used extant stuff or ideas to produce a new bricolage and did so because of their immersion in open networks. With his own lively application of stories about Darwin’s theory of atolls, the failure to thwart 9/11, and musician Miles Davis, Johnson connects with readers promoting hunches and serendipity in themselves and their organizations. --Gilbert Taylor --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top customer reviews
I would definitely recommend this book to wantrapreneurs and entrepreneurs alike because it may teach the entrepreneur to keep persisting and to remain patient while doing so, and the wantrapreneur may finally receive that last nudge towards entrepreneurship from this book.
Overall, the book was written at a very high level when it comes to Where Good Ideas Come From, which was an interesting approach with examples thrown in for good measure. I am very glad I received and read this book, even if it wasn't what I expected.
tl;dr An interesting read on the general nature of ideas, not case studies
He is not shy in contrasting this shared knowledge with the "silo-building" of the FBI that continues to fail our country by isolating key information from other agencies like the CIA. I remember reading after 9/11 that the failures of sharing vital information of national security was to be fixed by the creation of Homeland Security. Then the bombing at the Boston Marathon occurs and the investigation shows "silo-building" was again in play between the the CIA and the FBI,
At least the folks in the private sector understand the value of creative thinking.
I rated Steven Johnson`s other book- How we got to here 5 star. But this one is disappointing.
The lessons drawn from the past can be applied today and tomorrow. They include: 1) the notion that ideas are not a single thing, but more like a swarm, 2) good ideas are not conjured up out of thin air, but are built out of a collection of existing parts, the composition of which expands over time, 3) the way we collect, store, and use information can make us more creative and innovative, 4) pay attention to our hunches and cultivate them 5) pay attention to memories and dreams, they represent the creative chaos of our minds, 6) making mistakes forces us to explore, and 7) borrow, recycle, reinvent, and build upon the ideas of others.
The book reads more like a mystery as the author leads the reader through his analysis of events from the past. I particularly like the balanced view he provides. About the time you are ready to accept his premise, he challenges the very view that he has espoused. In that way, it is an energizing experience to follow his flow of thought. By the end of the book, it is ironic (or is it?) that he has immersed you into the very patterns that he described.
With the topic of innovation being so heavily in vogue today, I recommend this book to gain a fresh perspective from the annals of its history.