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Look out for Johnson’s new book, Wonderland, now on sale. The printing press, the pencil, the flush toilet, the battery--these are all great ideas. But where do they come from? What kind of environment breeds them? What sparks the flash of brilliance? How do we generate the breakthrough technologies that push forward our lives, our society, our culture? Steven Johnson's answers are revelatory as he identifies the seven key patterns behind genuine innovation, and traces them across time and disciplines. From Darwin and Freud to the halls of Google and Apple, Johnson investigates the innovation hubs throughout modern time and pulls out the approaches and commonalities that seem to appear at moments of originality.
FROM THE INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLING AUTHOR 'Exhilarating . . . An entirely new way of looking at almost everything' GUARDIAN Where do good ideas come from? And what do we need to know and do to have more of them? Here Steven Johnson identifies the seven key principles of innovation, including: A slow hunch can be much more valuable than a Eureka moment The connected 'hive mind' is smarter than the lone thinker Where you think matters just as much as what you're thinking The best ideas come from building on the ideas and inventions of others From the Renaissance to satellites, medical breakthroughs to social media, Charles Darwin to Marconi, Steven Johnson shows how, by recognizing where and how patterns of creativity occur, we can all discover the secrets of inspiration. 'A huge diversity of bright ideas' FINANCIAL TIMES 'Johnson finds new and original things to say about the nature of innovation, and the different forms it can take' ECONOMIST, BOOKS OF THE YEAR 'An enthralling work full of counter-intuitive insights' DAILY MAIL
Where do good ideas come from? And what do we need to know and do to have more of them? In Where Good Ideas Come From, Steven Johnson, one of our most innovative popular thinkers, explores the secrets of inspiration. Steven Johnson has spent twenty years immersed in creative industries, was active at the dawn of the internet and has a unique perspective that draws on his fluency in fields ranging from neurobiology to new media. Why have cities historically been such hubs of innovation? What do the printing press and Apple have in common? And what does this have to do with the creation and evolution of life itself? Johnson presents the answers to these questions and more in his infectious, culturally omnivoracious style, using examples from thinkers in a range of disciplines - from Charles Darwin to Tim Berners-Lee - to provide the complete, exciting, and encouraging story of inspiration. He identifies the five key principles to the genesis of great ideas, from the cultivation of hunches to the importance of connectivity and how best to make use of new technologies. Most exhilarating is his conclusion: with today's tools and environment, radical innovation is extraordinarily accessible to those who know how to cultivate it. By recognizing where and how patterns of creativity occur - whether within a school, a software platform or a social movement - he shows how we can make more of our ideas good ones.
From the New York Times bestselling author of How We Got To Now and Farsighted Forget everything you’ve ever read about the age of dumbed-down, instant-gratification culture. In this provocative, unfailingly intelligent, thoroughly researched, and surprisingly convincing big idea book, Steven Johnson draws from fields as diverse as neuroscience, economics, and media theory to argue that the pop culture we soak in every day—from Lord of the Rings to Grand Theft Auto to The Simpsons—has been growing more sophisticated with each passing year, and, far from rotting our brains, is actually posing new cognitive challenges that are actually making our minds measurably sharper. After reading Everything Bad is Good for You, you will never regard the glow of the video game or television screen the same way again. With a new afterword by the author.
Look out for Johnson’s new book, Wonderland, now on sale. Steven Johnson, author of Where Good Ideas Come From, Emergence, Everything Bad is Good for You, Mind Wide Open and Ghost Map, and an acknowledged bestselling leader on the subject of innovation, gathers - for a foundational text on the subject of innovation - essays, interviews, and cutting-edge insights by such exciting field leaders as Peter Drucker, Richard Florida, Eric Von Hippel, Dean Keith Simonton, Arthur Koestler, John Seely Brown, and Marshall Berman. Johnson also provides new material from Marisa Mayer of Google, Twitter's Biz Stone and Jack Dorsey, and Ray Ozzie, Microsoft's former Chief Software Architect. With additional commentary by Johnson himself, this book reveals the innovation found in a wide range of fields, including science, technology, energy, transportation, education, art, and sociology, making it vital, fresh, and fascinating reading for our time, and for the future.
Noah Cross, Norma Desmond, Norman Bates, Harry Lime - these are a few of nearly a hundred names that inhabit the mind of the narrator as he starts to compose short biographies of some of the most famous characters in the history of film noir. He sketches in whole lives, lives as intense as the dreams put up on the screen. Then these characters start to meet each other outside the films as if they were real people with real needs and passions. The book is becoming a novel. The names and faces are familiar to us - Jake Gittes from Chinatown, Laura Hunt and Waldo Lydecker from Laura Rick and Ilsa from Casablanca - but is it true that Noah Cross and Norma Desmond were lovers in the twenties, that she and Joe Gillis had a son who grew up to be Julian Kay in American Gigolo? For the narrator is not merely the author. Married to the sister of Laura Hunt, he has a mission to carry out, a lost family link to find, a thread to pull so that nearly all these disparate characters come together to form a kind of society. Suspects is the most inspired of commentaries on film noir and the forms of Hollywood story-telling. It is in its way a biographical dictionary, but it is also a dazzlingly original work of fiction, so full of America, of an old man's dread of loss and failure, and of a simultaneous love and rage for these movies that you may find its impossible world as real and as touching as any you have ever inhabited. Ultimately an examination on how movies affect the way we think and how film not only shapes our perceptions and our memories but in some ways comes to stand in for them, Suspects can be read as an unsettling examination of identity and the construction of self through the medium of narratives, or simply as a fascinating take on movie fandom. Either way, it's fabulous.
BRILLIANTLY EXPLORING TODAY'S CUTTING-EDGE BRAIN RESEARCH, MIND WIDE OPEN IS AN UNPRECEDENTED JOURNEY INTO THE ESSENCE OF HUMAN PERSONALITY, ALLOWING READERS TO UNDERSTAND THEMSELVES AND THE PEOPLE IN THEIR LIVES AS NEVER BEFORE. Using a mix of experiential reportage, personal storytelling, and fresh scientific discovery, Steven Johnson describes how the brain works -- its chemicals, structures, and subroutines -- and how these systems connect to the day-to-day realities of individual lives. For a hundred years, he says, many of us have assumed that the most powerful route to self-knowledge took the form of lying on a couch, talking about our childhoods. The possibility entertained in this book is that you can follow another path, in which learning about the brain's mechanics can widen one's self-awareness as powerfully as any therapy or meditation or drug. In Mind Wide Open, Johnson embarks on this path as his own test subject, participating in a battery of attention tests, learning to control video games by altering his brain waves, scanning his own brain with a $2 million fMRI machine, all in search of a modern answer to the oldest of questions: who am I? Along the way, Johnson explores how we "read" other people, how the brain processes frightening events (and how we might rid ourselves of the scars those memories leave), what the neurochemistry is behind love and sex, what it means that our brains are teeming with powerful chemicals closely related to recreational drugs, why music moves us to tears, and where our breakthrough ideas come from. Johnson's clear, engaging explanation of the physical functions of the brain reveals not only the broad strokes of our aptitudes and fears, our skills and weaknesses and desires, but also the momentary brain phenomena that a whole human life comprises. Why, when hearing a tale of woe, do we sometimes smile inappropriately, even if we don't want to? Why are some of us so bad at remembering phone numbers but brilliant at recognizing faces? Why does depression make us feel stupid? To read Mind Wide Open is to rethink family histories, individual fates, and the very nature of the self, and to see that brain science is now personally transformative -- a valuable tool for better relationships and better living.
From composer, musician, philanthropist--and son of Warren Buffett--comes a warm, wise, and inspirational book that expounds on the strong set of values given to him by his trusting and broadminded mother, his industrious and talented father, and the many life teachers he has met along the way.
From the bestselling author of How We Got To Now, The Ghost Map and Farsighted, a new national bestseller: the “exhilarating”( Los Angeles Times) story of Joseph Priestley, “a founding father long forgotten”(Newsweek) and a brilliant man who embodied the relationship between science, religion, and politics for America's Founding Fathers. In The Invention of Air, national bestselling author Steven Johnson tells the fascinating story of Joseph Priestley—scientist and theologian, protégé of Benjamin Franklin, friend of Thomas Jefferson—an eighteenth-century radical thinker who played pivotal roles in the invention of ecosystem science, the discovery of oxygen, the uses of oxygen, scientific experimentation, the founding of the Unitarian Church, and the intellectual development of the United States. As he did so masterfully in The Ghost Map, Steven Johnson uses a dramatic historical story to explore themes that have long engaged him: innovative strategies, intellectual models, and the way new ideas emerge and spread, and the environments that foster these breakthroughs.
Look out for Johnson’s new book, Wonderland, now on sale. Combining the deft social analysis of Where Good Ideas Come From with the optimistic arguments of Everything Bad Is Good For You, New York Times bestselling author Steven Johnson’s Future Perfect makes the case that a new model of political change is on the rise, transforming everything from local governments to classrooms, from protest movements to health care. Johnson paints a compelling portrait of this new political worldview -- influenced by the success and interconnectedness of the Internet, by peer networks, but not dependent on high-tech solutions -- that breaks with the conventional categories of liberal or conservative, public vs. private thinking. With his acclaimed gift for multi-disciplinary storytelling and big idea books, Johnson explores this new vision of progress through a series of fascinating narratives: from the “miracle on the Hudson” to the planning of the French railway system; from the battle against malnutrition in Vietnam to a mysterious outbreak of strange smells in downtown Manhattan; from underground music video artists to the invention of the Internet itself. At a time when the conventional wisdom holds that the political system is hopelessly gridlocked with old ideas, Future Perfect makes the timely and inspiring case that progress is still possible, and that innovative strategies are on the rise. This is a hopeful, affirmative outlook for the future, from one of the most brilliant and inspiring visionaries of contemporary culture.