Connections

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Overview

  • How did the popularity of underwear in the twelfth century lead to the invention of the printing press?
  • How did the waterwheel evolve into the computer?
  • How did the arrival of the cannon lead eventually to the development of movies?

In this highly acclaimed and bestselling book, James Burke brilliantly examines the ideas, inventions, and coincidences that have culminated in the major technological advances of today. With dazzling insight, he untangles the pattern of interconnecting events: the accidents of time, circumstance, and place that gave rise to the major inventions of the world.

Says Burke, "My purpose is to acquaint the reader with some of the forces that have caused change in the past, looking in particular at eight innovations — the computer, the production line, telecommunications, the airplane, the atomic bomb, plastics, the guided rocket, and television — which may be most influential in structuring our own futures....Each one of these is part of a family of similar devices, and is the result of a sequence of closely connected events extending from the ancient world until the present day. Each has enormous potential for humankind's benefit — or destruction."

Based on a popular TV documentary series, Connections is a fascinating scientific detective story of the inventions that changed history — and the surprising links that connect them.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"James Burke surely has one of the most intriguing minds in the western world."

The Washington Post

"Lively and important."

Library Journal

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780743299558
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publication date: 7/3/2007
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 144,927
  • Product dimensions: 7.30 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

James Burke is the author of several bestselling books, including Circles, American Connections, and The Knowledge Web. He is a monthly columnist at Scientific American and also serves as director, writer, and host of the television series Connections 3 on The Learning Channel. He is the founder of the James Burke Institute for Innovation in Education, whose flagship project, the Knowledge Web, an interactive website, was recently launched. He lives in London.

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Table of Contents

Author's Acknowledgements
Introduction
1 The Trigger Effect 1
2 The Road from Alexandria 15
3 Distant Voices 45
4 Faith in Numbers 81
5 The Wheel of Fortune 115
6 Fuel to the Flame 153
7 The Long Chain 185
8 Eat, Drink and Be Merry 215
9 Lighting the Way 249
10 Inventing the Future 287
Further Reading 296
Index 299
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 3 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 23, 2013

    My fourth copy

    I'm going to stop loaning this book to other people because they don't want to give it back. I remember when the TV series aired on PBS, writer Ray Bradbury said that "Connections" was the best TV series ever. I agree. I later purchased the series on DVD, and received the second and third as requested gifts. I love ideas and Burke's linkages are so surprising. I don't want to even think about how many books I've ended up reading because of some surprising tidbit he includes. One of my students asked me one time that if I didn't have my husband's company to enjoy, who would I most like to spend time with? I answered "James Burke." I think my explanation was a disappointment, JB not being a rock star. He is, in a way, a rock star among lovers of ideas. Enjoy the book. It's fascinating.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2013

    Recommended

    This is a great read for history fans or anyone interested in how things came to be. Most people think that modern technology came about as a result of meticulously thought out and planned inventions. When in fact, they were the result of a series of flubbed attempts by people we have never heard of. Fascinating.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews

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