Paperback (Print)
Rent from
(Save 67%)
Est. Return Date: 07/23/2015
Buy Used
Buy Used from
(Save 41%)
Item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging.
Condition: Used – Good details
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $8.10
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 68%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (17) from $8.10   
  • New (6) from $14.44   
  • Used (11) from $8.10   


  • 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.

Read More Show Less

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

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780743299558
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publication date: 7/3/2007
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 182,904
  • 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.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Author's Acknowledgements
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
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 5 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 5 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.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2013


    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 17, 2014


    Takes a deep breath. "I know this seems mousebrained, but I think we may have been from the same Clan." She admittes. "I mean, I swear i know you from somewhere! But I dont know where. My clan was at battle, too. I ran off to get help but tripped on some pebbles and lost my memory. You said you ran from a battle, too. I think we may be linked." She finishes.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2014


    Walks in through abusj. I am jere she neows

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)