Where Good Ideas Come From

Overview

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 ...

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Overview

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.

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What People Are Saying

From the Publisher
“[A] rich, integrated and often sparkling book.  Mr. Johnson, who knows a thing or two about the history of science, is a first-rate storyteller.”—The New York Times

“A vision of innovation and ideas that is resolutely social, dynamic and material…Fluidly written, entertaining and smart without being arcane.”—Los Angeles Times

“A magical mystery tour of the history and architecture of innovation.”—The Oregonian

“A rapid-fire tour of ‘spaces’ large, small, mental, physical, and otherwise… Where Good Ideas Come From may be the ultimate distillation of his thinking on these issues… One admires the intellectual athleticism of Johnson’s maneuvers here.”—Boston Globe

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781594485381
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 10/4/2011
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 103,518
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Steven Johnson

Steven Johnson is the bestselling author of Future Perfect, Where Good Ideas Come From, The Invention of Air, The Ghost Map, and Everything Bad is Good for You, and is the editor of The Innovator's Cookbook. He is the founder of a variety of influential websites and writes for Time, WiredThe New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. He lives in Marin County, California, with his wife and three sons.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2012

    Great Read. Fantastic Conclusion.

    Great exploration of what has driven innovation over the past 500 or so years. As a scientist and innovator, I've collected similar anecdotal evidence that pointed toward these conclusions, but Steven Johnson has done the difficult work of actually collecting the data and taking a look at the numbers from an objective perspective. The associated back stories of major innovations through history are entertaining and informative.

    Well written in an approachable style that is informative to experienced scientists and general readers alike.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 4, 2010

    Excellent Explanation of Innovation!

    Johnson examines seven types of innovation. While I've only made my way through three of them (adjacent possible, liquid networks, and slow hunch), I've already read enough of this book to rate it and to recommend it to others. This author examines the common themes behind various innovations while also providing examples. From these themes and examples, prospective innovators can become more conscious of how innovation works, which for me has meant virtually endless inspiration. For the ideas it has inspired in me, I'm rating it five stars. I'd recommend it to anyone who's ever had bursts of inspiration and wondered why they haven't been able to replicate those circumstances, or anyone who wants to innovate at all.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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