How We Got to Now: Six Innovations That Made the Modern World

Unabridged Audiobook

Written By: Steven Johnson

Narrated By: George Newbern

Publisher: Penguin Audio

Date: September 2014

Duration: 6 hours 12 minutes


Look out for Johnson’s new book, Wonderland, on sale November 15, 2016.

From the New York Times–bestselling author of Where Good Ideas Come From and Everything Bad Is Good for You, a new look at the power and legacy of great ideas.
In this illustrated history, Steven Johnson explores the history of innovation over centuries, tracing facets of modern life (refrigeration, clocks, and eyeglass lenses, to name a few) from their creation by hobbyists, amateurs, and entrepreneurs to their unintended historical consequences. Filled with surprising stories of accidental genius and brilliant mistakes—from the French publisher who invented the phonograph before Edison but forgot to include playback, to the Hollywood movie star who helped invent the technology behind Wi-Fi and Bluetooth—How We Got to Now investigates the secret history behind the everyday objects of contemporary life.

In his trademark style, Johnson examines unexpected connections between seemingly unrelated fields: how the invention of air-conditioning enabled the largest migration of human beings in the history of the species—to cities such as Dubai or Phoenix, which would otherwise be virtually uninhabitable; how pendulum clocks helped trigger the industrial revolution; and how clean water made it possible to manufacture computer chips. Accompanied by a major six-part television series on PBS, How We Got to Now is the story of collaborative networks building the modern world, written in the provocative, informative, and engaging style that has earned Johnson fans around the globe.


  • nab6215

    An interesting hypothesis that Steven Johnson goes to prove that a is related to z given that a is related to b, b is related to c, c is related to d, and so on to y is related to z. It's a bit simplistic. Also it irritates me that creationists are assumed to believe that the earth was created 10,000 years ago according to the genealogies in the Old Testament. Grrrr. Maybe It does work, but at any rate the rest of the research is often thrown out. I see the spark of God in the growth of civilization -- not just evolution.

How We Got to Now: Six Innovations That Made the Modern World

by Steven Johnson

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How We Got to Now: Six Innovations That Made the Modern World, Steven Johnson