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Really Long Title for a Really Good Book December 30, 2011

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Books, Brilliant words.

Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation by Steven Johnson is a nifty dive into the waters of the history and theory of innovation.  That said, it’s my favorite kind of history: like James Burke’s Connections , it illuminates the way connections of various kinds foster, feed and foment innovation, invention and disruption. He digests several popular tropes regarding the sources of innovation and ends up comparing them all in a rational sort of way, with the idea of truly understanding what circumstances foster the greatest creativity (never mind what the tropes themselves say—what’s true and demonstrable?  Show me the numbers!).

This task cannot be properly conducted without a fair number of historical anecdotes, which are nearly as diverting as the premise of the book itself.  Indeed, this book is nothing if not a delightful history lesson, with dissection of the main influences on Darwin, DeForest, Gutenberg and Berners-Lee.  All are very, very relevant, as you will see upon reading this book, I swear.  Who would have thought that tracking Sputnik would lead to lunch decisions fifty years later (if that teaser doesn’t make you want to read this book, I may stop writing reviews.  Oh, who am I kidding.  I love the sound of my own voice)?

At the moment, Amazon shows the Audible version as five cents cheaper than the hardback, a good value by my lights.  The reader makes it seem like an actual conversation with someone in the room, which is sort of hard for history books, and worth it as far as I can see.


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