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Where Good Ideas Come from: The Natural History of Innovation

Steven Johnson

Johnson addresses an urgent and universal question: What sparks the flash of brilliance? How does groundbreaking innovation happen? He provides the complete, exciting, and encouraging story of how the ideas are born that push careers, lives, society, and culture forward.

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Book Information

Publisher: Riverhead Books
Publish Date: 10/04/2011
Pages: 352
ISBN-13: 9781594485381
ISBN-10: 1594485380
Language: English

What We're Saying

December 28, 2010

I had the incredible pleasure of interviewing Steven Johnson, author of Where Good Ideas Come From (among many other books). We spoke about patterns among the individuals featured in the book, what an organization created to build on the premise of the book would like, and Bill Gates' reading vacation. What's fascinating about Where Good Ideas Come From is the application of the research to your own pursuit of creativity and innovation and that of your organization. READ FULL DESCRIPTION

November 04, 2010

Amazon's Best of 2010

By 800-CEO-READ

Amazon has announced their Best of 2010 list, and a business book cracked the top 10 overall choices. Michael Lewis's The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine barely did so, coming in at number 10. (Two other books in the top ten that may appeal to nonfiction readers are The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot and The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson, which came in at numbers one and five respectively. READ FULL DESCRIPTION

October 06, 2010

In 1997, Sebastian Junger wrote a great book called The Perfect Storm. The phrase, “a perfect storm” is used when multiple things come together to create an extraordinary experience. That thought fleeted through my mind last night as I sat reading Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom, because, including Freedom, I’m actually reading three brilliant books in three rather different genres. READ FULL DESCRIPTION

October 15, 2010

Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation by Steven Johnson, Riverhead Books, 326 Pages, $26. 95, Hardcover, October 2010, ISBN 9781594487712 Steven Johnson has written a brilliant analysis of creativity and innovation in his new book, Where Good Ideas Come From. It is no coincidence that this natural history opens with a story about Darwin, the most famous studier of origins. READ FULL DESCRIPTION

September 12, 2014

Not many writers can craft an engaging 250 page book around seemingly mundane subjects such as glass and freezing, but Steven Johnson can. READ FULL DESCRIPTION

December 28, 2010

Business book expert (and former president of 800-CEO-READ) Todd Sattersten has picked his top 10 business books of the year. We agree heartily with his list--a mix of big idea books and practical methodology--and think that you can't go wrong choosing any of these fine books as a blueprint for your business goals in 2011. Todd's Top 10: Drive by Dan Pink Switch by Chip and Dan Heath Linchpin by Seth Godin Rafi Mohammed's The 1% Windfall William Poundstone's Priceless Youngme Moon: Different Lisa Gansky: The Mesh The Big Short by Michael Lewis Steven Johnson: Where Good Ideas Come From Gamestorming: by Dave Gray, Sunni Brown, and James Macanufo Click over to Todd's blog to read more about each of his picks. READ FULL DESCRIPTION

December 08, 2010

Inc. com offers a wealth of information for business people, particularly small business owners. While many media outlets make end of year lists, Inc's list is particularly geared toward this group of readers. READ FULL DESCRIPTION

December 02, 2010

The Economist is surely one of the best, if not the best, weekly publications running. Oddly, though, considering its title, it put only three books in the economics & business category of this year's "page turners"—while there are ten in politics & current affairs and eight in history. I guess that's not too odd, considering this is coming from a magazine that calls itself a newspaper, a newspaper that almost never carries a byline on its articles and essays. READ FULL DESCRIPTION

November 24, 2010

strategy + business's "best of" list is always a special treat—in large part because it's never just a list, but a series of essays. The magazine gathers together a different team of experts each year, and each takes the task of writing on their chosen category and the books in it. I've listed their picks below, linking to the essays at the head of each category. READ FULL DESCRIPTION

September 30, 2010

Where Good Ideas Come From

By 800-CEO-READ

Steven Johnson has a new book coming out in October called Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation. Not only does it report on much of the innovation that has occurred over time, it focuses heavily on the process. We all have ideas. READ FULL DESCRIPTION

August 29, 2011

When you booted up Windows 95, a man named Brian Peter George St. John le Baptiste de la Salle Eno made that experience more remarkable and memorable. He made the little league game at the end of the movie Traffic seem profound and timeless—a gentle, reassuring reminder that the universe is stitched together of individual, seemingly mundane moments. READ FULL DESCRIPTION

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From the New York Times bestselling author of How We Got To Now and Farsighted 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 applicable approaches and commonalities that seem to appear at moments of originality. Where Good Ideas Come From gives us both an important new understanding of the history of innovation and a set of useful strategies for cultivating our own creative breakthroughs.

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