How We Got To Now

Six Innovations That Made the Modern World

Steven Johnson

This is a classic history book about six innovations that Steven regards as changing the world. Those are glass, cold, sound, clean, time, and light.


The concept of the book is simple. Imagine Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species family tree where life on Earth has a humble start of some microscopic organisms, the Earth’s ecosystem diversifies thanks to intercourses between different microorganisms, making different animal families. Various individuals from those different families then at some points in the history flow, meet, intercourse, and further widen the network. You will see the same process happens in this book, but with our great inventions.


By reading this book, I think you would agree with the author (and me) in the existence of an interdependent and interconnected network of inventions strengthened along with our increasing social connections. The hummingbird effect (a part of the Chaos Theory) is significantly illustrated in this book.


For those who have never heard of the hummingbird effect, it describes chains of reactions of influence that triggers changes in unexpectedly different domains. For example, the coevolutionary symbiosis of flowers and insects led to unusual changes in the humming bird’s anatomy, which makes it the only bird being able to stably hovering while extracting nectar.


A good book with real stories of such a case.

Autumn 2020

July 16, 2020, 3:00:00 PM

3.5

science, non-fiction, history

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How We Got To Now