How Play Made the Modern World

Author: Steven Johnson

Publisher: Penguin

ISBN: 0399184503

Category: History

Page: 336

View: 1671

“A house of wonders itself. . . . Wonderland inspires grins and well-what-d'ya-knows” —The New York Times Book Review From the New York Times–bestselling author of How We Got to Now and Where Good Ideas Come From, a look at the world-changing innovations we made while keeping ourselves entertained. This lushly illustrated history of popular entertainment takes a long-zoom approach, contending that the pursuit of novelty and wonder is a powerful driver of world-shaping technological change. Steven Johnson argues that, throughout history, the cutting edge of innovation lies wherever people are working the hardest to keep themselves and others amused. Johnson’s storytelling is just as delightful as the inventions he describes, full of surprising stops along the journey from simple concepts to complex modern systems. He introduces us to the colorful innovators of leisure: the explorers, proprietors, showmen, and artists who changed the trajectory of history with their luxurious wares, exotic meals, taverns, gambling tables, and magic shows. In Wonderland, Johnson compellingly argues that observers of technological and social trends should be looking for clues in novel amusements. You’ll find the future wherever people are having the most fun.
Read More

How Play Made the Modern World

Author: Steven Johnson

Publisher: Penguin

ISBN: 0399184481

Category: HISTORY

Page: 322

View: 9123

This illustrated "history of popular entertainment takes along-zoom approach, contending that the pursuit of novelty and wonder is a powerful driver of world-shaping technological change. Steven Johnson argues that, throughout history, the cutting edge of innovation lies wherever people are working the hardest to keep themselves and others amused"--
Read More

How Play Made the Modern World

Author: Steven Johnson

Publisher: Macmillan

ISBN: 1760551260

Category: History

Page: 256

View: 7148

"Everyone knows the old saying "necessity is the mother of invention," but if you do a paternity test on many of the modern world's most important ideas or institutions, you will find, invariably, that leisure and play were involved in the conception as well." Most history books don't concern themselves with delight. History is the serious business of war, treaties, governments and monarchs. This is a different kind of history book. Steven Johnson argues that if you want to understand how we got to now, you have to understand pleasure and play. A staggering amount of the landscape of modern life is populated by environments and technology designed to entertain and delight us. Here history of popular entertainment, arguing that the pursuit of novelty and wonder is a powerful driver of world-shaping technological change. Throughout history, he locates the cutting edge of innovation wherever people are working the hardest to keep themselves and others amused. He introduces us to the colorful innovators of leisure: the explorers, proprietors, showmen, and artists who changed the trajectory of history with their luxurious wares, exotic meals, taverns, gambling tables, and magic shows.
Read More

Six Innovations That Made the Modern World

Author: Steven Johnson

Publisher: Penguin

ISBN: 0698154509

Category: Technology & Engineering

Page: 304

View: 9651

From the New York Times–bestselling author of Where Good Ideas Come From and Farsighted, 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.
Read More

How We Make the Decisions that Matter the Most

Author: Steven Johnson

Publisher: Hachette UK

ISBN: 1473693470

Category: Business & Economics

Page: 256

View: 8361

Plenty of books offer useful advice on how to get better at making quick-thinking, intuitive choices. But what about more consequential decisions, the ones that affect our lives for years, or centuries, to come? Our most powerful stories revolve around these kinds of decisions: where to live, whom to marry, what to believe, whether to start a company, how to end a war. Full of the beautifully crafted storytelling and novel insights that Steven Johnson's fans know to expect, Farsighted draws lessons from cognitive science, social psychology, military strategy, environmental planning, and great works of literature. Everyone thinks we are living in an age of short attention spans, but we've actually learned a lot about making long-term decisions over the past few decades. Johnson makes a compelling case for a smarter and more deliberative decision-making approach. He argues that we choose better when we break out of the myopia of single-scale thinking and develop methods for considering all the factors involved. There's no one-size-fits-all model for the important decisions that can alter the course of a life, an organization, or a civilization. But Farsighted explains how we can approach these choices more effectively, and how we can appreciate the subtle intelligence of choices that shaped our broader social history.
Read More

Your Brain and the Neuroscience of Everyday Life

Author: Steven Johnson

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

ISBN: 9780743258791

Category: Science

Page: 288

View: 8600

BRILLIANTLY EXPLORING TODAY'S CUTTING-EDGE BRAIN RESEARCH, MIND WIDE OPEN IS AN UNPRECEDENTED JOURNEY INTO THE ESSENCE OF HUMAN PERSONALITY, ALLOWING READERS TO UNDERSTAND THEMSELVES AND THE PEOPLE IN THEIR LIVES AS NEVER BEFORE. Using a mix of experiential reportage, personal storytelling, and fresh scientific discovery, Steven Johnson describes how the brain works -- its chemicals, structures, and subroutines -- and how these systems connect to the day-to-day realities of individual lives. For a hundred years, he says, many of us have assumed that the most powerful route to self-knowledge took the form of lying on a couch, talking about our childhoods. The possibility entertained in this book is that you can follow another path, in which learning about the brain's mechanics can widen one's self-awareness as powerfully as any therapy or meditation or drug. In Mind Wide Open, Johnson embarks on this path as his own test subject, participating in a battery of attention tests, learning to control video games by altering his brain waves, scanning his own brain with a $2 million fMRI machine, all in search of a modern answer to the oldest of questions: who am I? Along the way, Johnson explores how we "read" other people, how the brain processes frightening events (and how we might rid ourselves of the scars those memories leave), what the neurochemistry is behind love and sex, what it means that our brains are teeming with powerful chemicals closely related to recreational drugs, why music moves us to tears, and where our breakthrough ideas come from. Johnson's clear, engaging explanation of the physical functions of the brain reveals not only the broad strokes of our aptitudes and fears, our skills and weaknesses and desires, but also the momentary brain phenomena that a whole human life comprises. Why, when hearing a tale of woe, do we sometimes smile inappropriately, even if we don't want to? Why are some of us so bad at remembering phone numbers but brilliant at recognizing faces? Why does depression make us feel stupid? To read Mind Wide Open is to rethink family histories, individual fates, and the very nature of the self, and to see that brain science is now personally transformative -- a valuable tool for better relationships and better living.
Read More

The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software

Author: Steven Johnson

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

ISBN: 0743218264

Category: Science

Page: 288

View: 9427

In the tradition of Being Digital and The Tipping Point, Steven Johnson, acclaimed as a "cultural critic with a poet's heart" (The Village Voice), takes readers on an eye-opening journey through emergence theory and its applications. A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK A VOICE LITERARY SUPPLEMENT TOP 25 FAVORITE BOOKS OF THE YEAR AN ESQUIRE MAGAZINE BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR Explaining why the whole is sometimes smarter than the sum of its parts, Johnson presents surprising examples of feedback, self-organization, and adaptive learning. How does a lively neighborhood evolve out of a disconnected group of shopkeepers, bartenders, and real estate developers? How does a media event take on a life of its own? How will new software programs create an intelligent World Wide Web? In the coming years, the power of self-organization -- coupled with the connective technology of the Internet -- will usher in a revolution every bit as significant as the introduction of electricity. Provocative and engaging, Emergence puts you on the front lines of this exciting upheaval in science and thought.
Read More

Materials and Dematerialization

Author: Vaclav Smil

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 1118697960

Category: Technology & Engineering

Page: 248

View: 6462

How much further should the affluent world push its material consumption? Does relative dematerialization lead to absolute decline in demand for materials? These and many other questions are discussed and answered in Making the Modern World: Materials and Dematerialization. Over the course of time, the modern world has become dependent on unprecedented flows of materials. Now even the most efficient production processes and the highest practical rates of recycling may not be enough to result in dematerialization rates that would be high enough to negate the rising demand for materials generated by continuing population growth and rising standards of living. This book explores the costs of this dependence and the potential for substantial dematerialization of modern economies. Making the Modern World: Materials and Dematerialization considers the principal materials used throughout history, from wood and stone, through to metals, alloys, plastics and silicon, describing their extraction and production as well as their dominant applications. The evolving productivities of material extraction, processing, synthesis, finishing and distribution, and the energy costs and environmental impact of rising material consumption are examined in detail. The book concludes with an outlook for the future, discussing the prospects for dematerialization and potential constrains on materials. This interdisciplinary text provides useful perspectives for readers with backgrounds including resource economics, environmental studies, energy analysis, mineral geology, industrial organization, manufacturing and material science.
Read More

A Year in the Life of an American High School

Author: Michael Bamberger

Publisher: Open Road + Grove/Atlantic

ISBN: 1555845983

Category: Social Science

Page: 224

View: 8199

Pennsbury High School would be like any other were it not for one thing: its prom. Its spring dance is considered to be one of this country's best legacies. Wonderland is the inspiring true story of a dance floor and the kids who fill it: a tale of hope, sex, love, and loss. For one year, the students, parents, and teachers of Pennsbury invited Michael Bamberger, a senior writer for Sports Illustrated, into their classrooms, their homes, their parties, and their dreams. He discovered an extraordinary and disparate group of everyday teenagers whose stories were touching, odd, funny, and beautiful. In Wonderland, lives intersect in unpredictable ways and are never what they appear to be. The star quarterback hides the pain of not knowing where his father is. A student with cerebral palsy is desperate to learn to tie Eagle Scout knots, despite a useless left hand. And then there is Bob Costa, who dreams of bringing glory to the school by convincing John Mayer, whose song "Your Body Is a Wonderland" is an anthem for the students, to perform at the prom. Critically acclaimed in hardcover, Wonderland is published in paperback with a new afterword by the author.
Read More

Author: Stacey D'Erasmo

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

ISBN: 0544074815

Category: Fiction

Page: 242

View: 4362

Disappearing for years after a meteoric rise in the indie rock scene, powerhouse singer Anna sells the last of her resources to finance a comeback album and reclaim an ultimate transcendent moment on the stage. By the award-winning author of The Art of Intimacy. 40,000 first printing.
Read More

How Today's Popular Culture is Actually Making Us Smarter

Author: Steven Johnson

Publisher: Penguin

ISBN: 9781594481949

Category: Psychology

Page: 254

View: 8464

Discusses the intellectual benefits of elements from modern popular culture, including video games and reality TV programs.
Read More

Author: Jack Weatherford

Publisher: Broadway Books

ISBN: 0307237818

Category: History

Page: 352

View: 677

The name Genghis Khan often conjures the image of a relentless, bloodthirsty barbarian on horseback leading a ruthless band of nomadic warriors in the looting of the civilized world. But the surprising truth is that Genghis Khan was a visionary leader whose conquests joined backward Europe with the flourishing cultures of Asia to trigger a global awakening, an unprecedented explosion of technologies, trade, and ideas. In Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World, Jack Weatherford, the only Western scholar ever to be allowed into the Mongols’ “Great Taboo”—Genghis Khan’s homeland and forbidden burial site—tracks the astonishing story of Genghis Khan and his descendants, and their conquest and transformation of the world. Fighting his way to power on the remote steppes of Mongolia, Genghis Khan developed revolutionary military strategies and weaponry that emphasized rapid attack and siege warfare, which he then brilliantly used to overwhelm opposing armies in Asia, break the back of the Islamic world, and render the armored knights of Europe obsolete. Under Genghis Khan, the Mongol army never numbered more than 100,000 warriors, yet it subjugated more lands and people in twenty-five years than the Romans conquered in four hundred. With an empire that stretched from Siberia to India, from Vietnam to Hungary, and from Korea to the Balkans, the Mongols dramatically redrew the map of the globe, connecting disparate kingdoms into a new world order. But contrary to popular wisdom, Weatherford reveals that the Mongols were not just masters of conquest, but possessed a genius for progressive and benevolent rule. On every level and from any perspective, the scale and scope of Genghis Khan’s accomplishments challenge the limits of imagination. Genghis Khan was an innovative leader, the first ruler in many conquered countries to put the power of law above his own power, encourage religious freedom, create public schools, grant diplomatic immunity, abolish torture, and institute free trade. The trade routes he created became lucrative pathways for commerce, but also for ideas, technologies, and expertise that transformed the way people lived. The Mongols introduced the first international paper currency and postal system and developed and spread revolutionary technologies like printing, the cannon, compass, and abacus. They took local foods and products like lemons, carrots, noodles, tea, rugs, playing cards, and pants and turned them into staples of life around the world. The Mongols were the architects of a new way of life at a pivotal time in history. In Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World, Jack Weatherford resurrects the true history of Genghis Khan, from the story of his relentless rise through Mongol tribal culture to the waging of his devastatingly successful wars and the explosion of civilization that the Mongol Empire unleashed. This dazzling work of revisionist history doesn’t just paint an unprecedented portrait of a great leader and his legacy, but challenges us to reconsider how the modern world was made. From the Hardcover edition.
Read More

Perry Wallace and the Collision of Race and Sports in the South

Author: Andrew Maraniss

Publisher: N.A

ISBN: 9780826520234

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 467

View: 2936

Biography of the first African American basketball player in the SEC, set in the civil rights conflicts of the tumultuous Sixties
Read More

Author: Simon Winchester

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199753342

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 128

View: 712

On a summer's day in 1858, in a garden behind Christ Church College in Oxford, Charles Dodgson, a lecturer in mathematics, photographed six-year-old Alice Liddell, the daughter of the college dean, with a Thomas Ottewill Registered Double Folding camera, recently purchased in London. Simon Winchester deftly uses the resulting image--as unsettling as it is famous, and the subject of bottomless speculation--as the vehicle for a brief excursion behind the lens, a focal point on the origins of a classic work of English literature. Dodgson's love of photography framed his view of the world, and was partly responsible for transforming a shy and half-deaf mathematician into one of the world's best-loved observers of childhood. Little wonder that there is more to "Alice Liddell as the Beggar Maid" than meets the eye. Using Dodgson's published writings, private diaries, and of course his photographic portraits, Winchester gently exposes the development of Lewis Carroll and the making of his Alice. Acclaim for Simon Winchester "An exceptionally engaging guide at home everywhere, ready for anything, full of gusto and seemingly omnivorous curiosity." --Pico Iyer, The New York Times Book Review "A master at telling a complex story compellingly and lucidly." --USA Today "Extraordinarily graceful." --Time "Winchester is an exquisite writer and a deft anecdoteur." --Christopher Buckley "A lyrical writer and an indefatigable researcher." --Newsweek
Read More

Author: Lynn Austin

Publisher: Baker Books

ISBN: 1441233954

Category: Fiction

Page: 394

View: 7331

Lynn Austin Will Delight Readers with Her Winsome Heroine Alice Grace Ripley lives in a dream world, her nose stuck in a book. But happily-ever-after life she's planned on suddenly falls apart when her boyfriend, Gordon, breaks up with her, accusing her of living in a world of fiction instead of the real world. Then to top it off, Alice loses her beloved job at the library because of cutbacks due to the Great Depression. Fleeing small-town gossip, Alice heads to the mountains of eastern Kentucky to deliver five boxes of donated books to the library in the tiny coal-mining village of Acorn. Dropped off by her relatives, Alice volunteers to stay for two weeks to help the librarian, Leslie McDougal. But the librarian turns out to be far different than she anticipated--not to mention the four lady librarians who travel to the remote homes to deliver the much-desired books. While Alice is trapped in Acorn against her will, she soon finds that real-life adventure and mystery--and especially romance--are far better than her humble dreams could have imagined.
Read More

The Pleasure of Limits, the Uses of Boredom, and the Secret of Games

Author: Ian Bogost

Publisher: Hachette UK

ISBN: 0465096506

Category: Science

Page: 288

View: 4243

How filling life with play-whether soccer or lawn mowing, counting sheep or tossing Angry Birds-forges a new path for creativity and joy in our impatient age Life is boring: filled with meetings and traffic, errands and emails. Nothing we'd ever call fun. But what if we've gotten fun wrong? In Play Anything, visionary game designer and philosopher Ian Bogost shows how we can overcome our daily anxiety; transforming the boring, ordinary world around us into one of endless, playful possibilities. The key to this playful mindset lies in discovering the secret truth of fun and games. Play Anything, reveals that games appeal to us not because they are fun, but because they set limitations. Soccer wouldn't be soccer if it wasn't composed of two teams of eleven players using only their feet, heads, and torsos to get a ball into a goal; Tetris wouldn't be Tetris without falling pieces in characteristic shapes. Such rules seem needless, arbitrary, and difficult. Yet it is the limitations that make games enjoyable, just like it's the hard things in life that give it meaning. Play is what happens when we accept these limitations, narrow our focus, and, consequently, have fun. Which is also how to live a good life. Manipulating a soccer ball into a goal is no different than treating ordinary circumstances- like grocery shopping, lawn mowing, and making PowerPoints-as sources for meaning and joy. We can "play anything" by filling our days with attention and discipline, devotion and love for the world as it really is, beyond our desires and fears. Ranging from Internet culture to moral philosophy, ancient poetry to modern consumerism, Bogost shows us how today's chaotic world can only be tamed-and enjoyed-when we first impose boundaries on ourselves.
Read More

Author: Robert Douglas-Fairhurst

Publisher: Harvard University Press

ISBN: 0674967798

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 496

View: 5964

Drawing on numerous unpublished sources, the author examines the peculiar friendship between Oxford mathematician Lewis Carroll and Alice Liddell, the child for whom he invented the Alice stories, and analyzes how this relationship stirred Carroll's imagination and influenced the creation of Wonderland.
Read More

The Case For Progress In A Networked Age

Author: Steven Johnson

Publisher: Penguin UK

ISBN: 0141974923

Category: Political Science

Page: 272

View: 9228

What connects the "miracle on the Hudson" to the planning of the French railway system, or the mysterious outbreak of strange smells in downtown Manhattan to the invention of the Internet? With his characteristic flair for multidisciplinary storytelling, Steven Johnson shows in Future Perfect that what lies behind these and many other fascinating human stories is the concept of networked thinking. Exploring a new vision of progress, Johnson argues that networked thinking holds the key to an incredible range of human achievements, and can transform everything from local government to drug research to arts funding and education. Future Perfect paints a compelling portrait of a new model of political change that is already on the rise, and shows that despite Western political systems hopelessly gridlocked by old ideas, change for the better can happen, and that new solutions are on the horizon. 'If you're a pessimist-and chances are you are-you should read Future Perfect. In fact, read it even if you're an optimist, because Mr. Johnson's book will give you lots of material to brighten the outlook of your gloomy friends...it envisions a new political movement' Wall Street Journal 'An informative, tech-savvy and provocative vision of a new and more democratic public philosophy. A breath of fresh air a breath of fresh air in an age of gridlock, cynicism and disillusionment' San Francisco Chronicle 'A buoyant and hopeful book ... Future Perfect reminds us we already have the treatment. We just need to use it' Boston Globe Steven Johnson is the US bestselling author of 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 anthology The Innovator's Cookbook. He is the founder of a variety of influential websites - most recently, outside.in - and writes for Time, Wired, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. He lives in Marin County, California, with his wife and three sons.
Read More

Ten Emerging Technologies That'll Improve and/or Ruin Everything

Author: Kelly Weinersmith,Zach Weinersmith

Publisher: Penguin

ISBN: 0399563830

Category: Technology & Engineering

Page: 368

View: 2114

The instant New York Times bestseller! A Wall Street Journal Best Science Book of the Year! A Popular Science Best Science Book of the Year! From a top scientist and the creator of the hugely popular web comic Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, a hilariously illustrated investigation into future technologies -- from how to fling a ship into deep space on the cheap to 3D organ printing What will the world of tomorrow be like? How does progress happen? And why do we not have a lunar colony already? What is the hold-up? In this smart and funny book, celebrated cartoonist Zach Weinersmith and noted researcher Dr. Kelly Weinersmith give us a snapshot of what's coming next -- from robot swarms to nuclear fusion powered-toasters. By weaving their own research, interviews with the scientists who are making these advances happen, and Zach's trademark comics, the Weinersmiths investigate why these technologies are needed, how they would work, and what is standing in their way. New technologies are almost never the work of isolated geniuses with a neat idea. A given future technology may need any number of intermediate technologies to develop first, and many of these critical advances may appear to be irrelevant when they are first discovered. The journey to progress is full of strange detours and blind alleys that tell us so much about the human mind and the march of civilization. To this end, Soonish investigates ten different emerging fields, from programmable matter to augmented reality, from space elevators to robotic construction, to show us the amazing world we will have, you know, soonish. Soonish is the perfect gift for science lovers for the holidays!
Read More