It’s easy enough to pinpoint a creative breakthrough after it has happened, but what about the elements involved in causing the ideas to form in the first place? Steven Johnson’s Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation (he’s the author of Everything Bad Is Good for You takes a look through history and details how some of the best ideas in history came to be.
Johnson covers everything from neurobiology to the Internet to try to find a common thread in every discipline. Good ideas, he posits, tend to come together thanks to networks and the right environments to allow them to form. “If there is a single maxim that runs through this book’s argument,” he writes, “it is that we are often served better by connecting ideas than we are by protecting them.” It is fascinating, heady stuff, but luckily (for the science-phobic), Johnson writes with convincing and engaging clarity.
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