How did refrigeration help create the golden age of Hollywood? How did flash photography help shift public opinion on the plight of New York's poorest inhabitants and bring about social reform? And what about our battle against dirt—how did that help create the microchips in our smartphones and computers? In this companion book to his BBC television series, Steven Johnson traces six essential innovations that made the modern world, revealing how big ideas coalesce out of smaller, incremental developments, profiling unsung heroes, and chronicling unexpected scientific revolutions.
"Steven Johnson is the Darwin of technology. Through fascinating observations and insights, he enlightens us about the origin of ideas."—Walter Isaacson