How We Got to Now: Six Innovations That Made the Modern World Young Readers Adaptation
How We Got to Now: Six Innovations That Made the Modern World Young Readers Adaptation
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Annotation: A history of innovation shares stories of accidental genius and brilliant mistakes, examines unexpected connections between seemingly unrelated fields, and reveals how importan inventions have had unintended consequences.
Catalog Number: #168131
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Penguin
Copyright Date: 2018
Edition Date: 2018
Pages: 152 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: 0-425-28778-5
ISBN 13: 978-0-425-28778-1
Dewey: 303.48
LCCN: 2017060707
Dimensions: 24 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
Adapted for young readers from an adult book and PBS series, this volume explains six innovations that have changed the world: glass, cold, sound, clean (water), time, and light. It explores how these building blocks have inspired technological breakthroughs that have transformed our lives. The discovery of glassmaking, for example, led to the creation of clear glass, eyeglasses, microscopes, telescopes, cameras, fiberglass, laser beams, and fiber optic cables. Readers may be surprised that some technologies common today were actually developed more than 100 years ago, even if they weren't refined until more recently (electric cars were first developed in the 1890s). Although it mostly features contributions by men from North America and Europe, Ada Lovelace and Marie Curie are mentioned. Not only does this praise scientists' successful undertakings but it also recounts their erroneous beliefs and failures. Vintage photographs, recommended resources, and further back matter are included. The intriguing information here (Louis XIII didn't bathe at all until he was seven!) will inform and fascinate report writers and casual browsers.
Horn Book
This entertaining middle-grade adaptation of the PBS miniseries and adult book of the same title looks at how innovations around glass, refrigeration, sound, sanitation, time-keeping, and light enabled contemporary lifestyles. This conceptual organization of history, combined with the book's thesis of broader nexuses of invention, may shift young readers' worldview. Reading list, websites. Bib., ind.
Kirkus Reviews
Beginning with ideas that emerged thousands of years ago, Johnson tracks a series of innovations that led world culture to where it is now.In an adaption for younger readers of his adult work of the same name (2014), he tracks six pathways arranged along the following themes (which also serve as chapter titles): glass, cold, sound, clean, time, and light. The chapter on glass begins with the discovery of natural glass in the Libyan desert about 10,000 years ago and tracks it through use as jewelry, the creation of windowpanes, the development of glass that was clear, the creation of eyeglasses (necessary as books became more common), the development of other types of lenses and the scientific advances they inspired, and finally to fiber-optic cables in the digital age and creation of a massive telescope in Hawaii. Each engaging chapter remains fully grounded in the fundamental concept that advances inspire further developments, serving to present history in a nutshell that is still shown as a grand sweep of progress. A single minor gripe is that in the chapter on time, a detail on early photography is off by a few years. Excellent backmatter rounds out a balanced and thoroughly engaging presentation.Altogether, a fine exploration of technologies emerging over the eons and their remarkable interconnectedness. (Nonfiction. 11-14)
Publishers Weekly
In this fascinating book, Johnson (Where Good Ideas Come From) presents a -history of ideas and innovation,- focusing on six important technical and scientific innovations that have shaped the modern world but that we often take for granted. The book reveals what Johnson calls -the hummingbird effect,- when -an innovation... in one field ends up triggering changes that seem to belong to a different domain altogether.- We learn how Gutenberg-s press created a market for spectacles, which, in turn, led to the development of the microscope, the telescope, and the camera; how muckrakers were empowered by flash photography in the Progressive Era; and how the modern advertising business has roots in the germ theory of disease. Understanding the hummingbird effect is crucial in our world of constant technological development. Johnson debunks the genius theory of innovation-the romantic idea of the lone inventor who changes history-arguing instead that ideas and innovations emerge from -collaborative networks- at the intersections of different domains. He says that this understanding is crucial to -see more clearly the way new ideas come into being, and how to cultivate them as a society.- 75 b&w and color photos. Agent: Lydia Wills, Lydia Wills LLC. (Oct.)

Bibliography Index/Note: Includes bibliographical references and index.
Word Count: 25,574
Reading Level: 8.7
Interest Level: 5-9
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 8.7 / points: 5.0 / quiz: 199138 / grade: Middle Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:11.5 / points:8.0 / quiz:Q75860
Lexile: 1150L
Guided Reading Level: O

Did you drink a glass of water today? Did you turn on a light? Did you think about how miraculous either one of those things is when you did it? Of course not--but you should, and New York Times bestselling author Steven Johnson has. This adaptation of his adult book and popular PBS series explores the fascinating and interconnected stories of innovations--like clean drinking water and electricity--that changed the way people live.

Innovation starts with a problem whose solution sets in motion all kinds of unexpected discoveries. That's why you can draw a line from pendulums to punching the clock at a factory, from ice blocks to summer movie blockbusters, from clean water to computer chips.

In the lively storytelling style that has made him a popular, bestselling author, Steven Johnson looks at how accidental genius, brilliant mistakes, and unintended consequences shape the way we live in the modern world. Johnson's "long zoom" approach connects history, geography, politics, and scientific advances with the deep curiousity of inventors or quirky interests of tinkerers to show how innovation truly comes about.

His fascinating account is organized into six topics: glass, cold, sound, clean, time, light. Johnson's fresh exploration of these simple, single-syllable word concepts creates an endlessly absorbing story that moves from lightning strikes in the prehistoric desert to the herculean effort to literally raise up the city of Chicago to laser labs straight out of a sci-fi movie.

In other words, it's the story of how we got to now!

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