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Where Good Ideas Come From

The Natural History of Innovation

By Steven Johnson
15-minute read
Audio available
Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation by Steven Johnson

Where Good Ideas Come From (2011) examines the evolution of life on Earth and the history of science. This New York Times bestseller highlights many parallels between the two, ranging from carbon atoms forming the very first building blocks of life to cities and the World Wide Web fostering great innovations and discoveries.

In addition to presenting this extensive analysis, replete with anecdotes and scientific evidence, Johnson also considers how individual and organizational creativity can be cultivated.

This is a Blinkist staff pick

“I love these blinks because they combine so many different layers of abstraction, from carbon atoms combining to form molecules to entire cities buzzing with creative collisions.”

– Ben H, Head of Editorial at Blinkist

  • Anyone interested in the history of science and innovation, especially tantalizing anecdotes of great discoveries.
  • Anyone who wishes to be more creative and innovative, or hopes to foster such traits on an organizational level.
  • Anyone interested in the evolution of life on Earth.

Steven Johnson is an American popular science author. He regularly contributes to The Wall Street JournalThe New York Times and The Financial Times, and his previous bestsellers include Everything Bad is Good for You and The Ghost Map.

The idea behind Where Good Ideas Come From was to examine and explain what kinds of environments have historically fostered innovation. 

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