Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Part 1, Where good ideas come from, Steven Johnson

I started reading "Where Good Ideas Come From" by Steven Johnson a few nights ago. I was captivated. This is a fantastic book.

In his book, Steven Johnson takes us on a fascinating tour starting with Charles Darwin's long, slow hunch back in the 1800s, the "liquid networks" of London's coffee houses to today's high-velocity web.

A totally enchanting read so far, where I learnt about the linkage between the rich living organisms in coral reef with densely populated cities. While people often credit their ideaVs to individual "Eureka" moments, Steven Johnson shows that it is through exchange of ideas that innovation is born.

He has cleverly linked many diverse fields such as chemistry - carbon, its four valence bonds, and its high propensity to form new combinations with other atoms, the origins of all living things, the neurons in our brain and drawing comparison with the linkages in the World Wide Web. Read: the linkages among neurons in our brain is much, much denser than that in the World Wide Web. Homo sapiens (that's you and me) are simply amazing.

Environment is important, Johnson argued, YouTube would be successful had it not for the internet platform and technological advancement that enabled users to upload their videos on the web and share with others seamlessly. This is what he termed as "adjacent possibles".

I am now only about one-fifth into the book. So you bet there will be more sharing as I read on.

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