Download Wonderland: How Play Made the Modern World by Steven Johnson PDF

By Steven Johnson

'The ebook is a home of wonders' the recent York Times

'Steven Johnson is the Darwin of know-how' Walter Issacson, writer of *Steve Jobs*

What connects Paleolithic bone flutes to the discovery of software program? Or the Murex sea snail to the loss of life of the nice American urban? How does the bag of crisps you carry on your hand aid inform the tale of humanity itself?

In his tremendous new paintings at the background of innovation, overseas bestseller Steven Johnson argues that the pursuit of novelty and sweetness has continually been a strong motive force of world-shaping technological swap. He unearths that that all through heritage, the leading edge of innovation lies anyplace everyone is operating the toughest to maintain themselves and others amused.

Johnson's storytelling is simply as pleasant because the innovations he describes, packed with brilliant stops alongside the adventure from easy innovations to complicated sleek platforms. He introduces us to the vibrant innovators of relaxation: the explorers, owners, showmen, and artists who replaced the trajectory of historical past with their sumptuous wares, unique nutrition, taverns, playing tables, and magic shows.

Johnson compellingly argues that observers of technological and social traits will be searching for clues in novel amusements. you will find the longer term anywhere everyone is having the main fun.


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Additional resources for Wonderland: How Play Made the Modern World

Sample text

One can safely assume that at no other point in human history have women’s undergarments provoked so much patriotic fury. Responding to the outrage, Parliament passed a number of protectionist acts, starting with a ban on imported dyed calicos in the 1700s, which left open a large loophole for traders to import raw cotton fabrics, to be dyed on British shores. ” Ironically, the fears that ladies’ fashion trends would undermine the British economy turned out to have it exactly backward. The immense value of the cotton trade had already set a generation of British inventors off in search of mechanical tools that could mass-produce cotton fabrics: beginning with John Kay’s flying shuttle, patented in 1733, followed several decades later by Richard Arkwright’s spinning (or water) frame, then Eli Whitney’s cotton gin, not to mention the endless refinements to the steam engine rolled out during the 1700s, many of which were originally designed to enhance textile production.

The shopkeepers made the cotton revolution just as much as da Gama did. The distinction matters because of that standard theory about the rise of “consumer society” and its relationship to industrialization. When historians have gone back to wrestle with the question of why the industrial revolution happened, when they have tried to define the forces that made it possible, their eyes have been drawn to more familiar culprits on the supply side: technological innovations that increased industrial productivity, the expansion of credit networks and financing structures; insurance markets that took significant risk out of global shipping channels.

This is a book about a different kind of innovation: the new ideas and technologies and social spaces that emerged once some of us escaped from the compulsory labor of subsistence. The centrality of play and delight does not mean that these stories are free of tragedy and human suffering. Some of the most appalling epochs of slavery and colonization began with a new taste or fabric developing a market, and unleashed a chain of brutal exploitation to satisfy that market’s demands. The quest for delight transformed the world, but it did not always transform it for the better.

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