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Steven Johnson’s ‘Where Good Ideas Come From’

Molly Wood Oct 5, 2010
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Steven Johnson’s ‘Where Good Ideas Come From’

Molly Wood Oct 5, 2010
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Here’s a thought: What if all that time you waste on social networking websites isn’t a waste of time at all? What if tweeting your tweets on Twitter and facebooking with your fake friends on Facebook is actually a path toward finding the next big idea, the next breakthrough A-ha(!) moment of your life?

Could be true. Steven Johnson, author of “Everything Bad Is Good For You, The Invention Of Air,” and “The Ghost Map,” has a new book out today. It’s called “Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation.” In it, Johnson argues that really important ideas — whether they be the light bulb or an art project you’re working on — don’t tend to come from isolated people having sudden moments of revelation. Rather, they come from networks, people being in proximity to other people and soaking in the stimulus of others to get to that great notion.

And when you think about it, isn’t that what we’ve constructed with Twitter and Facebook? Perhaps the popularity of those sites owes something to the human need to collaborate and build on ideas together.

We talk with Steven Johnson about ideas, the Internet, and what technology is doing in our lives.

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