Non-Fiction Book Group: How We Got To Now by Steven Johnson

Program Description: Our Non-Fiction Book Group will discuss How We Got To Now: Six Innovations That Made the Modern World by Steven Johnson. The book is available to borrow in multiple formats through the Mid-Hudson library system and as a book, e-book, and audiobook through hoopla (for cardholders in Hudson, Greenport and Stockport).

Date/Time: Monday, November 30, 6-7pm (via Zoom)

Registration: To register for this book group, email morton@hudsonarealibrary.org.

The Non-Fiction Book Group meets each month Mondays, 6-7:30pm on Zoom. The group is facilitated by library Board President Mark Orton. For more information on the Non-Fiction Book Group, and to see previous book selections, visit their page.

In this illustrated history, Steven Johnson explores the history of innovation over centuries, tracing facets of modern life (refrigeration, clocks, and eyeglass lenses, to name a few) from their creation by hobbyists, amateurs, and entrepreneurs to their unintended historical consequences. Filled with surprising stories of accidental genius and brilliant mistakes—from the French publisher who invented the phonograph before Edison but forgot to include playback, to the Hollywood movie star who helped invent the technology behind Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. How We Got to Now investigates the secret history behind the everyday objects of contemporary life.

In his trademark style, Johnson examines unexpected connections between seemingly unrelated fields: how the invention of air-conditioning enabled the largest migration of human beings in the history of the species—to cities such as Dubai or Phoenix, which would otherwise be virtually uninhabitable; how pendulum clocks helped trigger the industrial revolution; and how clean water made it possible to manufacture computer chips. Accompanied by a major six-part television series on PBS, How We Got to Now is the story of collaborative networks building the modern world, written in the provocative, informative, and engaging style that has earned Johnson fans around the globe.