Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation Audiobook | Steven Johnson | Audible.com
We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access.
Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation | [Steven Johnson]

Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation

What sparks the flash of brilliance? How does groundbreaking innovation happen? Answering in his infectious, culturally omnivorous style, using his fluency in fields from neurobiology to popular culture, Johnson provides the complete, exciting, and encouraging story of how we generate the ideas that push our careers, our lives, our society, and our culture forward.
Regular Price:$23.93
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Your Likes make Audible better!

'Likes' are shared on Facebook and Audible.com. We use your 'likes' to improve Audible.com for all our listeners.

You can turn off Audible.com sharing from your Account Details page.

OK

Publisher's Summary

One of our most innovative, popular thinkers takes on - in exhilarating style - one of our key questions: "Where do good ideas come from?"

With Where Good Ideas Come From, Steven Johnson pairs the insight of his best-selling Everything Bad Is Good for You and the dazzling erudition of The Ghost Map and The Invention of Air to address an urgent and universal question: What sparks the flash of brilliance? How does groundbreaking innovation happen?

Answering in his infectious, culturally omnivorous style, using his fluency in fields from neurobiology to popular culture, Johnson provides the complete, exciting, and encouraging story of how we generate the ideas that push our careers, our lives, our society, and our culture forward.

©2010 Steven Johnson (P)2010 Penguin Audio

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (325 )
5 star
 (139)
4 star
 (110)
3 star
 (54)
2 star
 (13)
1 star
 (9)
Overall
4.2 (146 )
5 star
 (74)
4 star
 (41)
3 star
 (22)
2 star
 (6)
1 star
 (3)
Story
4.2 (152 )
5 star
 (67)
4 star
 (53)
3 star
 (23)
2 star
 (7)
1 star
 (2)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Roy Beaumont, TX, United States 12-08-10
    Roy Beaumont, TX, United States 12-08-10 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1673
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    471
    273
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    527
    0
    Overall
    "Ambitious"

    Steven Johnson has written an ambitious book here. I learned a great deal about innovation and he made me think on multiple levels. Without repeating the book contents noted in earlier reviews, I would say that Chapter 4 was an eye opener for me. It dealt with networking, note taking, and related software. It moves the reader and practitioner beyond Brain Storming for sure. That one chapter is worth the price of the book. If you have read widely in the areas of innovation and technology this book may not be another for your list. If you want a broad orientation in a package that contains many, many ideas, this book may well be your choice. It is well written, informative, and the reading of Eric Singer is excellent. The final chapter is a summary and conclusion that you will not want to omit from your hearing. I really hope that Johnson will produce another book greatly expanding on his ideas outlined in Chapter 4.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alexander College Park, MD, United States 02-07-11
    Alexander College Park, MD, United States 02-07-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Intriguing, relevant, and engaging"

    For someone trying to invent good ideas, create an environment that leads to them, or just understand how they come about, this book is a gem. It is not a how-to per se, but the analysis is intriguing, fresh, and relevant, and the narration gives it shape and energy, making it a pleasure to follow.

    ● The book brings together a diverse range of views of innovation. This includes those who believe innovation needs walled gardens and a free market, as well as those who believe it needs open communities where ideas can be shared. The book balances these perspectives beautifully. (Note: Much of this synthesis comes in the book's conclusion.)

    ● The parallels with biological innovation are absolutely relevant and used pointedly for helping you to understand innovation in societies. They strengthen the points about modern innovation considerably. (Note: Some of it might seem banal to a biologist. I personally know very little about biology.)

    ● Narration really made the book for me. The book is arguing a point of view, so it's entirely appropriate that the narrator bring some spirit into it. To me, it felt genuine, as if the author were arguing the points himself.

    ● Accents used by the narrator seemed perfectly appropriate to me. I have no idea if they were accurate or not, but since he was quoting a variety of perspectives, it helped make boundaries between voices and it made the reading more engaging.

    As a doctoral student in computer science trying to develop something new, this book was helpful and influential. Compared to other books I've read, and the content of a couple of related courses I've taken in recent years, this was the most satisfying and most useful perspective I've encountered so far. Thus, I was surprised by some of the criticism from some others who listened to this book and reviewed it here.

    Note: I have no connection to the publisher, author, narrator, producer, etc. I found the book via a recommendation from a prominent researcher.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael San Antonio, TX, United States 01-28-11
    Michael San Antonio, TX, United States 01-28-11 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    17
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    85
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "interesting insights and engaging narration"

    I don't normally write reviews of the books I listen to. In this case my opinion of the book is so much higher than the general tone of the other reviewers that I felt compelled to share my views.

    I thoroughly enjoyed the entire book finding it both valuable for ideas on increasing my own creativity and interesting from a historical science perspective. The reviews on Amazon are much more skewed towards the positive end than are the reviews here, and the Amazon reviews are more useful regarding the contents of this book.

    Regarding the narration: I liked it. I found the narrator's tone engaging. This narrator decided to differentiate quoted text from the primary author's text by using an accent for the quoted text. While the narrator's accent selection was sometimes amusing, it was never distracting and certainly not irritating (as others reported). When an audio work quotes another work, there is always the potential for confusion of when the quote ends. One solution would be to state “end quote”, but that would be distracting. I found that the narrator's decision to differentiate quotes with an accent provided clarity of attribution while maintaining the flow of the work.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    D. Simons Champaign, IL USA 10-26-10
    D. Simons Champaign, IL USA 10-26-10 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    45
    7
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "interesting enough"

    Overall, this book was interesting, albeit repetitive. The author's belief that open platforms lead to more innovation was clear throughout, at times to the neglect of alternatives. The arguments could have used more evidence and fewer platitudes. It was strongest when it focused on biological innovation as a metaphor for ideas.

    The reading was less than ideal, at least for my taste. I tend to like dramatic readings, but this one was over the top even for me. His voice and pronunciation were pleasant enough, but he felt it necessary to fake accents for every quote. I wouldn't say that it disrupted my ability to enjoy the book, but it didn't help, and I did find myself groaning with each "impression."

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Houston, TX United States 08-24-12
    Amazon Customer Houston, TX United States 08-24-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Is History Predictive?"
    If you could sum up Where Good Ideas Come From in three words, what would they be?

    Accurately depicts innovation


    What did you like best about this story?

    The best thing about this book is the careful way Johnson crafts his case. His concept of where good ideas come from is not theoretical, but based in the history of innovation by humankind from prehistory through now.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I especially enjoyed his vignettes covering everything from Gutenberg's press to the jazz sounds of Miles Davis to the development of Twitter conventions by the twitter community. If I have to pick just one though, it would be the part about commonplacing and how that practice evolved into the world wide web.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joshua Kim Etna, NH, United States 06-10-12
    Joshua Kim Etna, NH, United States 06-10-12 Member Since 2005

    mostly nonfiction listener

    HELPFUL VOTES
    525
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    296
    154
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    289
    49
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Johnson Has a Lifelong Reader"

    Understanding how ideas are born should be among the top concerns of people in the higher ed business. Johnson provides us with a map.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeff Vreeland Birmingham, Alabama 03-07-13
    Jeff Vreeland Birmingham, Alabama 03-07-13 Member Since 2008

    Jeff Vreeland

    HELPFUL VOTES
    19
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    41
    9
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Thought Provoking Book"

    If you are looking to understand the science and history around innovation grounded in facts that span the life of Ford, 3M, and Apple then this is the book for you.

    Steven does a good job beating (read repetitive) into the science behind what makes innovation so special and albeit hard to manufacture.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    andrew Bountiful, UT, United States 08-22-12
    andrew Bountiful, UT, United States 08-22-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    121
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    46
    44
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    8
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A Great Author"

    It has been a while but I am reviewing this before I close the account for future readers. I know I liked this book and it skips about like the old show "Connections" (not that old), where it flits from idea to idea like a butterfly to flowers. So if that is going to bother you, and you want in-depth on a single subject, then look elsewhere. I have liked all this author's books and this one is narrated very well with a "normal" reading, not stuffy, no strange voice, no over-drama, no monotone. How novel of an idea, no? General intellectual interest with flairs of history and science, this one felt more like a survey if I recall correctly and touches on the author's previous topics (Dr Snow and Priestly). Of the 3 books I have read by this author I prefer the book on Priestly "The Invention of Air" best and would rank "The Ghost Map" second if not for some super-baritoney narration.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    stephan Fairport, NY, United States 08-21-12
    stephan Fairport, NY, United States 08-21-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    0
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Good Ideas create more good ideas"
    What did you love best about Where Good Ideas Come From?

    The ideas that good ideas come from a crises, confusion, failure, an d from the use of one idea being used in an entirely different way in another area. How one sphere of activity can change another in very radical ways. Like wine making in Germany gives birth to the movable type printing press.


    Have you listened to any of Eric Singer’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Just smile at how obviouse and simple the conclusions often were.


    Any additional comments?

    No

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karen SAN DIEGO, CA, United States 06-04-12
    Karen SAN DIEGO, CA, United States 06-04-12 Member Since 2010
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Best Book Ever!!!"
    Would you listen to Where Good Ideas Come From again? Why?

    This book was so good that I have already listened to it twice and I bought a paper copy of it. I wanted to listen again because some of the points that were made were so important that I wanted to be sure that I absorbed them completely (the adjacent possible, liquid networks, intellectual property, the history of innovation...)


    What other book might you compare Where Good Ideas Come From to and why?

    I would compare this book to Tipping Point by Gladwell because it offers a new way of looking at something and the book brings together many disparate concepts in a way that helps the reader to make sense of innovation and what can be done when we tap into our innovations.


    What does Eric Singer bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Eric Singer has a great voice and he reads clearly and at a great pace. He really draws you into the story.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I was fortunate to be driving from San Diego to San Luis Obispo so I was able to listen to whole way there and then I listened on the say back. In fact, I was so into the book that I got a speeding ticket along the way....


    Any additional comments?

    Thank you for writing this book! I bought copies for my three work partners and they have already listened to and read the book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 25 results PREVIOUS123NEXT

    There are no listener reviews for this title yet.

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

CANCEL

Thank You

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.