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 Audiobook

Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation

Regular Price:$24.50
  • 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 -

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

4.2 (671 )
5 star
 (308)
4 star
 (219)
3 star
 (110)
2 star
 (21)
1 star
 (13)
Overall
4.2 (437 )
5 star
 (201)
4 star
 (143)
3 star
 (70)
2 star
 (14)
1 star
 (9)
Story
4.3 (442 )
5 star
 (213)
4 star
 (150)
3 star
 (62)
2 star
 (11)
1 star
 (6)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Harvey Trabuco Canyon, CA, United States 05-12-11
    Harvey Trabuco Canyon, CA, United States 05-12-11 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    13
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    59
    14
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Very Interesting"

    By just the title, I had envisioned a business book. However, this was more pop science and history. This is great if you are interested in learning about Darwin's exploits, but probably less so if you want a self help book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Everling Palo Alto, California 04-09-11
    David Everling Palo Alto, California 04-09-11 Member Since 2011

    Skipper

    HELPFUL VOTES
    78
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    60
    11
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    10
    0
    Overall
    "Good stories about good ideas"

    Good stories about good ideas. Johnson devotes a chapter each of a set of seven qualities of innovation, and for the most part it all makes a lot of sense and is well said. People have already said a lot of it before, though, and sometimes Johnson's new terminology is rebranding an old idea. When Johnson coins a new idiom I think he's well-intentioned and trying to update a previous idea with a modern conception, so it's not negligent per se, but perhaps unnecessary.

    The book goes into the inception and adoption of good ideas as told through a slew of Johnson's science history anecdotes (this reminded me of Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything) and the reader gets a sense of the slow rise of an idea, in a mind or a larger network of minds, from unseen depths before the "Eureka!" when it splashes through the surface into the public spotlight. Johnson explains this as "The Slow Hunch" to contradict a widespread misconception that solo genius drives the bulk of progress (not unlike the thrust of Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers). A particularly interesting bit addresses a topic that's getting more attention lately, power laws for cities, which display better-than-expected innovation (as measured by patent density, e.g.) among other peculiarly powerful trends.

    I was hoping that Johnson would build his seven broad patterns into a platform for a compelling conclusion, but instead Johnson is content to leave it as a platform and concludes with a summary of how to think about the individual struts of the framework rather than explicit theorizing on what his framework might support. I can't say I wouldn't have hesitated too were I in Johnson's journalistic shoes, but I can't help but think it a bit sheepish given the provocative nature of the build-up. He doesn't go far enough to succinctly answer the question behind the book's title.

    A worthwhile listen despite its faults! I do think it could be better read by the author, but that's only a hypothetical.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JM Guyancourt Cedex, France 01-20-11
    JM Guyancourt Cedex, France 01-20-11 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "wonderful book, terrible reading"

    The book is a marvelous exploration of how ideas are formed, inspired and cultivated, and the writing is lucid and compelling.

    Such a pity that the reader insists on attempting a foreign accent for every citation, an exercise that is pointless and distracting. The reader's attempt at a German accent early in the book when citing Goethe was so painful that I had to stop mid-stride and hold my gut.

    Please read the book but avoid this audio version.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Daniel Watertown, NY, United States 12-25-10
    Daniel Watertown, NY, United States 12-25-10 Listener Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    15
    8
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Tapers off"

    This book was fascinating at first but that tapers off and eventually gets really boring. The reading was great though!

    Good book all around.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    11-21-10
    11-21-10 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    1
    Overall
    "The good idea would be not to purchase this book."

    This book is verbose without a sense direction; which lost my interest in listening after an hour or two. It was factually repetitive to what is commonly known which contributed to it being boring. And that narration. Poor at best. Trying to come from the "over the top" verbal inflections and those impressions, just bad...bad.

    3 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Buster 02-22-15
    Buster 02-22-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    63
    9
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Awesome"

    Brilliant balanced and intellectual while still very accessible with easy lessons that can be implemented. The reef analogy comparison to cities in great

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eran Lahav Tel Aviv, Israel 01-20-15
    Eran Lahav Tel Aviv, Israel 01-20-15 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    22
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Amazing.com"

    Just get it, Now. A real eye opener, narrated with charm and most of all greatly written, light and easy

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joy Casey Solana Beach, CA 03-04-13
    Joy Casey Solana Beach, CA 03-04-13 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    20
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    75
    13
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I love Steven Johnson's writings!"
    What did you love best about Where Good Ideas Come From?

    There were many parts, but here are two. I loved the story of the two "showman" doctors who developed baby incubators and then found a way to pay for them by putting them on exhibit (with live babies inside)...in the shops of Paris...and then, the second doctor put them on exhibit in Berlin, London, and the U.S., with the longest standing exhibit at Coney Island, NY. I also liked the story of the young man who rather accidentally became the "father" of air conditioning... Great story!


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

    No. Fine...


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

    I love books that arouse and then satisfy my curiosity.


    Any additional comments?

    Steven Johnson is a wonderful writer!

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nat Santa Clara, CA, United States 04-14-12
    Nat Santa Clara, CA, United States 04-14-12 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
    17
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    196
    8
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "What's with the accents?"
    Would you be willing to try another one of Eric Singer’s performances?

    This is nonfiction, not a novel or a historical re-enactment. The narrator breaks out into English and French accents whenever he can, which is very distracting.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    RealTruth Investor Relations, MN 01-16-12
    RealTruth Investor Relations, MN 01-16-12 Member Since 2011

    RealTruth

    HELPFUL VOTES
    45
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    40
    36
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "good book, some good examples"

    Interesting title, with many examples. Slightly short on substance, I think the author could have elaborated more on his theories for these topics.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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.