Shanghai. New York. Tehran. Tokyo. Today, dozens of cities worldwide are each home to many millions of people. But those masses of humanity might not exist in such tight quarters if not for John Snow. (No, not that Jon Snow. This John Snow.) Snow was a 19th-century English doctor who’s credited with proving that cholera, […]Continue reading
Why you should listen
A dynamic writer and speaker, Johnson crafts captivating theories that draw on a dizzying array of disciplines, without ever leaving his audience behind. Author Kurt Anderson described Johnson's book Emergence as "thoughtful and lucid and charming and staggeringly smart." The same could be said for Johnson himself. His big-brained, multi-disciplinary theories make him one of his generation's more intriguing thinkers. His books take the reader on a journey -- following the twists and turns his own mind makes as he connects seemingly disparate ideas: ants and cities, interface design and Victorian novels.
Johnson's breakout 2005 title, Everything Bad Is Good for You , took the provocative stance that our fear and loathing of popular culture is misplaced; video games and TV shows, he argues, are actually making us smarter. His appearances on The Daily Show and Charlie Rose cemented his reputation as a cogent thinker who could also pull more than his share of laughs. His most recent work, The Ghost Map, goes in another direction entirely: It tells the story of a cholera outbreak in 1854 London, from the perspective of the city residents, the doctors chasing the disease, and the pathogen itself. The book shows how the epidemic brought about profound changes in science, cities and modern society. His upcoming work, Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation, tells the fascinating stories of great ideas and great thinkers across disciplines.
No mere chronicler of technology, Johnson is himself a longtime innovator in the web world: He was founder and Editor in Chief of FEED, one of the earliest and most interesting online magazines. He cofounded Patch, an intriguing website that maps online conversations to real-world neighborhoods, and outside.in -- and is an advisor to many other startups, including Medium and Jelly. He is the host and co-creator of the new PBS and BBC television series How We Got to Now, airing in the fall of 2014.
"What others say"
Steven Johnson’s TED talks
Steven Johnson’s new book, Future Perfect: The Case for Progress in a Networked Age, tackles subjects ranging from underground music video makers to New York’s 311 telephone service to the planning of the French railway system to Capt. “Sully” Sullenberger and the “miracle on the Hudson.” His point? That new solutions to old problems are […]Continue reading
TEDTalks favorite Steven Johnson has been guestblogging at boingboing.net — and this post will resonate with anyone who is cooped up indoors with a small child this season: The case against Candy Land. The essay (and the discussion afterward) touches on the nature of play, the utter futility of the game Battleship, and the idea […]Continue reading