This book has 2 recommendations
Bill Gross (Founder / Idealab)
This book really showed me the amazing pathways that led to innovations that make our lives work today. The stories are told almost like a dramatic mystery to make the history come to life with excitement and aha moments.
James Altucher (Founder / StockPickr)
Also add to this: “How We Got to Now” by Steven Johnson.
Basically: don’t believe the myth of the lonely genius.
Ideas come from a confluence of history, “the adjacent possible” specific geographic locations, etc.
The connections Johnson makes are brilliant. For instance, The Gutenberg Press (which, in itself, was invented because of improvements in sewing looms), made everyone realize they had bad vision.
So the science of lenses was created. So microscopes were eventually created. So germs were eventually discovered. So modern medical science was discovered.
And so on. Johnson is a thinker and a linker and tells a good story.
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.