Steven Johnson attributes a great surge in human creativity to the rise of coffee and tea (until then, most Europeans drank alcohol all day because water wasn't safe), and argues coffeehouses are where "great ideas have sex."
In truth, Johnson says great ideas are not beautiful gems in-and-of themselves, but are cobbled together from what's available nearby. It's the pooling of different perspectives, not study in isolation, that leads to great breakthroughs. In his talk he takes us from Charles Darwin to Sputnik and G.P.S. to prove that "chance favors the connected mind."
Steven Johnson is the author of six books on the intersection of science, technology and personal experience, His most recent book "Where Good Ideas Come From: The History of Innovation" is due out next month.
This is going to sound a little strange. When I was a teenager I wrote a song called "I can't stand It" that was in 1967. Years later Eric Clapton came out with the same song. The chorus was identical to mine. My song had never been published or performed in any public venue. So how could this happen? I came to the conclusion there is some sort of collective thought just floating around in the air just waiting for someone to pull it down and put it together. I don't look at it as some sort of Mysticism. Thoughts are electrical and the atmosphere is constantly full of static electricity. You wonder where your thoughts go? Just look up.
Steven Johnson is coming here on October 15th. He's not here often, people should come:
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