Where Good Ideas Come From

Where Good Ideas Come From
Author: Steven Johnson
Release: 2010-10-05
Editor: Penguin
Pages: 336
ISBN: 9781101444207
Language: en
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A fascinating deep dive on innovation from the New York Times bestselling author of How We Got To Now and Unexpected Life The printing press, the pencil, the flush toilet, the battery--these are all great ideas. But where do they come from? What kind of environment breeds them? What sparks the flash of brilliance? How do we generate the breakthrough technologies that push forward our lives, our society, our culture? Steven Johnson's answers are revelatory as he identifies the seven key patterns behind genuine innovation, and traces them across time and disciplines. From Darwin and Freud to the halls of Google and Apple, Johnson investigates the innovation hubs throughout modern time and pulls out the approaches and commonalities that seem to appear at moments of originality.

Where Good Ideas Come from

Where Good Ideas Come from
Author: Steven Johnson
Release: 2011
Editor: Penguin UK
Pages: 297
ISBN: 9780141033402
Language: en
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Identifies key principles that are driving force of creativity. This book helps to learn how: a slow hunch can be more valuable than a Eureka moment; the connected 'hive mind' is smarter than the lone thinker; where you think matters just as much as what you're thinking; and, the best ideas come from building on the ideas and inventions of others.

Where Good Ideas Come From

Where Good Ideas Come From
Author: Steven Johnson
Release: 2010-10-07
Editor: Penguin UK
Pages: 336
ISBN: 9780141964591
Language: en
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Where do good ideas come from? And what do we need to know and do to have more of them? In Where Good Ideas Come From, Steven Johnson, one of our most innovative popular thinkers, explores the secrets of inspiration. Steven Johnson has spent twenty years immersed in creative industries, was active at the dawn of the internet and has a unique perspective that draws on his fluency in fields ranging from neurobiology to new media. Why have cities historically been such hubs of innovation? What do the printing press and Apple have in common? And what does this have to do with the creation and evolution of life itself? Johnson presents the answers to these questions and more in his infectious, culturally omnivoracious style, using examples from thinkers in a range of disciplines - from Charles Darwin to Tim Berners-Lee - to provide the complete, exciting, and encouraging story of inspiration. He identifies the five key principles to the genesis of great ideas, from the cultivation of hunches to the importance of connectivity and how best to make use of new technologies. Most exhilarating is his conclusion: with today's tools and environment, radical innovation is extraordinarily accessible to those who know how to cultivate it. By recognizing where and how patterns of creativity occur - whether within a school, a software platform or a social movement - he shows how we can make more of our ideas good ones.

Everything Bad is Good for You

Everything Bad is Good for You
Author: Steven Johnson
Release: 2006-05-02
Editor: Penguin
Pages: 272
ISBN: 9781101158012
Language: en
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From the New York Times bestselling author of How We Got To Now and Farsighted Forget everything you’ve ever read about the age of dumbed-down, instant-gratification culture. In this provocative, unfailingly intelligent, thoroughly researched, and surprisingly convincing big idea book, Steven Johnson draws from fields as diverse as neuroscience, economics, and media theory to argue that the pop culture we soak in every day—from Lord of the Rings to Grand Theft Auto to The Simpsons—has been growing more sophisticated with each passing year, and, far from rotting our brains, is actually posing new cognitive challenges that are actually making our minds measurably sharper. After reading Everything Bad is Good for You, you will never regard the glow of the video game or television screen the same way again. With a new afterword by the author.

Farsighted

Farsighted
Author: Steven Johnson
Release: 2018-09-04
Editor: Penguin
Pages: 256
ISBN: 9780525534709
Language: en
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The hardest choices are also the most consequential. So why do we know so little about how to get them right? Big, life-altering decisions matter so much more than the decisions we make every day, and they're also the most difficult: where to live, whom to marry, what to believe, whether to start a company, how to end a war. There's no one-size-fits-all approach for addressing these kinds of conundrums. Steven Johnson's classic Where Good Ideas Come From inspired creative people all over the world with new ways of thinking about innovation. In Farsighted, he uncovers powerful tools for honing the important skill of complex decision-making. While you can't model a once-in-a-lifetime choice, you can model the deliberative tactics of expert decision-makers. These experts aren't just the master strategists running major companies or negotiating high-level diplomacy. They're the novelists who draw out the complexity of their characters' inner lives, the city officials who secure long-term water supplies, and the scientists who reckon with future challenges most of us haven't even imagined. The smartest decision-makers don't go with their guts. Their success relies on having a future-oriented approach and the ability to consider all their options in a creative, productive way. Through compelling stories that reveal surprising insights, Johnson explains how we can most effectively approach the choices that can chart the course of a life, an organization, or a civilization. Farsighted will help you imagine your possible futures and appreciate the subtle intelligence of the choices that shaped our broader social history.

Extra Life

Extra Life
Author: Steven Johnson
Release: 2021-05-11
Editor: Penguin
Pages: 320
ISBN: 9780525538875
Language: en
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“Offers a useful reminder of the role of modern science in fundamentally transforming all of our lives.” —President Barack Obama (on Twitter) “An important book.” —Steven Pinker, The New York Times Book Review The surprising and important story of how humans gained what amounts to an extra life, from the bestselling author of How We Got to Now and Where Good Ideas Come From In 1920, at the end of the last major pandemic, global life expectancy was just over forty years. Today, in many parts of the world, human beings can expect to live more than eighty years. As a species we have doubled our life expectancy in just one century. There are few measures of human progress more astonishing than this increased longevity. Extra Life is Steven Johnson’s attempt to understand where that progress came from, telling the epic story of one of humanity’s greatest achievements. How many of those extra years came from vaccines, or the decrease in famines, or seatbelts? What are the forces that now keep us alive longer? Behind each breakthrough lies an inspiring story of cooperative innovation, of brilliant thinkers bolstered by strong systems of public support and collaborative networks, and of dedicated activists fighting for meaningful reform. But for all its focus on positive change, this book is also a reminder that meaningful gaps in life expectancy still exist, and that new threats loom on the horizon, as the COVID-19 pandemic has made clear. How do we avoid decreases in life expectancy as our public health systems face unprecedented challenges? What current technologies or interventions that could reduce the impact of future crises are we somehow ignoring? A study in how meaningful change happens in society, Extra Life celebrates the enduring power of common goals and public resources, and the heroes of public health and medicine too often ignored in popular accounts of our history. This is the sweeping story of a revolution with immense public and personal consequences: the doubling of the human life span.

Mind Wide Open

Mind Wide Open
Author: Steven Johnson
Release: 2004-02-27
Editor: Simon and Schuster
Pages: 288
ISBN: 9780743258791
Language: en
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BRILLIANTLY EXPLORING TODAY'S CUTTING-EDGE BRAIN RESEARCH, MIND WIDE OPEN IS AN UNPRECEDENTED JOURNEY INTO THE ESSENCE OF HUMAN PERSONALITY, ALLOWING READERS TO UNDERSTAND THEMSELVES AND THE PEOPLE IN THEIR LIVES AS NEVER BEFORE. Using a mix of experiential reportage, personal storytelling, and fresh scientific discovery, Steven Johnson describes how the brain works -- its chemicals, structures, and subroutines -- and how these systems connect to the day-to-day realities of individual lives. For a hundred years, he says, many of us have assumed that the most powerful route to self-knowledge took the form of lying on a couch, talking about our childhoods. The possibility entertained in this book is that you can follow another path, in which learning about the brain's mechanics can widen one's self-awareness as powerfully as any therapy or meditation or drug. In Mind Wide Open, Johnson embarks on this path as his own test subject, participating in a battery of attention tests, learning to control video games by altering his brain waves, scanning his own brain with a $2 million fMRI machine, all in search of a modern answer to the oldest of questions: who am I? Along the way, Johnson explores how we "read" other people, how the brain processes frightening events (and how we might rid ourselves of the scars those memories leave), what the neurochemistry is behind love and sex, what it means that our brains are teeming with powerful chemicals closely related to recreational drugs, why music moves us to tears, and where our breakthrough ideas come from. Johnson's clear, engaging explanation of the physical functions of the brain reveals not only the broad strokes of our aptitudes and fears, our skills and weaknesses and desires, but also the momentary brain phenomena that a whole human life comprises. Why, when hearing a tale of woe, do we sometimes smile inappropriately, even if we don't want to? Why are some of us so bad at remembering phone numbers but brilliant at recognizing faces? Why does depression make us feel stupid? To read Mind Wide Open is to rethink family histories, individual fates, and the very nature of the self, and to see that brain science is now personally transformative -- a valuable tool for better relationships and better living.

Wonderland

Wonderland
Author: Steven Johnson
Release: 2016-11-15
Editor: Penguin
Pages: 336
ISBN: 9780399184505
Language: en
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“A house of wonders itself. . . . Wonderland inspires grins and well-what-d'ya-knows” —The New York Times Book Review From the New York Times–bestselling author of How We Got to Now and Extra Life, a look at the world-changing innovations we made while keeping ourselves entertained. This lushly illustrated history of popular entertainment takes a long-zoom approach, contending that the pursuit of novelty and wonder is a powerful driver of world-shaping technological change. Steven Johnson argues that, throughout history, the cutting edge of innovation lies wherever people are working the hardest to keep themselves and others amused. Johnson’s storytelling is just as delightful as the inventions he describes, full of surprising stops along the journey from simple concepts to complex modern systems. He introduces us to the colorful innovators of leisure: the explorers, proprietors, showmen, and artists who changed the trajectory of history with their luxurious wares, exotic meals, taverns, gambling tables, and magic shows. In Wonderland, Johnson compellingly argues that observers of technological and social trends should be looking for clues in novel amusements. You’ll find the future wherever people are having the most fun.

The Innovator s Cookbook

The Innovator s Cookbook
Author: Steven Johnson
Release: 2011-10-04
Editor: Penguin
Pages: 272
ISBN: 9781101550380
Language: en
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From the New York Times bestselling author of How We Got To Now and Farsighted Steven Johnson, author of Where Good Ideas Come From, Emergence, Everything Bad is Good for You, Mind Wide Open and Ghost Map, and an acknowledged bestselling leader on the subject of innovation, gathers - for a foundational text on the subject of innovation - essays, interviews, and cutting-edge insights by such exciting field leaders as Peter Drucker, Richard Florida, Eric Von Hippel, Dean Keith Simonton, Arthur Koestler, John Seely Brown, and Marshall Berman. Johnson also provides new material from Marisa Mayer of Google, Twitter's Biz Stone and Jack Dorsey, and Ray Ozzie, Microsoft's former Chief Software Architect. With additional commentary by Johnson himself, this book reveals the innovation found in a wide range of fields, including science, technology, energy, transportation, education, art, and sociology, making it vital, fresh, and fascinating reading for our time, and for the future.

The Invention of Air

The Invention of Air
Author: Steven Johnson
Release: 2008-12-26
Editor: Penguin
Pages: 304
ISBN: 9781440685316
Language: en
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From the bestselling author of How We Got To Now, The Ghost Map and Farsighted, a new national bestseller: the “exhilarating”( Los Angeles Times) story of Joseph Priestley, “a founding father long forgotten”(Newsweek) and a brilliant man who embodied the relationship between science, religion, and politics for America's Founding Fathers. In The Invention of Air, national bestselling author Steven Johnson tells the fascinating story of Joseph Priestley—scientist and theologian, protégé of Benjamin Franklin, friend of Thomas Jefferson—an eighteenth-century radical thinker who played pivotal roles in the invention of ecosystem science, the discovery of oxygen, the uses of oxygen, scientific experimentation, the founding of the Unitarian Church, and the intellectual development of the United States. As he did so masterfully in The Ghost Map, Steven Johnson uses a dramatic historical story to explore themes that have long engaged him: innovative strategies, intellectual models, and the way new ideas emerge and spread, and the environments that foster these breakthroughs.

How We Got to Now

How We Got to Now
Author: Steven Johnson
Release: 2014-09-30
Editor: Penguin
Pages: 306
ISBN: 9781594632969
Language: en
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From the New York Times–bestselling author of Where Good Ideas Come From and Extra Life, a new look at the power and legacy of great ideas. 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.

Future Perfect

Future Perfect
Author: Steven Johnson
Release: 2012-09-18
Editor: Penguin
Pages: 272
ISBN: 9781101596975
Language: en
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From the New York Times bestselling author of How We Got To Now, Farsighted, and Extra Life Combining the deft social analysis of Where Good Ideas Come From with the optimistic arguments of Everything Bad Is Good For You, New York Times bestselling author Steven Johnson’s Future Perfect makes the case that a new model of political change is on the rise, transforming everything from local governments to classrooms, from protest movements to health care. Johnson paints a compelling portrait of this new political worldview -- influenced by the success and interconnectedness of the Internet, by peer networks, but not dependent on high-tech solutions -- that breaks with the conventional categories of liberal or conservative, public vs. private thinking. With his acclaimed gift for multi-disciplinary storytelling and big idea books, Johnson explores this new vision of progress through a series of fascinating narratives: from the “miracle on the Hudson” to the planning of the French railway system; from the battle against malnutrition in Vietnam to a mysterious outbreak of strange smells in downtown Manhattan; from underground music video artists to the invention of the Internet itself. At a time when the conventional wisdom holds that the political system is hopelessly gridlocked with old ideas, Future Perfect makes the timely and inspiring case that progress is still possible, and that innovative strategies are on the rise. This is a hopeful, affirmative outlook for the future, from one of the most brilliant and inspiring visionaries of contemporary culture.

Life Is What You Make It

Life Is What You Make It
Author: Peter Buffett
Release: 2011-05-03
Editor: Crown
Pages: 274
ISBN: 9780307464729
Language: en
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From composer, musician, and philanthropist Peter Buffett comes a warm, wise, and inspirational book that asks, Which will you choose: the path of least resistance or the path of potentially greatest satisfaction? You may think that with a last name like his, Buffett has enjoyed a life of endless privilege. But the son of billionaire investor Warren Buffett says that the only real inheritance handed down from his parents was a philosophy: Forge your own path in life. It is a creed that has allowed him to follow his own passions, establish his own identity, and reap his own successes. In Life Is What You Make It, Buffett expounds on the strong set of values given to him by his trusting and broadminded mother, his industrious and talented father, and the many life teachers he has met along the way. Today’s society, Buffett posits, has begun to replace a work ethic, relishing what you do, with a wealth ethic, honoring the payoff instead of the process. We confuse privilege with material accumulation, character with external validation. Yet, by focusing more on substance and less on reward, we can open doors of opportunity and strive toward a greater sense of fulfillment. In clear and concise terms, Buffett reveals a great truth: Life is random, neither fair nor unfair. From there it becomes easy to recognize the equal dignity and value of every human life—our circumstances may vary but our essences do not. We see that our journey in life rarely follows a straight line but is often met with false starts, crises, and blunders. How we push through and persevere in these challenging moments is where we begin to create the life of our dreams—from discovering our vocations to living out our bliss to giving back to others. Personal and revealing, instructive and intuitive, Life Is What You Make It is about transcending your circumstances, taking up the reins of your destiny, and living your life to the fullest.

The Myths of Innovation

The Myths of Innovation
Author: Scott Berkun
Release: 2010-08-13
Editor: "O'Reilly Media, Inc."
Pages: 248
ISBN: 9781449399610
Language: en
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In this new paperback edition of the classic bestseller, you'll be taken on a hilarious, fast-paced ride through the history of ideas. Author Scott Berkun will show you how to transcend the false stories that many business experts, scientists, and much of pop culture foolishly use to guide their thinking about how ideas change the world. With four new chapters on putting the ideas in the book to work, updated references and over 50 corrections and improvements, now is the time to get past the myths, and change the world. You'll have fun while you learn: Where ideas come from The true history of history Why most people don't like ideas How great managers make ideas thrive The importance of problem finding The simple plan (new for paperback) Since its initial publication, this classic bestseller has been discussed on NPR, MSNBC, CNBC, and at Yale University, MIT, Carnegie Mellon University, Microsoft, Apple, Intel, Google, Amazon.com, and other major media, corporations, and universities around the world. It has changed the way thousands of leaders and creators understand the world. Now in an updated and expanded paperback edition, it's a fantastic time to explore or rediscover this powerful view of the world of ideas. "Sets us free to try and change the world."--Guy Kawasaki, Author of Art of The Start "Small, simple, powerful: an innovative book about innovation."--Don Norman, author of Design of Everyday Things "Insightful, inspiring, evocative, and just plain fun to read. It's totally great."--John Seely Brown, Former Director, Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) "Methodically and entertainingly dismantling the cliches that surround the process of innovation."--Scott Rosenberg, author of Dreaming in Code; cofounder of Salon.com "Will inspire you to come up with breakthrough ideas of your own."--Alan Cooper, Father of Visual Basic and author of The Inmates are Running the Asylum "Brimming with insights and historical examples, Berkun's book not only debunks widely held myths about innovation, it also points the ways toward making your new ideas stick."--Tom Kelley, GM, IDEO; author of The Ten Faces of Innovation

Emergence

Emergence
Author: Steven Johnson
Release: 2012-09-11
Editor: Simon and Schuster
Pages: 288
ISBN: 9780743218269
Language: en
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In the tradition of Being Digital and The Tipping Point, Steven Johnson, acclaimed as a "cultural critic with a poet's heart" (The Village Voice), takes readers on an eye-opening journey through emergence theory and its applications. A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK A VOICE LITERARY SUPPLEMENT TOP 25 FAVORITE BOOKS OF THE YEAR AN ESQUIRE MAGAZINE BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR Explaining why the whole is sometimes smarter than the sum of its parts, Johnson presents surprising examples of feedback, self-organization, and adaptive learning. How does a lively neighborhood evolve out of a disconnected group of shopkeepers, bartenders, and real estate developers? How does a media event take on a life of its own? How will new software programs create an intelligent World Wide Web? In the coming years, the power of self-organization -- coupled with the connective technology of the Internet -- will usher in a revolution every bit as significant as the introduction of electricity. Provocative and engaging, Emergence puts you on the front lines of this exciting upheaval in science and thought.

Enemy of All Mankind

Enemy of All Mankind
Author: Steven Johnson
Release: 2020-05-12
Editor: Penguin
Pages: 306
ISBN: 9780735211629
Language: en
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“Thoroughly engrossing . . . a spirited, suspenseful, economically told tale whose significance is manifest and whose pace never flags.” —The Wall Street Journal From The New York Times–bestselling author of The Ghost Map and Extra Life, the story of a pirate who changed the world Henry Every was the seventeenth century’s most notorious pirate. The press published wildly popular—and wildly inaccurate—reports of his nefarious adventures. The British government offered enormous bounties for his capture, alive or (preferably) dead. But Steven Johnson argues that Every’s most lasting legacy was his inadvertent triggering of a major shift in the global economy. Enemy of All Mankind focuses on one key event—the attack on an Indian treasure ship by Every and his crew—and its surprising repercussions across time and space. It’s the gripping tale of one of the most lucrative crimes in history, the first international manhunt, and the trial of the seventeenth century. Johnson uses the extraordinary story of Henry Every and his crimes to explore the emergence of the East India Company, the British Empire, and the modern global marketplace: a densely interconnected planet ruled by nations and corporations. How did this unlikely pirate and his notorious crime end up playing a key role in the birth of multinational capitalism? In the same mode as Johnson’s classic nonfiction historical thriller The Ghost Map, Enemy of All Mankind deftly traces the path from a single struck match to a global conflagration.

Sparks of Genius

Sparks of Genius
Author: Robert Root-Bernstein,Michèle Root-Bernstein
Release: 2013-08-26
Editor: HMH
Pages: 416
ISBN: 9780547525891
Language: en
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Discover the cognitive tools that lead to creative thinking and problem-solving with this “well-written and easy-to-follow” guide (Library Journal). Explore the “thinking tools” of extraordinary people, from Albert Einstein and Jane Goodall to Mozart and Virginia Woolf, and learn how you can practice the same imaginative skills to become your creative best. With engaging narratives and examples, Robert and Michèle Root-Bernstein investigate cognitive tools such as observing, recognizing patterns, modeling, playing, and more. Sparks of Genius is “a clever, detailed and demanding fitness program for the creative mind” and a groundbreaking guidebook for anyone interested in imaginative thinking, lifelong learning, and transdisciplinary education (Kirkus Reviews). “How different the painter at the easel and the physicist in the laboratory! Yet the Root-Bernsteins recognize the deep-down similarity of all creative thinking, whether in art or science. They demonstrate this similarity by comparing the accounts that various pioneers and inventors have left of their own creative processes: for Picasso just as for Einstein, for Klee just as for Feynman, the creative impulse always begins in vision, in emotion, in intuition. . . . With a lavishly illustrated chapter devoted to each tool, readers quickly realize just how far the imagination can stretch.” —Booklist “A powerful book . . . Sparks of Genius presents radically different ways of approaching problems.” —American Scientist

The Creative Curve

The Creative Curve
Author: Allen Gannett
Release: 2018-06-12
Editor: Currency
Pages: 288
ISBN: 9781524761721
Language: en
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Big data entrepreneur Allen Gannett overturns the mythology around creative genius, and reveals the science and secrets behind achieving breakout commercial success in any field. We have been spoon-fed the notion that creativity is the province of genius -- of those favored, brilliant few whose moments of insight arrive in unpredictable flashes of divine inspiration. And if we are not a genius, we might as well pack it in and give up. Either we have that gift, or we don’t. But Allen shows that simply isn’t true. Recent research has shown that there is a predictable science behind achieving commercial success in any creative endeavor, from writing a popular novel to starting up a successful company to creating an effective marketing campaign. As the world’s most creative people have discovered, we are enticed by the novel and the familiar. By understanding the mechanics of what Gannett calls “the creative curve” – the point of optimal tension between the novel and the familiar – everyone can better engineer mainstream success. In a thoroughly entertaining book that describes the stories and insights of everyone from the Broadway team behind Dear Evan Hansen, to the founder of Reddit, from the Chief Content Officer of Netflix to Michelin star chefs, Gannett reveals the four laws of creative success and identifies the common patterns behind their achievement.

Banish Your Inner Critic

Banish Your Inner Critic
Author: Denise Jacobs
Release: 2017-06-06
Editor: Mango Media Inc.
Pages: 183
ISBN: 9781633534728
Language: en
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DESCRIPTION BOOK:

“Gives you the practical tools you need to own the room by owning yourself. Banish that inner devil’s advocate and become as powerful as you can be.” —Alan Cooper, software alchemist, cofounder of Cooper As the Founder and Chief Creativity Evangelist of “The Creative Dose,” Denise Jacobs teaches techniques to make the creative process more fluid, methods for making work environments more conducive to personal productivity, and practices for sparking innovation. Now, in her book, Banish Your Inner Critic, Denise shows you how to defeat those barriers that are holding you back and achieve success through a positive mental attitude. Banish Your Inner Critic shows you how to move beyond that mental block to your creative ideas, realize instant relief and lasting insight, and: · Identify and quiet the voice of self-doubt in your head · Master 3 powerful practices that will transform how you relate to yourself and your creativity forever · Overcome the fear of not knowing enough or not being original enough · Free yourself from comparisons, overwhelm, high self-criticism and self-sabotage · Transform your self-talk into a tool for success · Generate more creative ideas than ever before · Embrace your expertise and share your brilliance with the world Banish your Inner Critic to start doing your best work, achieving excellence, and contributing meaningfully to the world! “If you’re interested in diving deep into your own creative genius, this book will give you an abundance of ways to do that.” —Michelle Villalobos, “The Superstar Activator” & founder of The Women’s Success Summit “A book I believe will inspire a new generation to step out of the shadows and shine.” —Paul Boag, author of User Experience Revolution

The Idea Factory

The Idea Factory
Author: Jon Gertner
Release: 2012-03-15
Editor: Penguin
Pages: 432
ISBN: 9781101561089
Language: en
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The definitive history of America’s greatest incubator of innovation and the birthplace of some of the 20th century’s most influential technologies “Filled with colorful characters and inspiring lessons . . . The Idea Factory explores one of the most critical issues of our time: What causes innovation?” —Walter Isaacson, The New York Times Book Review “Compelling . . . Gertner's book offers fascinating evidence for those seeking to understand how a society should best invest its research resources.” —The Wall Street Journal From its beginnings in the 1920s until its demise in the 1980s, Bell Labs-officially, the research and development wing of AT&T-was the biggest, and arguably the best, laboratory for new ideas in the world. From the transistor to the laser, from digital communications to cellular telephony, it's hard to find an aspect of modern life that hasn't been touched by Bell Labs. In The Idea Factory, Jon Gertner traces the origins of some of the twentieth century's most important inventions and delivers a riveting and heretofore untold chapter of American history. At its heart this is a story about the life and work of a small group of brilliant and eccentric men-Mervin Kelly, Bill Shockley, Claude Shannon, John Pierce, and Bill Baker-who spent their careers at Bell Labs. Today, when the drive to invent has become a mantra, Bell Labs offers us a way to enrich our understanding of the challenges and solutions to technological innovation. Here, after all, was where the foundational ideas on the management of innovation were born.