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Where Good Ideas Come From

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People often credit their ideas to individual "Eureka!" moments. But Steven Johnson shows how history tells a different story. His fascinating tour takes us from the "liquid networks" of London's coffee houses to Charles Darwin's long, slow hunch to today's high-velocity web.

Steven Johnson has worked as a columnist for magazines such as Discover Magazine, Slate, and Wired. He co-founded the early webzine Feed Magazine in 1995, and the Webby-award-winning news discussion site in 2001. He is a Distinguished Writer in Residence at New York University.

He is the author of the best selling book, Everything Bad is Good for You: How Today's Popular Culture Is Actually Making Us Smarter (2005), which argues that over the last three decades popular culture artifacts (like television dramas and video games) have become increasingly complex and have helped to foster higher-order thinking skills. On March 5, 2009, he appeared on The Colbert Report to promote his new book, The Invention of Air.

In 2006, he announced a new online service,, which he described as "an attempt to collectively build the geographic Web, neighborhood by neighborhood".

In the words of Alex Hillman, here is "the ADD version":

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