“How We Got to Now” by Steven Johnson chronicles the making of the modern world through innovations in 6 different aspects of everyday life: Glass, Cold, Sound, Clean, Time and Light. These are seemingly simple innovations, but, as Johnson demonstrates, they’ve had enormous impacts on the way we live our lives today. Can you imagine trying to keep a schedule without a clock? How about trying to store food prior to refrigeration? (Not to mention to impact refrigerated train cars had on Chicago!) And could you imagine life without consistent light?! If any of these topics peak your interest, then this is the book for you!
“How We Got to Now” was the January selection for our nonfiction book discussion and we really enjoyed our discussion! Not only does this book bring to light the very major impact of several seemingly small innovations, but it also encourages the reader to question just how innovators come up with their ideas, and where innovation may be headed in the future. This is a very accessible book that comes very highly recommended to all lovers of social studies and history. Plus, if you enjoyed the book, there’s also a PBS special to go along with it!