kottke.org posts about theinventionofair

The Invention of Air, Steven Johnson's new bookSep 10 2008

Steven Johnson's new book is called The Invention of Air.

It has an organizing theme of how innovative ideas emerge and spread in a society, while integrating many different threads along the way: 18th-century London coffeehouse culture; the Adams-Jefferson letters; the origins of ecosystem science; the giant dragonflies of the Carboniferous Era; the impact of energy deposits on British political change; the discovery of the gulf stream; the Alien and Sedition acts; Jefferson's bible; the Lunar Society; mob violence; Thomas Kuhn's Structure of Scientific Revolutions; Ben Franklin's kite experiment.

It's also not, somehow, 6500 pages. I thought for sure that this was going to be some sort of long zoom book, not a book with a long zoom approach.

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