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Download Wonderland: How Play Made the Modern World Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Wonderland: How Play Made the Modern World, by Steven Johnson Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Steven Johnson Narrator: George Newbern Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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From the New York Times–bestselling author of How We Got to Now and Where Good Ideas Come From, 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.

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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • The reader of How We Got to Now cannot fail to be impressed by human ingenuity, including Johnson’s, in determining these often labyrinthine but staggeringly powerful developments of one thing to the next. San Francisco Chronicle
     
    Praise for Where Good Ideas Come From:
  • Brilliant . . . Johnson is an exemplar of the post-categorical age. . . . The ‘long zoom’ approach gives Johnson’s book power, makes it a tool for understanding where we stand today, and makes it satisfying. New York Times Book Review
  • A vision of innovation and ideas that is resolutely social, dynamic, and material . . . Fluidly written, entertaining, and smart without being arcane. Los Angeles Times
  • In an entertaining and accessible style, he takes tangents that arrive at sometimes startling conclusions, like a magician practicing misdirection…Johnson connects the dots in a way that sheds new light on everyday concepts. Publishers Weekly (starred review)
  • Wonderland brims with. . .tidbits, memorable moments, and bits of information that light up the mind. . . .[Johnson] surprises and delights as he traces the path of how various objects of fun and fancy—mechanized dolls, follies, and music boxes—drove advances. The Boston Globe
       
  • Johnson’s writing derives its appeal from his ability to illuminate complex ideas in unpretentious language . . . Johnson’s prose is nimble, his knowledge impressive . . . Wonderland is original and fun, as well it should be, given the subject. The San Francisco Chronicle
  • A rare gem. . . . Our illogical, enduring fascination with play remains one of life’s great mysteries. That is precisely what makes the subject so fascinating, and Wonderland such a compelling read. The Washington Post
  • Johnson . . . provides a compelling counterintuitive argument that the Industrial Revolution, democracy, and the computer age were all driven by diversions and appetites that historians too often ignore. Kirkus (starred review)
  • This is a great book for all curious readers, especially the history-averse, who will enjoy the fast pace, topical diversity, and abundant trivia. Booklist (starred review)
  • An engaging survey full of unexpected connections that readers of a historical or sociological bent will find particularly riveting. Library Journal
  • [Johnson’s] point is simple, important and well-timed: During periods of rapid innovation, there is always tumult as citizens try to make sense of it. . . . Johnson is an engaging writer, and he takes very complicated and disparate subjects and makes their evolution understandable. The Washington Post
  • An unbelievable book . . . it’s an innovative way to talk about history. Jon Stewart
  • What makes this book such a mind-expanding read is Johnson’s ability to appreciate human advancement as a vast network of influence, rather than a simple chain of one invention leading to another, and the result is nothing less than a celebration of the human mind. The Daily Beast
  • Johnson is a master storyteller, weaving disparate elements together into a rich and seamless tapestry of technology and human history. Booklist (starred review)
  • Wonderland makes a swashbuckling argument for the centrality of recreation to all of human history. The book is a house of wonders. The New York Times Book Review
  • Mr. Johnson’s narrative is crammed with elegantly told vignettes from the history of ideas. . . . The book is full of excellent facts. The Wall Street Journal
  • A house of wonders itself. . . . Wonderland inspires grins and well-what-d'ya-knows The New York Times Book Review
  • The parade of humanity Johnson presents in this lively (and generously illustrated) work leads us to the reassuring conclusion that history is often made not by nerds in lab coats, but by ingenious humans hankering for more intriguing ways to pass the time. O, The Oprah Magazine
  • The reader of How We Got to Now cannot fail to be impressed by human ingenuity, including Johnson’s, in determining these often labyrinthine but staggeringly powerful developments of one thing to the next. San Francisco Chronicle
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