How We Got To Now by Steven Johnson

How we got to now, Steven Johnson, innovations, Book Journey

Steven Johnson explores six innovations over the centuries that made the world what it is today.  Interesting exploration from our fascination with selfies, how we created time, from genius, to mistakes.  The six big topics are:

1. Glass

2. Cold

3. Sound

4. Clean

5. Time

6. Light


Although I admittedly do not have scientific mind and by no means could be considered “techy”, I am still fascinated by the creative minds that brought us to today.  It is no secret that I am fully engaged with the start up of Facebook and have watched the movie an embarrassingly amount of times.  I have not only read about, listened to books on Steve Jobs, I have watched his movie as well… again fascinated how these great minds see something bigger in what we are doing and change the world forever with their nudges in the right direction.  Truly, they could not have had any idea how far their ideas would go.

How We Got To Now is another of those fascinating books that show how what happened then ties to now in ways that we could not even imagine.  The first making of glass which led to mirrors which led to seeing ourselves for the first time to the first artists that became fascinated with self portraits.  Another chapter that really blew me away was the one on time.  It is hard to think about a world without time as we are all about time and where we need to be and when.  I tried to imagine a time, without time…

Christopher Columbus:  Okay men, we are now ready that we shall sail to the new world world!

Men:  And how shall we know when to go of wise one?

Christopher Columbus:  Uhhh….. we shall know… when we know.  Be off with you until then!


Ok that was all me, I can not quote Christopher, it was just the image that came to mind.

This book is one I listened to on audio and it is a short listen at 6 hours and 11 minutes but a fascinating one for those of us who enjoy knowing where things came from and how they affect us today.



  • Listening Length: 6 hours and 11 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Penguin Audio
  • Release Date: September 30, 2014


5 thoughts on “How We Got To Now by Steven Johnson

  1. This just went on my wishlist. The topics the author chose to explore are interesting, but I can already think of the innovations in each that really did change the world.

    1. I started my first year of BEA (2010) when my roommate told me about some non fiction that sounded really good. Now I like to mix it up a bit and have read some amazing none fiction – you must try the Henrietta Lacs book…. AMAZING.

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