lone genius

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pages: 55 words: 17,493

Show Your Work!: 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered by Austin Kleon

David Heinemeier Hansson, dumpster diving, Golden Gate Park, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, lone genius, side project, Wunderkammern

To someone, it may be better than you dare to think.” —Henry Wadsworth Longfellow There are a lot of destructive myths about creativity, but one of the most dangerous is the “lone genius” myth: An individual with superhuman talents appears out of nowhere at certain points in history, free of influences or precedent, with a direct connection to God or The Muse. When inspiration comes, it strikes like a lightning bolt, a lightbulb switches on in his head, and then he spends the rest of his time toiling away in his studio, shaping this idea into a finished masterpiece that he releases into the world to great fanfare. If you believe in the lone genius myth, creativity is an antisocial act, performed by only a few great figures—mostly dead men with names like Mozart, Einstein, or Picasso. The rest of us are left to stand around and gawk in awe at their achievements.


pages: 243 words: 65,374

How We Got to Now: Six Innovations That Made the Modern World by Steven Johnson

A. Roger Ekirch, Ada Lovelace, big-box store, British Empire, butterfly effect, clean water, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Danny Hillis, germ theory of disease, Hans Lippershey, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, indoor plumbing, interchangeable parts, invention of air conditioning, invention of the printing press, invention of the telescope, inventory management, Jacquard loom, John Snow's cholera map, Kevin Kelly, Live Aid, lone genius, Louis Pasteur, low earth orbit, Marshall McLuhan, mass immigration, megacity, Menlo Park, Murano, Venice glass, planetary scale, refrigerator car, Richard Feynman, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, the scientific method, transcontinental railway, Upton Sinclair, walkable city, women in the workforce

New York: Adapting the Brush Electric Light to the Illumination of the Streets, a Scene Near the Fifth Avenue Hotel. Why should we care whether Edison invented the lightbulb as a lone genius or as part of a wider network? For starters, if the invention of the lightbulb is going to be a canonical story of how new technologies come into being, we might as well tell an accurate story. But it’s more than just a matter of getting the facts right, because there are social and political implications to these kinds of stories. We know that one key driver of progress and standards of living is technological innovation. We know that we want to encourage the trends that took us from ten minutes of artificial light on one hour’s wage to three hundred days. If we think that innovation comes from a lone genius inventing a new technology from scratch, that model naturally steers us toward certain policy decisions, like stronger patent protection.

All these strands somehow converged to make Learning from Las Vegas—a book that architects and urban planners would study and debate for decades—even imaginable as an argument. No other book had as much influence on the postmodern style that would dominate art and architecture over the next two decades. Learning from Las Vegas gives us a clear case study in how the long-zoom approach reveals elements that are ignored by history’s traditional explanatory frameworks: economic or art history, or the “lone genius” model of innovation. When you ask the question of why postmodernism came about as a movement, on some fundamental level the answer has to include Georges Claude and his hundred liters of neon. Claude’s innovation wasn’t the only cause, by any means, but, in an alternate universe somehow stripped of neon lights, the emergence of postmodern architecture would have in all likelihood followed a different path.


pages: 128 words: 38,963

Longitude by Dava Sobel

Albert Einstein, British Empire, clockwork universe, Copley Medal, Dava Sobel, Edmond Halley, Ernest Rutherford, Fellow of the Royal Society, Isaac Newton, John Harrison: Longitude, lone genius

LONGITUDE The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time DAVA SOBEL Contents 1. Imaginary Lines 2. The Sea Before Time 3. Adrift in a Clockwork Universe 4. Time in a Bottle 5. Powder of Sympathy 6. The Prize 7. Cogmaker’s Journal 8. The Grasshopper Goes to Sea 9. Hands on Heaven’s Clock 10. The Diamond Timekeeper 11. Trial by Fire and Water 12. A Tale of Two Portraits 13. The Second Voyage of Captain James Cook 14. The Mass Production of Genius 15. In the Meridian Courtyard Acknowledgments Sources For my mother, Betty Gruber Sobel, a four-star navigator who can sail by the heavens but always drives by way of Canarsie. 1. Imaginary Lines When I’m playful I use the meridians of longitude and parallels of latitude for a seine, drag the Atlantic Ocean for whales.

No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Publisher. First published in the United States of America in 1995 by Walker Publishing Company, Inc. Published simultaneously in Canada by Thomas Allen & Son Canada, Limited, Markham, Ontario Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Sobel, Dava. Longitude : the true story of a lone genius who solved the greatest scientific problem of his time / Dava Sobel. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references. eISBN: 978-0-802-77943-4 1. Longitude—Measurement—History. 2. Harrison, John. 1693-1776. 3. Clock and watch makers—Great Britain—Biography. I. Title. QB225.S64 1995 526’.62’09—dc20 95-17402 CIP Illustration of H-4 on title page spread used by permission of the National Maritime Museum, London.


pages: 345 words: 84,847

The Runaway Species: How Human Creativity Remakes the World by David Eagleman, Anthony Brandt

active measures, Ada Lovelace, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Andrew Wiles, Burning Man, cloud computing, computer age, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, Dava Sobel, delayed gratification, Donald Trump, Douglas Hofstadter, en.wikipedia.org, Frank Gehry, Google Glasses, haute couture, informal economy, interchangeable parts, Isaac Newton, James Dyson, John Harrison: Longitude, John Markoff, lone genius, longitudinal study, Menlo Park, microbiome, Netflix Prize, new economy, New Journalism, pets.com, QWERTY keyboard, Ray Kurzweil, reversible computing, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, self-driving car, Simon Singh, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, the scientific method, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, wikimedia commons, X Prize

<http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/22/arts/design/the-clock-by-christian-marclay-comes-to-lincoln-center.html?_r=0> Smith, Tony. “Fifteen Years Ago: The First Mass-Produced GSM Phone.” Register. November 9, 2007. Accessed May 11, 2016. <http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/11/09/ft_nokia_1011/> Snelson, Robert. “X Prize Losers: Still in the Race, Not Doing Anything, or Too SeXy for The X Cup?” The Space Review. September 26, 2005. Sobel, Dava. Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time. New York: Walker, 1995. Soble, Jonathan. “Kenji Ekuan, 85; Gave Soy Sauce Its Graceful Curves.” New York Times. February 10, 2015. Soling, Cevin. “Can Any School Foster Pure Creativity?” Mind Shift. March 18, 2014. Accessed April 27, 2014. <http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift//2014/03/can-creativity-truly-be-fostered-in-classrooms-of-today/> Solomon, Maynard.

Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms: The Hemingway Library Edition (New York: Scribner, 2012). 3 Alex Osborn, Applied Imagination (Oxford: Scribner, 1953). 4 Matthew Schneier, “The Mad Scientists of Levi’s,” New York Times, November 5, 2015. 5 This technique is called parallel synthesis. It was developed by John Ellman and Michael Pavia, and builds on the work of earlier pioneers in combinatorial chemistry. 6 Thomas A. Edison, “The Phonograph and Its Future,” Scientific American 5, no. 124 (1878): 1973-4, <http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/scientificamerican05181878-1973supp> 7 Dava Sobel, Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time (New York: Walker, 1995). 8 Dava Sobel, Longitude. 9 Unfortunately, Harrison never received his due. To test whether Harrison’s elaborate design could be manufactured by others, the Board of Longitude commissioned another watchmaker named Larcum Kendall to make a copy. It took Kendall two and half years to complete it. Kendall’s knock-off, called the K-1, was indistinguishable from Harrison’s except for a more ornate backplate.

Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms: The Hemingway Library Edition (New York: Scribner, 2012). 3 Alex Osborn, Applied Imagination (Oxford: Scribner, 1953). 4 Matthew Schneier, “The Mad Scientists of Levi’s,” New York Times, November 5, 2015. 5 This technique is called parallel synthesis. It was developed by John Ellman and Michael Pavia, and builds on the work of earlier pioneers in combinatorial chemistry. 6 Thomas A. Edison, “The Phonograph and Its Future,” Scientific American 5, no. 124 (1878): 1973-4, <http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/scientificamerican05181878-1973supp> 7 Dava Sobel, Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time (New York: Walker, 1995). 8 Dava Sobel, Longitude. 9 Unfortunately, Harrison never received his due. To test whether Harrison’s elaborate design could be manufactured by others, the Board of Longitude commissioned another watchmaker named Larcum Kendall to make a copy. It took Kendall two and half years to complete it. Kendall’s knock-off, called the K-1, was indistinguishable from Harrison’s except for a more ornate backplate.


pages: 336 words: 90,749

How to Fix Copyright by William Patry

A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, barriers to entry, big-box store, borderless world, business cycle, business intelligence, citizen journalism, cloud computing, commoditize, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, death of newspapers, en.wikipedia.org, facts on the ground, Frederick Winslow Taylor, George Akerlof, Gordon Gekko, haute cuisine, informal economy, invisible hand, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, lone genius, means of production, moral panic, new economy, road to serfdom, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, semantic web, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, The Chicago School, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, winner-take-all economy, zero-sum game

If we permit others to copy from lone geniuses, the argument goes that we will have fewer of them. We therefore need the strongest copyright laws possible in order to provide the strongest protection for our superstars. Moreover, we need distributors to own the copyright in superstars’ works because it is distributors who know the markets and marketing, and know how to effectively make money for the superstars. The myth of the Lone Genius is a distributors’ myth that some artists buy into, but it ill-serves copyright and the majority of artists.37 Creativity is furthered not by limiting success to a few superstars, but by opening up audiences and the channels of distribution to the many. Culture is the result of sharing creative experiences, not walling creativity off as the province of only a select few. The hostility of gatekeepers to platforms like YouTube stems not from the existence of some unauthorized content on them, but rather from such platforms’ direct challenge to the superstar system.

In a statement that defines irony, the Walt Disney-created product Miley Cyrus dismissed thirteenyear-old songwriter and performer Rebecca Black (whose song “Friday” achieved a worldwide audience thanks to YouTube) by claiming, “It should be harder to be an artist.You shouldn’t just be able to put a song on YouTube and go out on tour.”39 This posture against creativity by the many shows how the “marketplace is egalitarian” argument is false.The marketplace for copyrighted products is one of deliberate scarcity, in which our place is as passive consumers, not as creators. We are supposed to 90 HOW TO FIX COPYRIGHT show our respect for the lonely geniuses by consuming their products, and by recognizing that their genius requires us not to create and certainly not to copy from them, since we cannot be like them. Creativity is served, however, not by prohibiting copying, but by encouraging it: as often as possible, by as many as possible. The myth of the Lone Genius drives a stake through the heart of the central, actual requirement for creativity to flourish: the ability to copy. If policymakers truly want to increase creativity, then they must greatly liberalize the ability of one person to transformatively copy from another.40 CREATIVITY IS BASED ON COPYING If we genuinely want to encourage creativity, we must encourage copying. This approach is consistent with copyright’s history, although one would never know this from current perceptions.

A Remix Manifesto, Eyesteel Film and National Film Board of Canada, 2009, http://nfb.ca/rip_a_remix_manifesto/. November 16, 2010, available at: http://www.npr.org/2010/11/15/ 131334322/the-fresh-air-interview-jay-z-decoded. The Rza, The Wu-Tang Manual 192 (2005). See Olufunmilayo Arewa, The Freedom to Copy: Copyright, Creation and Context, 41 University of California at Davis Law Review 477 (2007). Alfonso Montouri and Ronald Purser, Deconstructing the Lone Genius Myth:Toward a Contextual View of Creativity, 35 Journal of Humanistic Psychology 69, 82 (1995). The U.S. Copyright Act defines “derivative work” as: A “derivative work” is a work based upon one or more preexisting works, such as a translation, musical arrangement, dramatization, fictionalization, motion picture version, sound recording, art reproduction, abridgment, condensation, or any other form in which a work may be recast, transformed, or adapted.


Software Design Decoded: 66 Ways Experts Think by Marian Petre, André van Der Hoek, Yen Quach

database schema, lone genius

Experts are not satisfied with just any abstraction, they deliberately seek elegant abstractions through which complex structures can be introduced, understood, and referred to efficiently. 5 6 Experts use metaphor Experts frequently use metaphor to discuss parts of a design and how it works. By invoking metaphor, a more vivid and immediately available picture is evoked of some aspects of the software, which particularly benefits collaborative design work in quickly and succinctly communicating ideas and assumptions. Experts collaborate 7 Experts prefer working with others To experts, the image of the designer as a lone genius who has flashes of brilliance is a fallacy. Experts know that stimulation through working with others is key to their own design performance. Moments of surprising or deep insight do happen, but experts know that those moments are more likely in a rich, collaborative environment. 8 Experts reach out Experts deliberately involve others outside of their team when they have a purpose for doing so, often to obtain specialized technical or domain knowledge.


pages: 389 words: 112,319

Think Like a Rocket Scientist by Ozan Varol

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, airport security, Albert Einstein, Amazon Web Services, Andrew Wiles, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Arthur Eddington, autonomous vehicles, Ben Horowitz, Cal Newport, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, Colonization of Mars, dark matter, delayed gratification, different worldview, discovery of DNA, double helix, Elon Musk, fear of failure, functional fixedness, Gary Taubes, George Santayana, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Inbox Zero, index fund, Isaac Newton, James Dyson, Jeff Bezos, job satisfaction, Johannes Kepler, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, late fees, lateral thinking, lone genius, longitudinal study, Louis Pasteur, low earth orbit, Marc Andreessen, Mars Rover, meta analysis, meta-analysis, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, multiplanetary species, obamacare, Occam's razor, out of africa, Peter Thiel, Pluto: dwarf planet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, Ronald Reagan, Sam Altman, Schrödinger's Cat, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Simon Singh, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas Malthus, Upton Sinclair, Vilfredo Pareto, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, Whole Earth Catalog, women in the workforce, Yogi Berra

As we’ll see in the next section, when people from different disciplines are combined, the result is more than the sum of their parts. The Myth of the Lone Genius “These rovers are so complicated that no one understands them.” This might strike you as an odd statement coming from Steve Squyres, the principal investigator of the 2003 Mars Exploration Rovers project. He led the team responsible for dreaming up the rovers, devising the onboard instruments, and operating them on the Martian surface. But even to Squyres, the rovers are “too complicated for a single person to wrap their head around completely.” The understanding comes not individually, but as part of the collective brain. We often fetishize the lone genius toiling away in the garage—whether it’s Bowerman tinkering with his waffle iron in his own garage or Jobs building the first Apple computer from the garage of his family home.

Alice’s input convinced her father to write a £ 2,500 check to Rowling as a meager advance for acquiring the rights to publish her book. The rest is history. What gave Newton the multimillion-pound edge was his willingness to get the opinion of his daughter—an outsider to the publishing industry, but a member of the target audience for the book. This isn’t to suggest that all original ideas come from beginners. To the contrary, expertise is valuable in idea generation, but experts shouldn’t work in complete isolation, the lone genius lore be damned. Experts also benefit from intermittent periods of collaboration, particularly when amateurs are brought into the mix. IT DOESN’T TAKE a genius polymath to devise thought experiments. All it takes is a desire to collect apples and oranges, the patience to sit in boredom while your subconscious compares and connects them, and a willingness to expose the new fruits to others—whether it’s the scientists on your engineering team or your eight-year-old daughter.


pages: 266 words: 87,411

The Slow Fix: Solve Problems, Work Smarter, and Live Better in a World Addicted to Speed by Carl Honore

Albert Einstein, Atul Gawande, Broken windows theory, call centre, Checklist Manifesto, clean water, clockwatching, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, Dava Sobel, delayed gratification, drone strike, Enrique Peñalosa, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ernest Rutherford, Exxon Valdez, fundamental attribution error, game design, income inequality, index card, invention of the printing press, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, John Harrison: Longitude, lateral thinking, lone genius, medical malpractice, microcredit, Netflix Prize, planetary scale, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Skype, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, ultimatum game, urban renewal, War on Poverty

Even in team sports we shower the superstars with prizes and praise. Study after study shows that when explaining events we tend to put too much emphasis on the role of individual agency and not enough on circumstances, a phenomenon dubbed the Fundamental Attribution Error. That is why we routinely assume CEOs have more power to shape the fortunes of their companies than all the research suggests. We certainly love the idea of the lone genius, the solo expert toiling away in solitude before finally shrieking “Eureka!” and emerging into the sunlight clutching a fully-formed solution to a problem. It’s simple. It’s romantic. It’s thrilling. But often it’s wide of the mark. Even before the modern era the best ideas seldom sprang whole from a single mind; rather, they were the fruit of cross-fertilisation among various minds. Who invented the light bulb?

Chapter 9 – Crowdsource: The Wisdom of the Masses Wutbürger as German word of the year: Full list available from German Language Society at http://www.gfds.de/aktionen/wort-des-jahres/ Guessing the weight of an ox: James Surowiecki, The Wisdom of Crowds (New York: Random, 2005), pp. xii-xiii. Pinpointing vessel lost at sea: Surowiecki, The Wisdom of Crowds, pp. xx-xxi. Public identifies Mars craters: Surowiecki, The Wisdom of Crowds, p. 276. Diversity Trumps Ability Theorem: Based on my interview with Scott Page. John Harrison: For the whole story check out Dava Sobel, Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time (London: Fourth Estate, 1998). Teenager invents method for detecting pancreatic cancer: Jake Andraka won first place at the 2012 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF), a program of the Society for Science and the Public. IBM idea jams: From the company website at https://www.collaborationjam.com/ Netflix offers $1 million prize: “Innovation Prizes – And the Winner Is,” Economist, 5 August 2010.


pages: 294 words: 81,292

Our Final Invention: Artificial Intelligence and the End of the Human Era by James Barrat

AI winter, AltaVista, Amazon Web Services, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, Automated Insights, Bayesian statistics, Bernie Madoff, Bill Joy: nanobots, brain emulation, cellular automata, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, cloud computing, cognitive bias, commoditize, computer vision, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Danny Hillis, data acquisition, don't be evil, drone strike, Extropian, finite state, Flash crash, friendly AI, friendly fire, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, Loebner Prize, lone genius, mutually assured destruction, natural language processing, Nicholas Carr, optical character recognition, PageRank, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, prisoner's dilemma, Ray Kurzweil, Rodney Brooks, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, semantic web, Silicon Valley, Singularitarianism, Skype, smart grid, speech recognition, statistical model, stealth mode startup, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strong AI, Stuxnet, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, Thomas Bayes, traveling salesman, Turing machine, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, zero day

Furthermore, even if it were a low probability event, its risk factor should promote it to the front tier of our attention. Put another way, I believe the Busy Child will come very soon. The fear of being outsmarted by greater-than-human intelligence is an old one, but early in this century a sophisticated experiment about it came out of Silicon Valley, and instantly became the stuff of Internet legend. The rumor went like this: a lone genius had engaged in a series of high-stakes bets in a scenario he called the AI-Box Experiment. In the experiment, the genius role-played the part of the AI. An assortment of dot-com millionaires each took a turn as the Gatekeeper—an AI maker confronted with the dilemma of guarding and containing smarter-than-human AI. The AI and Gatekeeper would communicate through an online chat room. Using only a keyboard, it was said, the man posing as the ASI escaped every time, and won each bet.

MIRI invites talks from believers and nonbelievers alike, people who don’t think the Singularity will ever happen, and people who think MIRI is an apocalyptic techno cult. Vassar smiled at the cult idea. “People who come to work for MIRI are the opposite of joiners. Usually they realize AI’s dangers before they even know MIRI exists.” I didn’t know MIRI existed until after I’d heard about the AI-Box Experiment. A friend had told me about it, but in the telling he got a lot wrong about the lone genius and his millionaire opponents. I tracked the story to a MIRI Web site, and discovered that the experiment’s creator, Eliezer Yudkowsky, had cofounded MIRI (then called the Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence) with entrepreneurs Brian and Sabine Atkins. Despite his reputed reticence, Yudkowsky and I exchanged e-mails and he gave me the straight dope about the experiment. The bets placed between the AI played by Yudkowsky and the Gatekeeper assigned to rein him in were at most thousands of dollars, not millions.


pages: 499 words: 144,278

Coders: The Making of a New Tribe and the Remaking of the World by Clive Thompson

2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, 4chan, 8-hour work day, Ada Lovelace, AI winter, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, Asperger Syndrome, augmented reality, Ayatollah Khomeini, barriers to entry, basic income, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, blockchain, blue-collar work, Brewster Kahle, Brian Krebs, Broken windows theory, call centre, cellular automata, Chelsea Manning, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, computer vision, Conway's Game of Life, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Danny Hillis, David Heinemeier Hansson, don't be evil, don't repeat yourself, Donald Trump, dumpster diving, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ernest Rutherford, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, Firefox, Frederick Winslow Taylor, game design, glass ceiling, Golden Gate Park, Google Hangouts, Google X / Alphabet X, Grace Hopper, Guido van Rossum, Hacker Ethic, HyperCard, illegal immigration, ImageNet competition, Internet Archive, Internet of things, Jane Jacobs, John Markoff, Jony Ive, Julian Assange, Kickstarter, Larry Wall, lone genius, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Shuttleworth, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, microservices, Minecraft, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Nate Silver, Network effects, neurotypical, Nicholas Carr, Oculus Rift, PageRank, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, pink-collar, planetary scale, profit motive, ransomware, recommendation engine, Richard Stallman, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rubik’s Cube, Ruby on Rails, Sam Altman, Satoshi Nakamoto, Saturday Night Live, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, single-payer health, Skype, smart contracts, Snapchat, social software, software is eating the world, sorting algorithm, South of Market, San Francisco, speech recognition, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, TaskRabbit, the High Line, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, universal basic income, urban planning, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce, Y Combinator, Zimmermann PGP, éminence grise

Then the students were given written job evaluations for a hypothetical male employee and a female employee, who had identical and positive evaluations. When the MBA students were told the company was “meritocratic,” they gave the men 12 percent higher bonuses. Why? Because, the scholars suspect, when you prime someone with the idea of meritocracy, it seems to give them permission to act on their internal biases—evoking, it would seem, the cultural idea of the man as more likely to be the lone genius. Is it possible to reverse the historic shift of women out of coding? Back in the ’90s, CMU’s Allan Fisher decided to try. Impressed by Jane Margolis’s findings, he and the faculty instituted several changes designed to break the confidence-destroying loop of neophytes who’d glance around their first classroom, worry they’d never catch up with their confident teen-hacker peers, and begin the slow drift toward leaving.

unironic, literal concept: Michael Young, “Down with Meritocracy,” Guardian, June 28, 2001, accessed August 19, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2001/jun/29/comment. like math or philosophy—they’re not: Sarah-Jane Leslie, Andrei Cimpian, Meredith Meyer, and Edward Freeland, “Expectations of Brilliance Underlie Gender Distributions across Academic Disciplines,” Science 347, no. 6219 (January 16, 2015): 262–65. to be the lone genius: Emilio J. Castilla and Stephen Benard, “The Paradox of Meritocracy in Organizations,” Administrative Science Quarterly 55 (2010): 543–76. match those of the men: Margolis and Fisher, Unlocking the Clubhouse, location 1620 of 2083, Kindle. Using Computational Approaches: Laura Sydell, “Colleges Have Increased Women Computer Science Majors: What Can Google Learn?,” NPR All Tech Considered, August 10, 2017, accessed August 19, 2018, https://www.npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/2017/08/10/542638758/colleges-have-increased-women-computer-science-majors-what-can-google-learn.

See minority coders law/lawyers, ref1 Lazowska, Ed, ref1 LBGT tech employees, ref1 LDX, ref1 LeapChat.org, ref1 LeCun, Yann, ref1 Lee, Cynthia, ref1, ref2 Lee, Jennifer 8, ref1 Lee, Kai-Fu, ref1, ref2 Legend of Zelda, The (game), ref1 Leibniz, Gottfried, ref1 Leopold, Jason, ref1 Leslie, Sarah Jane, ref1 Levchin, Max, ref1, ref2 Levy, Josh, ref1 Levy, Steven, ref1, ref2, ref3 Lewis, Clayton, ref1 Li, Fei-Fei, ref1 libertarianism, in coding community, ref1, ref2, ref3 Lichterman, Ruth, ref1 Like button (Facebook), ref1 LINC, ref1 Linux, ref1, ref2 LiveJournal, ref1 Loewenstern, Andrew, ref1 Logic, ref1 lone genius working feverishly stereotype. See 10X coders Lopp, Michael, ref1 Losse, Kate, ref1 Lotus Notes, ref1 Lovelace, Ada, ref1 Lucy Parsons Lab, ref1 Lund, Kátia, ref1 Lyft, ref1 McCarthy, John, ref1 McClure, Dave, ref1 McFarlane, Jill, ref1 McKellar, Jessica, ref1 McNulty, Kathleen, ref1 Madison, James, ref1 Magic Leap, ref1 Malhotra, Neil, ref1 malware, ref1 Manning, Chelsea, ref1 MapReduce, ref1 Margolis, Jane, ref1, ref2 Marlinspike, Moxie, ref1 Martínez, Antonio Garcia, ref1 Martiros, Hayk, ref1 Mason, Hilary, ref1, ref2, ref3 Masters of Deception, ref1 Matrix, The (film), ref1, ref2, ref3 May, Tim, ref1, ref2 Meebo, ref1 Meituan, ref1 #metoo, ref1 mental health issues, ref1 meritocracy myth, ref1, ref2 “brilliant jerk” downside of worship of coder merit, ref1 code as arbiter of what is great, ref1, ref2 as coping mechanism for high school/corporate life social orders, ref1 fortune, role of, ref1 great ideas, value of, ref1 Levchin/PayPal and, ref1 open source software and, ref1, ref2 PayPal and, ref1, ref2 political views of coders and (See politics, of coders) provenance of, ref1 self-taught individuals, acceptance of, ref1, ref2 side effects of belief in, ref1 10x coders and, ref1, ref2, ref3 women and minorities, lack of, ref1 Zuckerberg on, ref1 Metasploit, ref1 Microsoft, ref1, ref2, ref3 microtargeting, ref1 Miller, Robyn, ref1 Minecraft, ref1 minority coders bifurcation in pay and prestige of coding jobs available to, ref1 computer science degree drop-out rates, in 1980s onward, ref1 hostile work environment encountered by, ref1, ref2 lack of, ref1, ref2 LBGT employees, harassment faced by, ref1 mistaken for security or housekeeping personnel, ref1 percentage in workplace, 2017, ref1 Mirai botnet, ref1 MIT AI lab hackers, in 1960s and early 1970s, ref1 privacy versus secrecy clashes at, in 1960s and 1970s, ref1 Wilkes’ early work at Lincoln Labs, ref1 “Mixing Math and Motherhood” (Businessweek), ref1 moderators, ref1 Molnar, Charles, ref1 Moses, Robert, ref1 Moskovitz, Dustin, ref1 Mozilla, ref1 Mr.


pages: 398 words: 100,679

The Knowledge: How to Rebuild Our World From Scratch by Lewis Dartnell

agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, clean water, Dava Sobel, decarbonisation, discovery of penicillin, Dmitri Mendeleev, global village, Haber-Bosch Process, invention of movable type, invention of radio, invention of writing, iterative process, James Watt: steam engine, John Harrison: Longitude, lone genius, low earth orbit, mass immigration, nuclear winter, off grid, Richard Feynman, technology bubble, the scientific method, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, trade route

Leblanc process, early industrial pollution, Solvay processes: Deighton (1907), Reilly (1951), Mokyr (1990). William Crookes quote: Standage (2010). nitrogen gas is the least reactive diatomic substance: Schrock (2006). Haber-Bosch process: Standage (2010), Kean (2010), Perkins (1977), Edgerton (2007a). 12: TIME AND PLACE Adam Frank, About Time: Cosmology and Culture at the Twilight of the Big Bang. Eric Bruton, The History of Clocks & Watches. Dava Sobel, Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time. Epigraph: Denis Diderot as quoted by Goodman (1995). constancy of sand time (hourglass) compared to water clock: Bruton (2000). sundials: Oleson (2008). Manhattan as a city-size Stonehenge: Astronomy Picture of the Day, July 12, 2006, http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap060712.html. mechanical clocks: Usher (1982), Bruton (2000), Gribbin (2002), Frank (2011). 60 seconds, 60 minutes, 24 hours: Crump (2001), Frank (2011).

Appropriate Technology for Water Supply and Sanitation: Night-soil Composting. (ATL 17-389) Washington, DC: The World Bank. Silverman, Steve. 2001. Einstein’s Refrigerator: And Other Stories from the Flip Side of History. Kansas City, MO: Andrews McMeel Publishing. Smith, Gerald. 2009. “The Chemistry of Historically Important Black Inks, Paints and Dyes.” Chemistry Eduction in New Zealand, (May): 12–15. Sobel, Dava. 1995. Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time. New York: Walker & Company. Solomon, Steven. 2011. Water: The Epic Struggle for Wealth, Power, and Civilization. New York: Harper Perennial. Solomon, Susan, Gian-Kasper Plattner, Reto Knutti, and Pierre Friedlingstein. 2009. “Irreversible Climate Change Due to Carbon Dioxide Emissions.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 106 (6): 1704–09.


pages: 185 words: 43,609

Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel, Blake Masters

Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Andrew Wiles, Andy Kessler, Berlin Wall, cleantech, cloud computing, crony capitalism, discounted cash flows, diversified portfolio, don't be evil, Elon Musk, eurozone crisis, income inequality, Jeff Bezos, Lean Startup, life extension, lone genius, Long Term Capital Management, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, minimum viable product, Nate Silver, Network effects, new economy, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, pets.com, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, self-driving car, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Singularitarianism, software is eating the world, Steve Jobs, strong AI, Ted Kaczynski, Tesla Model S, uber lyft, Vilfredo Pareto, working poor

The easiest explanation for this is negative: it’s hard to develop new things in big organizations, and it’s even harder to do it by yourself. Bureaucratic hierarchies move slowly, and entrenched interests shy away from risk. In the most dysfunctional organizations, signaling that work is being done becomes a better strategy for career advancement than actually doing work (if this describes your company, you should quit now). At the other extreme, a lone genius might create a classic work of art or literature, but he could never create an entire industry. Startups operate on the principle that you need to work with other people to get stuff done, but you also need to stay small enough so that you actually can. Positively defined, a startup is the largest group of people you can convince of a plan to build a different future. A new company’s most important strength is new thinking: even more important than nimbleness, small size affords space to think.


pages: 184 words: 53,625

Future Perfect: The Case for Progress in a Networked Age by Steven Johnson

Airbus A320, airport security, algorithmic trading, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bernie Sanders, call centre, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, Cass Sunstein, Charles Lindbergh, cognitive dissonance, credit crunch, crowdsourcing, dark matter, Dava Sobel, David Brooks, Donald Davies, future of journalism, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, HyperCard, Jane Jacobs, John Gruber, John Harrison: Longitude, Joi Ito, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, lone genius, Mark Zuckerberg, mega-rich, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Naomi Klein, Nate Silver, Occupy movement, packet switching, peer-to-peer, Peter Thiel, planetary scale, pre–internet, RAND corporation, risk tolerance, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, social graph, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Tim Cook: Apple, urban planning, US Airways Flight 1549, WikiLeaks, William Langewiesche, working poor, X Prize, your tax dollars at work

For more on the Royal Society of Arts, see A History of the Royal Society of Arts, by Henry Trueman Wood, and Joseph Banks and the English Enlightenment: Useful Knowledge and Polite Culture, by John Gascoigne. On the innovation threat posed by intellectual property restrictions, see Lawrence Lessig’s The Future of Ideas, and my own Where Good Ideas Come From. Ayn Rand’s views on patents come from an essay, “Patents and Copyrights,” included in the collection Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal. John Harrison’s story is told in Dava Sobel’s popular Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time. Beth Noveck’s inspirational work with crowdsourced patent review, dubbed “peer to patent,” is described in her WikiGovernment. For more on Jon Schnur and the origin and implementation of the Race to the Top program, see Steve Brill’s entertaining Class Warfare: Inside the Fight to Fix America’s Schools. Interviews with both Noveck and Schnur are included in an anthology I edited, The Innovator’s Cookbook.


What Went Wrong? Western Impact and Middle Eastern Response by Bernard Lewis

Ayatollah Khomeini, British Empire, colonial rule, European colonialism, lone genius, spice trade, women in the workforce

The same qualities may be seen, in a more obvious form, in the work of the historian, and indeed distinguishes his writing from that of the chronicler or annalist. All these involve some degree of harmonization—by the novelist or playwright, the party leader or team captain, the composer and conductor. The same applies, perhaps with even greater force, to modern scientific research, which is no longer the preserve of the lone genius, but has come to rely increasingly on teamwork and organization. Modern science has extended our capacity to observe and to measure both time and space to a previously inconceivable degree, extending the scale from the nanosecond to the light year. Polyphony, in whatever form, requires exact synchronization. The ability to synchronize, to match times exactly, and for this purpose to measure times exactly, is an essential feature of modernity and therefore a requirement of modernization.


pages: 210 words: 56,667

The Misfit Economy: Lessons in Creativity From Pirates, Hackers, Gangsters and Other Informal Entrepreneurs by Alexa Clay, Kyra Maya Phillips

Airbnb, Alfred Russel Wallace, Berlin Wall, Burning Man, collaborative consumption, conceptual framework, creative destruction, different worldview, disruptive innovation, double helix, fear of failure, game design, Hacker Ethic, Howard Rheingold, informal economy, invention of the steam engine, James Watt: steam engine, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, lone genius, Mark Zuckerberg, mass incarceration, megacity, Occupy movement, peer-to-peer rental, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, union organizing, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, Zipcar

A misfit alone is a recluse, alienated and cut off from the world. A misfit with a tight community can be far more influential. In 1921 the young aspiring American writer Ernest Hemingway moved to Paris, where he faced poverty, drank himself senseless, fell deeply in and out of love, and, having found his voice as a writer, became a true innovator of the written word. But Hemingway’s transformation isn’t a story of lone genius; like many an innovator, he owed a substantial debt to a collective, notably the expatriates who gathered in Paris in the 1920s. Beyond the myth of rugged individualism surrounding him, Hemingway benefited from the commitment, mentoring, and support of this small group of people—an entourage, if you will. While our modern culture tends to associate the word with celebrities and motorcades, the pure definition is more commonplace, referring not to the rank or importance of the person at the center of the circle but instead to “one’s associates” or (from the Old French entour) “one’s surroundings.”


pages: 580 words: 168,476

The Price of Inequality: How Today's Divided Society Endangers Our Future by Joseph E. Stiglitz

"Robert Solow", affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, airline deregulation, Andrei Shleifer, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Basel III, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, business cycle, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, central bank independence, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collective bargaining, colonial rule, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Dava Sobel, declining real wages, deskilling, Exxon Valdez, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Flash crash, framing effect, full employment, George Akerlof, Gini coefficient, income inequality, income per capita, indoor plumbing, inflation targeting, information asymmetry, invisible hand, jobless men, John Harrison: Longitude, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Kenneth Arrow, Kenneth Rogoff, London Interbank Offered Rate, lone genius, low skilled workers, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, market fundamentalism, mass incarceration, medical bankruptcy, microcredit, moral hazard, mortgage tax deduction, negative equity, obamacare, offshore financial centre, paper trading, Pareto efficiency, patent troll, Paul Samuelson, payday loans, price stability, profit maximization, profit motive, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, short selling, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, spectrum auction, Steve Jobs, technology bubble, The Chicago School, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, The Myth of the Rational Market, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, trade liberalization, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, ultimatum game, uranium enrichment, very high income, We are the 99%, wealth creators, women in the workforce, zero-sum game

Providing better social protection can help create a more dynamic economy. The adverse effects of so-called incentive pay The Right, like many economists, tends to overestimate the benefits and underestimate the costs of incentive pay. There are certainly contexts in which monetary prizes have the potential to focus minds on a thorny problem and deliver a solution. A famous example is detailed in Dava Sobel’s Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time. As she reports, in the Longitude Act of 1714, the British Parliament set “a prize equal to a king’s ransom (several million dollars in today’s currency) for a ‘Practicable and Useful’ means of determining longitude.” This was critical to the success of transoceanic navigation. John Harrison, a watchmaker with no formal education but a mechanical genius, devoted his life to this quest and ultimately claimed the prize in 1773.55 However, it is a great leap from the power of monetary incentives to focus minds on a great quest to the idea that monetary incentives are the key to high performance in general.

Wealth in the form of collateral plays a kind of catalytic role rather than a role of input that gets used up in the process of producing output. See K. Hoff, “Market Failures and the Distribution of Wealth: A Perspective from the Economics of Information,” Politics and Society 24, no. 4 (1996): 411–32; and Hoff, “The Second Theorem of the Second Best,” Journal of Public Economics 25 (1994): 223–42. 55. The exciting story is told in the bestseller by Dava Sobel, Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time (New York: Walker, 1995). 56. Technically, the problems with incentive pay arise when there are information asymmetries. The employer doesn’t fully know the quality of the products produced by the worker (otherwise, he would specify that). In a trial, the judge and jury worry that the strength of an expert’s opinion might be affected if his compensation depended on the outcome of the trial. 57.


pages: 223 words: 63,484

Making Ideas Happen: Overcoming the Obstacles Between Vision and Reality by Scott Belsky

centralized clearinghouse, index card, lone genius, market bubble, Merlin Mann, New Journalism, Results Only Work Environment, rolodex, side project, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, supply-chain management, Tim Cook: Apple, Tony Hsieh, young professional

Your mind was held in suspense all the time, you spurred the others on to sincere, disinterested inquiry and were spurred on yourself, you laid in a stock of enthusiasm that kept you going for weeks on end until you could give final form to the idea you had in mind. You always went home afterwards better steeled for the fray, with a new sense of purpose and a clearer head.4 Despite prevailing notions of the lone genius, this story of how the Impressionists, a circle of friends, spurred each other on to achieve major breakthroughs in the world of painting is more common than you might think. Circles like this play a critical role in making ideas happen across creative industries. In some cases, the use of circles has been institutionalized, while in others, formal circles are nonexistent. Regardless, circles are relevant and hugely beneficial for all leaders with ideas.


pages: 799 words: 187,221

Leonardo Da Vinci by Walter Isaacson

Ada Lovelace, Albert Einstein, Bonfire of the Vanities, Commentariolus, crowdsourcing, double entry bookkeeping, double helix, en.wikipedia.org, game design, iterative process, lone genius, New Journalism, Steve Jobs, the scientific method, urban planning, wikimedia commons

Leonardo drew a moral: “This is what happens to those who leave a life of solitary contemplation and choose to come to dwell in cities among people full of infinite evil.”2 His notebooks have many other maxims praising the countryside and solitude. “Leave your family and friends and go over the mountains and valleys into the country,” he instructed aspiring painters. “While you are alone you are entirely your own master.”3 These paeans to country living are romantic and, for those who cherish the image of lonely genius, quite appealing. But they are infused with fantasy. Leonardo would spend almost all of his career in Florence, Milan, and Rome, crowded centers of creativity and commerce, usually surrounded by students, companions, and patrons. He rarely retreated alone to the countryside for an extended period of solitude. Like many artists, he was stimulated by being with people of diverse interests and (willing to contradict himself in his notebooks) declared, “Drawing in company is much better than alone.”4 The impulses of his grandfather and uncle, who both practiced the quiet country life, were imprinted in Leonardo’s imagination but not practiced in his life.

No matter how hard the rich and powerful marchesa Isabella d’Este begged, Leonardo would not paint her portrait. But he did begin one of a silk-merchant’s wife named Lisa. He did it because he wanted to, and he kept working on it for the rest of his life, never delivering it to the silk merchant. Collaborate. Genius is often considered the purview of loners who retreat to their garrets and are struck by creative lightning. Like many myths, that of the lone genius has some truth to it. But there’s usually more to the story. The Madonnas and drapery studies produced in Verrocchio’s studio, and the versions of Virgin of the Rocks and Madonna of the Yarnwinder and other paintings from Leonardo’s studio, were created in such a collaborative manner that it is hard to tell whose hand made which strokes. Vitruvian Man was produced after sharing ideas and sketches with friends.


pages: 361 words: 76,849

The Year Without Pants: Wordpress.com and the Future of Work by Scott Berkun

barriers to entry, blue-collar work, Broken windows theory, en.wikipedia.org, Firefox, future of work, Google Hangouts, Jane Jacobs, job satisfaction, Lean Startup, lone genius, Mark Zuckerberg, minimum viable product, post-work, remote working, Results Only Work Environment, Richard Stallman, Seaside, Florida, side project, Silicon Valley, six sigma, Skype, stealth mode startup, Steve Jobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the map is not the territory, Tony Hsieh, trade route, zero-sum game

And since there are people working from nearly every time zone in the world, there was always someone online to help with a problem or joke around with when you're working. One of the accounts I needed to set up had a problem, so Hanni handed me off to Barry Abrahamson, the benevolent lord of all of WordPress.com's systems. If you imagine a secret underground bunker with endless rows of humming web servers and a lone genius conjuring spells to keep it all running, that's Barry. The only difference is there is no bunker. And no rows of servers, at least not in his presence. All the machinery used to power WordPress.com is housed in data centers around the United States, and Barry controls everything from his home in Texas. He's among the most important people in the company, since all the work everyone else does depends on the systems he manages so well.


pages: 267 words: 72,552

Reinventing Capitalism in the Age of Big Data by Viktor Mayer-Schönberger, Thomas Ramge

accounting loophole / creative accounting, Air France Flight 447, Airbnb, Alvin Roth, Atul Gawande, augmented reality, banking crisis, basic income, Bayesian statistics, bitcoin, blockchain, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, centralized clearinghouse, Checklist Manifesto, cloud computing, cognitive bias, conceptual framework, creative destruction, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, double entry bookkeeping, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ford paid five dollars a day, Frederick Winslow Taylor, fundamental attribution error, George Akerlof, gig economy, Google Glasses, information asymmetry, interchangeable parts, invention of the telegraph, inventory management, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, land reform, lone genius, low cost airline, low cost carrier, Marc Andreessen, market bubble, market design, market fundamentalism, means of production, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, multi-sided market, natural language processing, Network effects, Norbert Wiener, offshore financial centre, Parag Khanna, payday loans, peer-to-peer lending, Peter Thiel, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, price anchoring, price mechanism, purchasing power parity, random walk, recommendation engine, Richard Thaler, ride hailing / ride sharing, Sam Altman, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, smart grid, smart meter, Snapchat, statistical model, Steve Jobs, technoutopianism, The Future of Employment, The Market for Lemons, The Nature of the Firm, transaction costs, universal basic income, William Langewiesche, Y Combinator

It also required more than 300,000 mathematicians, physicists, biologists, chemists, engineers, and mechanics spread across dozens of labs, each playing his or her own small part, from developing a menu of foods to sustain people in zero gravity to setting up a communications link between the lunar module, mission control, and the White House to crafting the parachute that safely brought the astronauts home to the blue marble of Earth. Similarly, the construction of the Large Hadron Collider, which in 2012 detected the Higgs boson and helped solidify the Standard Model of particle physics, involved more than 10,000 scientists from over one hundred countries. We do not unravel the mysteries of our universe and our existence through the work of a single lone genius but rather through collaboration among many other individuals. As one of Linnaeus’s students put it, “He who holds the chain of things looks with grace upon each link.” The varieties of human coordination are as diverse as human populations, from the web of reciprocal responsibilities and duties within a social network of family and kinship to the centralized command and control of an army to the collaborative peer production of encyclopedic projects and scientific experiments.


pages: 298 words: 81,200

Where Good Ideas Come from: The Natural History of Innovation by Steven Johnson

Ada Lovelace, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, carbon-based life, Cass Sunstein, cleantech, complexity theory, conceptual framework, cosmic microwave background, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, data acquisition, digital Maoism, digital map, discovery of DNA, Dmitri Mendeleev, double entry bookkeeping, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Drosophila, Edmond Halley, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Ernest Rutherford, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, greed is good, Hans Lippershey, Henri Poincaré, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, hypertext link, invention of air conditioning, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, invention of the telephone, Isaac Newton, Islamic Golden Age, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, Johannes Kepler, John Snow's cholera map, Joseph Schumpeter, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Kevin Kelly, lone genius, Louis Daguerre, Louis Pasteur, Mason jar, mass immigration, Mercator projection, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, online collectivism, packet switching, PageRank, patent troll, pattern recognition, price mechanism, profit motive, Ray Oldenburg, Richard Florida, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, side project, Silicon Valley, silicon-based life, six sigma, Solar eclipse in 1919, spinning jenny, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Great Good Place, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, transaction costs, urban planning

It Takes a Nation went on to become one of the most sonically influential records of its decade, reverberating through the wider culture—in everything from cell phone jingles to billboard chart-toppers to avant-garde experimentation—just as Highway 61 Revisited and Pet Sounds had done a generation before. Eno’s original innovation was brilliant, to be sure, and from a distance it almost looks like the classic “lone genius” eureka moment: the innovator locked away in his lab, stumbling across an idea that would transform the wider culture. But it is crucial to the story that Eno was not, technically speaking, alone with his tape recorder: he was tapped into a network of wildly different voices, all of them ranting at different frequencies. Eno didn’t need a coffeehouse. He had AM radio. In the late nineties, a Stanford Business School professor named Martin Ruef decided to investigate the relationship between business innovation and diversity.


pages: 313 words: 84,312

We-Think: Mass Innovation, Not Mass Production by Charles Leadbeater

1960s counterculture, Andrew Keen, barriers to entry, bioinformatics, c2.com, call centre, citizen journalism, clean water, cloud computing, complexity theory, congestion charging, death of newspapers, Debian, digital Maoism, disruptive innovation, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, frictionless, frictionless market, future of work, game design, Google Earth, Google X / Alphabet X, Hacker Ethic, Hernando de Soto, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, interchangeable parts, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, Jean Tirole, jimmy wales, Johannes Kepler, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Joi Ito, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, lateral thinking, lone genius, M-Pesa, Mark Shuttleworth, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, microcredit, Mitch Kapor, new economy, Nicholas Carr, online collectivism, planetary scale, post scarcity, Richard Stallman, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, slashdot, social web, software patent, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the market place, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Whole Earth Catalog, Zipcar

Guitar 90 did not have to ask Funtwo’s permission to take his video from the Mule and upload it to YouTube. None of the thousands of people who have created their own versions of the video, by impersonating, imitating and adapting Funtwo’s work asked permission. They just did it. Nothing was planned or scheduled months in advance. As with most things that get big on the web the video was not the work of a lone genius. Funtwo opened a window on a global micro community of classically trained electric guitar players who avidly play, share and comment on each other’s work. These guitarists are classic Pro Ams: they play for the love of it, not for money or fame, but they play to extremely high standards, enthusiastically learning from one another. It is now easier than ever for Pro Ams in many fields to create, publish and share content – whether in the form of music, film, software or text.


pages: 288 words: 85,073

Factfulness: Ten Reasons We're Wrong About the World – and Why Things Are Better Than You Think by Hans Rosling, Ola Rosling, Anna Rosling Rönnlund

animal electricity, clean water, colonial rule, en.wikipedia.org, energy transition, first square of the chessboard, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, global pandemic, Hans Rosling, illegal immigration, income inequality, income per capita, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), jimmy wales, linked data, lone genius, microcredit, purchasing power parity, Stanford marshmallow experiment, Steven Pinker, Thomas L Friedman, Walter Mischel

Dollar Street, a way of using photographs as data to explain the world, was Anna’s brainchild. While I was getting ever angrier about people’s ignorance about the world, Ola and Anna instead took the analysis beyond anger and crystallized the humble and relaxing idea of Factfulness. Together we defined the practical thinking tools that we present in this book. What you are about to read was not invented according to the “lone genius” stereotype. It is instead the result of constant discussion, argument, and collaboration between three people with different talents, knowledge, and perspectives. This unconventional, often infuriating, but deeply productive way of working has led to a way of presenting the world and how to think about it, that I never could have created on my own. INTRODUCTION Why I Love the Circus I love the circus.


pages: 301 words: 85,263

New Dark Age: Technology and the End of the Future by James Bridle

AI winter, Airbnb, Alfred Russel Wallace, Automated Insights, autonomous vehicles, back-to-the-land, Benoit Mandelbrot, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, British Empire, Brownian motion, Buckminster Fuller, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, combinatorial explosion, computer vision, congestion charging, cryptocurrency, data is the new oil, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Hofstadter, drone strike, Edward Snowden, fear of failure, Flash crash, Google Earth, Haber-Bosch Process, hive mind, income inequality, informal economy, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, Julian Assange, Kickstarter, late capitalism, lone genius, mandelbrot fractal, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Minecraft, mutually assured destruction, natural language processing, Network effects, oil shock, p-value, pattern recognition, peak oil, recommendation engine, road to serfdom, Robert Mercer, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Skype, social graph, sorting algorithm, South China Sea, speech recognition, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, stem cell, Stuxnet, technoutopianism, the built environment, the scientific method, Uber for X, undersea cable, University of East Anglia, uranium enrichment, Vannevar Bush, WikiLeaks

In the seventeenth century, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, Isaac Newton and others independently formulated the rules of calculus. In the eighteenth, the realisation of oxygen emerged almost simultaneously in the work of Carl Wilhelm Scheele, Joseph Priestley, Antoine Lavoisier, and others, while in the nineteenth, Alfred Russel Wallace and Charles Darwin both advanced the theory of evolution. Such histories give the lie to the heroic narrative of history – the lone genius toiling away to produce a unique insight. History is networked and atemporal: steam engine time is a multidimensional structure, invisible to a sensorium trapped in time, but not insensible to it. Despite such deep realities, there’s a wonderful thing that happens when you hear someone tell a story that just makes sense: a sense of who they are, and where they came from; the sense that something they did makes sense, has history and progress behind it, that it had to happen this way – and that it had to happen to them, because of the story itself.


pages: 304 words: 88,773

The Ghost Map: A Street, an Epidemic and the Hidden Power of Urban Networks. by Steven Johnson

call centre, clean water, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, Dean Kamen, digital map, double helix, edge city, germ theory of disease, global pandemic, Google Earth, Jane Jacobs, John Nash: game theory, John Snow's cholera map, lone genius, Louis Pasteur, mass immigration, megacity, mutually assured destruction, New Urbanism, nuclear winter, pattern recognition, peak oil, side project, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the scientific method, trade route, unbiased observer, working poor

Snow’s taciturn demeanor would have helped him as the brothers described their regular deliveries of pump water to Hampstead; a more volatile investigator might have responded to the revelation of that crucial clue with more emotion. But whatever emotion he showed the Eley brothers, when he stepped out of the factory into the bright light of Broad Street, he must have thought to himself with some satisfaction that the case was coming together quite nicely indeed. The miasmatists might finally have met their match. THERE IS A KIND OF MYTHOLOGY THAT STORIES LIKE THIS one tend inevitably to drift toward: the lone genius shaking off the chains of conventional wisdom through the sheer force of his intellect. But in explaining Snow’s battle against the miasma theory and the medical establishment, it’s not sufficient to point to his brilliance or his tenacity alone, though no doubt those characteristics played a crucial role. If the dominance of the miasma model was itself shaped by multiple intersecting forces, so, too, was Snow’s ability to see it for the illusion that it was.


Driverless: Intelligent Cars and the Road Ahead by Hod Lipson, Melba Kurman

AI winter, Air France Flight 447, Amazon Mechanical Turk, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, butterfly effect, carbon footprint, Chris Urmson, cloud computing, computer vision, connected car, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, DARPA: Urban Challenge, digital map, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Google Earth, Google X / Alphabet X, high net worth, hive mind, ImageNet competition, income inequality, industrial robot, intermodal, Internet of things, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, lone genius, Lyft, megacity, Network effects, New Urbanism, Oculus Rift, pattern recognition, performance metric, precision agriculture, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, smart cities, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Jobs, technoutopianism, Tesla Model S, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, Unsafe at Any Speed

One of the key enabling factors in the development of machine-learning software has been a new abundance of training data, previously a scarce resource. In the case of driverless cars, training data originates from several on-board hardware devices whose performance has improved dramatically over the past several years. The modern toolbox Driverless cars are a prime example of a force called recombinant innovation, the process of combining several existing technologies in new ways. Despite the popular stereotype of the lone, genius inventor, in reality many emerging technologies—particularly complex ones—are actually fresh combinations of old technologies put together again in a novel way.7 Recombinant innovation is an indirect by-product of Moore’s Law, the now-famous principle that over time, the performance of semiconductors improves at an exponential rate while their cost shrinks at a corresponding rate. Moore’s Law has held true for semiconductor technologies for a few decades now.


pages: 322 words: 88,197

Wonderland: How Play Made the Modern World by Steven Johnson

Ada Lovelace, Alfred Russel Wallace, Antoine Gombaud: Chevalier de Méré, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, Book of Ingenious Devices, Buckminster Fuller, Claude Shannon: information theory, Clayton Christensen, colonial exploitation, computer age, conceptual framework, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Drosophila, Edward Thorp, Fellow of the Royal Society, game design, global village, Hedy Lamarr / George Antheil, HyperCard, invention of air conditioning, invention of the printing press, invention of the telegraph, Islamic Golden Age, Jacquard loom, Jacques de Vaucanson, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, John von Neumann, joint-stock company, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, land value tax, Landlord’s Game, lone genius, mass immigration, megacity, Minecraft, moral panic, Murano, Venice glass, music of the spheres, Necker cube, New Urbanism, Oculus Rift, On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, pets.com, placebo effect, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, profit motive, QWERTY keyboard, Ray Oldenburg, spice trade, spinning jenny, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, talking drums, the built environment, The Great Good Place, the scientific method, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, trade route, Turing machine, Turing test, Upton Sinclair, urban planning, Victor Gruen, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, white flight, white picket fence, Whole Earth Catalog, working poor, Wunderkammern

It was the game’s exciting promise of fame and fortune that prompted Darrow to initially produce this game on his own.” Both the game itself—and the story of its origins—had entirely inverted the original progressive agenda of Lizzie Magie’s landlord game. A lesson in the abuses of capitalist ambition had been transformed into a celebration of the entrepreneurial spirit, its collectively authored rules reimagined as the work of a lone genius. — Game mythologies habitually seek out heroic inventors, even when those invention stories are on the very edges of plausibility. Every year, millions of baseball fans descend on the small town of Cooperstown, New York, to visit the Baseball Hall of Fame because Abner Doubleday invented the game in a cow pasture there in 1839. Most such origin stories overstate the role of the inventor, reducing a complex lineage down to a single individual genius.


pages: 316 words: 90,165

You Are Here: From the Compass to GPS, the History and Future of How We Find Ourselves by Hiawatha Bray

A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Albert Einstein, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, bitcoin, British Empire, call centre, Charles Lindbergh, crowdsourcing, Dava Sobel, digital map, don't be evil, Edmond Halley, Edward Snowden, Firefox, game design, Google Earth, Hedy Lamarr / George Antheil, Isaac Newton, job automation, John Harrison: Longitude, John Snow's cholera map, license plate recognition, lone genius, openstreetmap, polynesian navigation, popular electronics, RAND corporation, RFID, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Thales of Miletus, trade route, turn-by-turn navigation, uranium enrichment, urban planning, Zipcar

Jonkers, Earth’s Magnetism in the Age of Sail (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003), 66. 12. Wilford, The Mapmakers, 64. 13. Ibid., 87–104. 14. Andrew D. Lambert, The Gates of Hell: Sir John Franklin’s Tragic Quest for the North West Passage (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2009), 74. 15. Frank Nothen Magill, Magill’s Survey of Science: Earth Science Series (Pasadena, CA: Salem Press, 1990), 2:541. 16. Dava Sobel, Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time (New York: Penguin Books, 1995), 24–27. 17. Wilford, The Mapmakers, 132–151. Chapter 2 1. Abigail Foerstner, James Van Allen: The First Eight Billion Miles (Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2007), 50. 2. US Patent 716134, issued December 16, 1902. 3. Captain Linwood S. Howeth, USN (Retired), History of Communications-Electronics in the United States Navy (Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, 1963). 4.


pages: 439 words: 104,154

The Clockwork Universe: Saac Newto, Royal Society, and the Birth of the Modern WorldI by Edward Dolnick

Albert Einstein, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Arthur Eddington, clockwork universe, complexity theory, double helix, Edmond Halley, Isaac Newton, Johannes Kepler, lone genius, music of the spheres, Pierre-Simon Laplace, Richard Feynman, Saturday Night Live, scientific worldview, Simon Singh, Stephen Hawking, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions

Perhaps we would do better to acknowledge the gulf than to try to bridge it. At Cambridge, Newton could occasionally be seen standing in the courtyard, staring at the ground, drawing diagrams in the gravel with a stick. Eventually he would retreat indoors. His fellow professors did not know what the lines represented, but they stepped carefully around them, in order to avoid hindering the work of the lonely genius struggling to decipher God’s codebook. Acknowledgments My first career ambition, years ago, was to play professional basketball. This plan did not long endure. It was succeeded by a far longer-lived but perhaps equally foolish notion, to spend a lifetime studying theoretical mathematics. After several years wandering dazed through infinite dimensional spaces, I left the hunt to those better suited to it.


pages: 417 words: 103,458

The Intelligence Trap: Revolutionise Your Thinking and Make Wiser Decisions by David Robson

active measures, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Atul Gawande, availability heuristic, cognitive bias, corporate governance, correlation coefficient, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dark matter, deliberate practice, dematerialisation, Donald Trump, Flynn Effect, framing effect, fundamental attribution error, illegal immigration, Isaac Newton, job satisfaction, knowledge economy, lone genius, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Nelson Mandela, obamacare, pattern recognition, price anchoring, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, Silicon Valley, social intelligence, Steve Jobs, the scientific method, theory of mind, traveling salesman, ultimatum game, Y2K, Yom Kippur War

Before we look specifically at the dynamics that link the England football team to the corporate boardroom, let’s first consider some more general intuitions about group thinking.6 One popular idea has been the ‘wisdom of the crowd’ – the idea that many brains, working together, can correct for each other’s errors in judgements; we make each other better.* Some good evidence of this view comes from an analysis of scientists’ journal articles, which finds that collaborative efforts are far more likely to be cited and applied than papers with just one author. Contrary to the notion of a lone genius, conversations and the exchange of ideas bring out the best in the team members; their combined brainpower allows them to see connections that had been invisible previously.7 Yet there are also plenty of notorious examples where team thinking fails, sometimes at great cost. Opposing voices like to point to the phenomenon of ‘groupthink’, first described in detail by the Yale University psychologist Irving Janis.


Cataloging the World: Paul Otlet and the Birth of the Information Age by Alex Wright

1960s counterculture, Ada Lovelace, barriers to entry, British Empire, business climate, business intelligence, Cape to Cairo, card file, centralized clearinghouse, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, Deng Xiaoping, don't be evil, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, European colonialism, Frederick Winslow Taylor, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, index card, information retrieval, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, Jane Jacobs, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Law of Accelerating Returns, linked data, Livingstone, I presume, lone genius, Menlo Park, Mother of all demos, Norman Mailer, out of africa, packet switching, profit motive, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Scramble for Africa, self-driving car, semantic web, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the scientific method, Thomas L Friedman, urban planning, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Catalog

Nonetheless, Capart wouldn’t be budged from his plans to force out Otlet, whose “private enterprise” had been “hosted in a gracious and precarious state” for long enough, and the space was needed for a “normal expansion of the museum.”52 Finally accepting the inevitable, Otlet issued an announcement. “Following deplorable circumstances,” it read, “the offices of the Headquarters and General Secretariat of the IID have had to be transferred from the World Palace to 44 Rue Fetis, Brussels.”53 The address was Otlet’s house. 204 9 The Collective Brain The image of the lone genius remains one of the most durable cultural myths in the Western world. We tend to consider the Da Vincis, Brunos, Galileos, and Copernicuses as maverick thinkers possessed of otherworldly inspiration who fought valiantly for their visions in an unappreciative world. Yet history suggests that great ideas often emerge simultaneously in more than one place and from more than one person. In the late nineteenth century, for example, a number of inventors were independently exploring the possibilities of automobiles, motion pictures, and powered flight.


pages: 282 words: 89,436

Einstein's Dice and Schrödinger's Cat: How Two Great Minds Battled Quantum Randomness to Create a Unified Theory of Physics by Paul Halpern

Albert Einstein, Albert Michelson, Arthur Eddington, Brownian motion, clockwork universe, cosmological constant, dark matter, double helix, Ernest Rutherford, Fellow of the Royal Society, Isaac Newton, Johannes Kepler, John von Neumann, lone genius, Murray Gell-Mann, New Journalism, orbital mechanics / astrodynamics, Richard Feynman, Schrödinger's Cat, Solar eclipse in 1919, The Present Situation in Quantum Mechanics

Research scientists know that progress in any field is usually incremental, taking place over years or even decades. Groundbreaking 223 Einstein’s Dice and Schrödinger’s Cat discoveries are few and far between. Often a scientist needs to be lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time to make a mark. Most scientific research today is completed by large teams, rather than by single individuals. Yet the myth persists of the lone genius changing everything around us. Type “next Einstein” into any Internet search engine and expect to be bombarded with results—everything from recipes for educational success to claims made in resumes or personal ads. Here are a few assorted examples of recent media musings: Will the next Einstein be a “surfer dude”?1 Is he a child prodigy with an exceptional IQ?2 What if the next Einstein is a computer?


pages: 366 words: 100,602

Sextant: A Young Man's Daring Sea Voyage and the Men Who ... by David Barrie

centre right, colonial exploitation, Edmond Halley, Eratosthenes, Fellow of the Royal Society, Isaac Newton, Johannes Kepler, John Harrison: Longitude, lone genius, Maui Hawaii, Nicholas Carr, polynesian navigation, South China Sea, trade route

The Life of Captain Matthew Flinders RN. Sydney: Angus & Robertson. Shackleton, S. E. (1999). South: The Endurance Expedition. London: Penguin Books. Skelton, R. A. (1970). Explorers’ Maps: Chapters in the Cartographic Record of Geographical Discovery. London: Hamlyn. Slocum, J. (1956). Sailing Alone Around the World. New York: Dover Publications. Sobel, D. (1996). Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time. London: Fourth Estate. South America Pilot Volume II (1993 ed.). Taunton, UK: Hydrographic Office. Sterne, L. (2005). The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman. London: Folio Society. Suthren, V. (2004). The Sea Has No End: The Life of Louis-Antoine de Bougainville. Toronto: Dundurn. Taylor, E. G. (1956). The Haven-Finding Art: A History of Navigation from Odysseus to Captain Cook.


pages: 350 words: 103,988

Reinventing the Bazaar: A Natural History of Markets by John McMillan

"Robert Solow", accounting loophole / creative accounting, Albert Einstein, Alvin Roth, Andrei Shleifer, Anton Chekhov, Asian financial crisis, congestion charging, corporate governance, corporate raider, crony capitalism, Dava Sobel, Deng Xiaoping, experimental economics, experimental subject, fear of failure, first-price auction, frictionless, frictionless market, George Akerlof, George Gilder, global village, Hernando de Soto, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, income inequality, income per capita, informal economy, information asymmetry, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, job-hopping, John Harrison: Longitude, John von Neumann, Kenneth Arrow, land reform, lone genius, manufacturing employment, market clearing, market design, market friction, market microstructure, means of production, Network effects, new economy, offshore financial centre, ought to be enough for anybody, pez dispenser, pre–internet, price mechanism, profit maximization, profit motive, proxy bid, purchasing power parity, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, sealed-bid auction, second-price auction, Silicon Valley, spectrum auction, Stewart Brand, The Market for Lemons, The Nature of the Firm, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade liberalization, transaction costs, War on Poverty, Xiaogang Anhui farmers, yield management

The market, unlike a firm, can commit to richly rewarding an entrepreneur in the event of an unanticipated blockbuster success. The location of ownership affects investment and performance. In situations that demand exceptional effort and where outcomes are highly responsive to such effort, decision-making cannot be effectively delegated; the owner needs to be directly involved. For innovation, in particular, ownership matters greatly. The lone genius driven to invent—Thomas Alva Edison dreaming up the light bulb or Alexander Graham Bell the telephone—is legendary. But it is not obvious that this is the best way to organize research today. Should innovators own the rights to their ideas? Or is innovation more effectively achieved in a large organization? Economies of scale arise in research. Large laboratories with seemingly limitless resources can afford to acquire the best people, the most advanced equipment, and armies of assistants.


pages: 379 words: 109,612

Is the Internet Changing the Way You Think?: The Net's Impact on Our Minds and Future by John Brockman

A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Albert Einstein, AltaVista, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Asperger Syndrome, availability heuristic, Benoit Mandelbrot, biofilm, Black Swan, British Empire, conceptual framework, corporate governance, Danny Hillis, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Emanuel Derman, epigenetics, Flynn Effect, Frank Gehry, Google Earth, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, index card, information retrieval, Internet Archive, invention of writing, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, lifelogging, lone genius, loss aversion, mandelbrot fractal, Marc Andreessen, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, New Journalism, Nicholas Carr, out of africa, Paul Samuelson, peer-to-peer, Ponzi scheme, pre–internet, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Reagan, Schrödinger's Cat, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, SETI@home, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, smart grid, social graph, social software, social web, Stephen Hawking, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, telepresence, the medium is the message, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind, trade route, upwardly mobile, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Catalog, X Prize

In contrast, members of the Invisible College shared their work, describing and disputing their methods and conclusions so that they all might benefit from both successes and failures and build on one another’s work. The chemists were, to use the avant-garde playwright Richard Foreman’s phrase, “pancake people.” They abandoned the spiritual depths of alchemy for a continual and continually incomplete grappling with what was real, a task so daunting that no one person could take it on alone. Though the history of science we learn as schoolchildren is often marked by the trope of the lone genius, science has always been a networked operation. In this, we can see a precursor to what’s possible for us today. The Invisible College didn’t just use the printing press as raw capability but created a culture that used the press to support the transparency and argumentation that science relies on. We have the same opportunity. As we know from arXiv.org, the twentieth-century model of publishing is inadequate to the kind of sharing possible today.


pages: 335 words: 104,850

Conscious Capitalism, With a New Preface by the Authors: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business by John Mackey, Rajendra Sisodia, Bill George

Berlin Wall, Buckminster Fuller, business process, carbon footprint, collective bargaining, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, crony capitalism, cross-subsidies, en.wikipedia.org, Everything should be made as simple as possible, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fear of failure, Flynn Effect, income per capita, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, job satisfaction, lone genius, Mahatma Gandhi, microcredit, Nelson Mandela, Occupy movement, profit maximization, Ralph Waldo Emerson, shareholder value, six sigma, social intelligence, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, union organizing, wealth creators, women in the workforce, zero-sum game

Teams make their own decisions regarding hiring, the selection of many products, merchandising, and even compensation. Teams have profit responsibilities as well. Most of our incentive programs are team-based, not individual. For example, gain-sharing bonuses are awarded according to team performance. Teams allow people to feel safe and have a sense of belonging. The creative ideas of individuals bounce around within the team and get improved upon. Especially in the United States, there is a myth of the lone genius coming up with brilliant ideas that change the world. While that occasionally happens, the more common scenario is that an individual comes up with an idea and shares it with other members of his or her team; they become excited and improve upon it. The spirit of collaboration allows the idea to evolve and mature. It is natural for people to both collaborate and compete. At Whole Foods, we have found it very effective to have different self-managing teams compete with each other in a friendly way.


pages: 326 words: 106,053

The Wisdom of Crowds by James Surowiecki

AltaVista, Andrei Shleifer, asset allocation, Cass Sunstein, coronavirus, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, experimental economics, Frederick Winslow Taylor, George Akerlof, Howard Rheingold, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, interchangeable parts, Jeff Bezos, John Meriwether, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, lone genius, Long Term Capital Management, market bubble, market clearing, market design, Monkeys Reject Unequal Pay, moral hazard, Myron Scholes, new economy, offshore financial centre, Picturephone, prediction markets, profit maximization, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, short selling, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, The Nature of the Firm, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Toyota Production System, transaction costs, ultimatum game, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game

And the result was that this cobbled-together multinational alliance found an answer to its problem as quickly and efficiently as any top-down organization could have. THE SCOPE AND SPEED of the SARS research effort made it unique. But in one sense the successful collaboration between the labs was simply an exemplary case of the way much modern science gets done. Although in the popular imagination science remains the province of the lone genius working alone in his lab, in fact it is, in more ways than one, a profoundly collective enterprise. Before World War I, collaboration was relatively rare for scientists. But that began to change in the decades before World War II, and in the postwar years teamwork and group projects proliferated rapidly. Researchers, particularly experimental researchers, routinely work in large groups, and it’s no longer strange to see scientific papers that are co-authored by ten or twenty people.


pages: 385 words: 101,761

Creative Intelligence: Harnessing the Power to Create, Connect, and Inspire by Bruce Nussbaum

3D printing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Berlin Wall, Black Swan, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, clean water, collapse of Lehman Brothers, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, declining real wages, demographic dividend, disruptive innovation, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, follow your passion, game design, housing crisis, Hyman Minsky, industrial robot, invisible hand, James Dyson, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, John Gruber, John Markoff, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, lone genius, longitudinal study, manufacturing employment, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Wolf, new economy, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, QR code, race to the bottom, reshoring, Richard Florida, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, Skype, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, supply-chain management, Tesla Model S, The Chicago School, The Design of Experiments, the High Line, The Myth of the Rational Market, thinkpad, Tim Cook: Apple, too big to fail, tulip mania, We are the 99%, Y Combinator, young professional, Zipcar

And when scanners get smaller and more complex, we may discover more insights into what happens to the brain when we act and feel. But even then, neuroscience runs the risk of being just like the shadow on the screen in a Javanese puppet play, revealing the reflection of reality, rather than the reality itself. And so, as fascinating as the new research on creativity from neuroscience is, as much as it has helped to debunk the idea of the lone genius, it’s time to also toss out the old lightbulb, and turn a more wary eye on the brain wave machines that so beguile us. As cool as “aha moments” are, and as interesting as it is to understand what parts of our brain are working when we’re improvising or solving a problem when we’re in the shower, creativity is about so much more than that moment . . . and it’s about so much more than the individual experiencing that moment.


pages: 385 words: 103,561

Pinpoint: How GPS Is Changing Our World by Greg Milner

Ayatollah Khomeini, British Empire, creative destruction, data acquisition, Dava Sobel, different worldview, digital map, Edmond Halley, Eratosthenes, experimental subject, Flash crash, friendly fire, Hedy Lamarr / George Antheil, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, John Harrison: Longitude, Kevin Kelly, land tenure, lone genius, low earth orbit, Mars Rover, Mercator projection, place-making, polynesian navigation, precision agriculture, race to the bottom, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, smart grid, the map is not the territory

David Lewis: “[N]o one seems to have asked [Tupaia] how he oriented himself, or what his actual concepts and methods were” (We, the Navigators, 9). Chapter 2: The When and the Where 24 the transit of Venus: Steven Cherry, Transit of Venus: The Other Half of the Longitude Story, Techwise Conversations, n.d., http://spectrum.ieee.org/podcast/geek-life/profiles/transit-of-venus-the-other-half-of-the-longitude-story. 26 “discovering the longitude”: Dava Sobel, Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time (New York: Walker and Co., 1995), 56. 27 In 1800, Chevalier de Lamarck: Walter Sullivan, “The IGY—Scientific Alliance In a Divided World,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 14, no. 2 (February 1958): 68–72. 28 first international organization: Ibid., 68. 28 “the largest organized intellectual enterprise”: John A. Simpson, “The International Geophysical Year—A Study of Our Planet,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 13, no. 10 (December 1957): 351. 29 “Contemplate the satellite,” “that we puny people”: Daniel Lang, “Earth Satellite No. 1,” New Yorker, May 11, 1957. 29 “the greatest boon”: Ibid. 29 “This is our first step”: Ibid. 30 “I wouldn’t care”: “National Affairs: PROJECT VANGUARD,” Time, October 21, 1957. 30 “I wish to congratulate,” “really fantastic”: C.


The Metropolitan Revolution: How Cities and Metros Are Fixing Our Broken Politics and Fragile Economy by Bruce Katz, Jennifer Bradley

3D printing, additive manufacturing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, British Empire, business climate, carbon footprint, clean water, cleantech, collapse of Lehman Brothers, deindustrialization, demographic transition, desegregation, double entry bookkeeping, edge city, Edward Glaeser, global supply chain, immigration reform, income inequality, industrial cluster, intermodal, Jane Jacobs, jitney, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, lone genius, longitudinal study, Mark Zuckerberg, Masdar, megacity, Menlo Park, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, Network effects, new economy, New Urbanism, Occupy movement, place-making, postindustrial economy, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, Richard Florida, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, smart cities, smart grid, sovereign wealth fund, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the market place, The Spirit Level, Tony Hsieh, too big to fail, trade route, transit-oriented development, urban planning, white flight

One charismatic visionary (a mayor, school superintendent, entrepreneur, outraged citizen) steps up and, with unrelenting vigor and inspirational leadership, starts an irreversible cascade of change. But this search for the superhero is misguided. A growing body of research suggests that as a system or a problem becomes more complex, more minds are needed to adjust the system or solve the problem. It is unlikely that a lone genius can come up with breakthrough solutions, whether in technology or the economy or any other area of life. Metropolitan areas are so big, so complicated, and so diverse that they don’t need heroes, they need networks. The word network has been used so often that it is in danger of becoming as faded of meaning as its pre-Web2.0 predecessor, community. The popular writer Steven Johnson defines networks as simply “webs of human collaboration and exchange.”17 Through these collaborations and exchanges each individual, or organization, or node is able to be more effective than it would be alone.


pages: 396 words: 117,149

The Master Algorithm: How the Quest for the Ultimate Learning Machine Will Remake Our World by Pedro Domingos

Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Arthur Eddington, basic income, Bayesian statistics, Benoit Mandelbrot, bioinformatics, Black Swan, Brownian motion, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, combinatorial explosion, computer vision, constrained optimization, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, data is the new oil, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, Erik Brynjolfsson, experimental subject, Filter Bubble, future of work, global village, Google Glasses, Gödel, Escher, Bach, information retrieval, job automation, John Markoff, John Snow's cholera map, John von Neumann, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, lone genius, mandelbrot fractal, Mark Zuckerberg, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, Narrative Science, Nate Silver, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, Network effects, NP-complete, off grid, P = NP, PageRank, pattern recognition, phenotype, planetary scale, pre–internet, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Richard Feynman, scientific worldview, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, social intelligence, speech recognition, Stanford marshmallow experiment, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steven Levy, Steven Pinker, superintelligent machines, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, theory of mind, Thomas Bayes, transaction costs, Turing machine, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, white flight, zero-sum game

Pace Stephen Hawking, it may ultimately tell us more about the mind of God than string theory. Some may say that seeking a universal learner is the epitome of techno-hubris. But dreaming is not hubris. Maybe the Master Algorithm will take its place among the great chimeras, alongside the philosopher’s stone and the perpetual motion machine. Or perhaps it will be more like finding the longitude at sea, given up as too difficult until a lone genius solved it. More likely, it will be the work of generations, raised stone by stone like a cathedral. The only way to find out is to get up early one day and set out on the journey. Candidates that don’t make the cut So, if the Master Algorithm exists, what is it? A seemingly obvious candidate is memorization: just remember everything you’ve seen; after a while you’ll have seen everything there is to see, and therefore know everything there is to know.


pages: 401 words: 115,959

Philanthrocapitalism by Matthew Bishop, Michael Green, Bill Clinton

Albert Einstein, anti-communist, barriers to entry, battle of ideas, Bernie Madoff, Bob Geldof, Bonfire of the Vanities, business process, business process outsourcing, Charles Lindbergh, clean water, cleantech, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, Dava Sobel, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, don't be evil, family office, financial innovation, full employment, global pandemic, global village, God and Mammon, Hernando de Soto, high net worth, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, James Dyson, John Harrison: Longitude, joint-stock company, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Live Aid, lone genius, Marc Andreessen, market bubble, mass affluent, microcredit, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela, new economy, offshore financial centre, old-boy network, peer-to-peer lending, performance metric, Peter Singer: altruism, plutocrats, Plutocrats, profit maximization, profit motive, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Slavoj Žižek, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, stem cell, Steve Jobs, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, trade liberalization, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, wealth creators, winner-take-all economy, working poor, World Values Survey, X Prize

Slack, P. Poverty and Policy in Tudor and Stuart England. London: Longman, 1988. Smith, A. An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations 1776. A facsimile of the first edition with an introduction by Edwin Connor, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1977. Smith, A. The Theory of Moral Sentiments. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 2000. Sobel, Dava. Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time. New York: Walker and Company, 2005. Soros, George. The Age of Fallibility: Consequences of the War on Terror. New York: PublicAffairs, 2006. Tayart de Borms, L. Foundations: Creating Impact in a Globalised World. Cornwall, U.K.: Wiley, 2005. Tayart de Borms, L. and N. McDonald. Philanthropy in Europe: A Rich Past, a Promising Future. London: Alliance Publishing Trust, 2008.


pages: 393 words: 115,217

Loonshots: How to Nurture the Crazy Ideas That Win Wars, Cure Diseases, and Transform Industries by Safi Bahcall

accounting loophole / creative accounting, Albert Einstein, Apple II, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Astronomia nova, British Empire, Cass Sunstein, Charles Lindbergh, Clayton Christensen, cognitive bias, creative destruction, disruptive innovation, diversified portfolio, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Edmond Halley, Gary Taubes, hypertext link, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Johannes Kepler, Jony Ive, knowledge economy, lone genius, Louis Pasteur, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Mother of all demos, Murray Gell-Mann, PageRank, Peter Thiel, Philip Mirowski, Pierre-Simon Laplace, prediction markets, pre–internet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, random walk, Richard Feynman, Richard Thaler, side project, Silicon Valley, six sigma, Solar eclipse in 1919, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Tim Cook: Apple, tulip mania, Wall-E, wikimedia commons, yield management

The historian Marshall Hodgson described the European industrial revolution as “the unconscious heir of the abortive industrial revolution of Song China” (Hodgson, 197). no Copernican theory: Copernicus and every scholar who used advanced mathematics in early modern Europe relied on the algebra, trigonometry, and modern numerical system developed in India and the Islamic empire and widely disseminated throughout Europe (along with the medical advances of Avicenna). The more recent challenge to the “lone genius” Eurocentric story has been the discoveries by historians, beginning in the late 1950s, of striking similarities between crucial theorems used by Copernicus and the work of the Islamic astronomers al-Dīn al-`Urdī (d. 1266), Nasīr al-Dīn al-Tūsī (d. 1274), Ibn al-Shātir (d. 1375), and Ali Qushjī (d. 1474). Noel Swerdlow and Otto Neugebauer, leading historians of early astronomy, described Copernicus as “the last Marāgha astronomer,” referring to the tradition of Islamic astronomy at the Marāgha observatory (Saliba, 209).


pages: 407 words: 116,726

Infinite Powers: How Calculus Reveals the Secrets of the Universe by Steven Strogatz

Albert Einstein, Asperger Syndrome, Astronomia nova, Bernie Sanders, clockwork universe, complexity theory, cosmological principle, Dava Sobel, double helix, Edmond Halley, Eratosthenes, four colour theorem, fudge factor, Henri Poincaré, invention of the telescope, Isaac Newton, Islamic Golden Age, Johannes Kepler, John Harrison: Longitude, Khan Academy, Laplace demon, lone genius, music of the spheres, pattern recognition, Paul Erdős, Pierre-Simon Laplace, precision agriculture, retrograde motion, Richard Feynman, Socratic dialogue, Solar eclipse in 1919, Steve Jobs, the rule of 72, the scientific method

, and Katherine G. Johnson. “Determination of Azimuth Angle at Burnout for Placing a Satellite Over a Selected Earth Position.” NASA Technical Report, NASA-TN-D-233, L-289 (1960). https://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19980227091.pdf. Sobel, Dava. Galileo’s Daughter: A Historical Memoir of Science, Faith, and Love. New York: Walker, 1999. ———. Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time. New York: Walker, 1995. Stein, Sherman. Archimedes: What Did He Do Besides Cry Eureka? Washington, DC: Mathematical Association of America, 1999. Stewart, Ian. Calculating the Cosmos. New York: Basic Books, 2016. ———. Does God Play Dice?: The New Mathematics of Chaos. Oxford: Blackwell, 1990. ———. In Pursuit of the Unknown: Seventeen Equations That Changed the World.


pages: 387 words: 112,868

Digital Gold: Bitcoin and the Inside Story of the Misfits and Millionaires Trying to Reinvent Money by Nathaniel Popper

4chan, Airbnb, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, banking crisis, Ben Horowitz, bitcoin, blockchain, Burning Man, buy and hold, capital controls, Colonization of Mars, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, David Graeber, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Extropian, fiat currency, Fractional reserve banking, Jeff Bezos, Julian Assange, Kickstarter, life extension, litecoin, lone genius, M-Pesa, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Occupy movement, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer lending, Peter Thiel, Ponzi scheme, price stability, QR code, Ross Ulbricht, Satoshi Nakamoto, Silicon Valley, Simon Singh, Skype, slashdot, smart contracts, Startup school, stealth mode startup, the payments system, transaction costs, tulip mania, WikiLeaks

The creator of Bitcoin, Satoshi, disappeared back in 2011, leaving behind open source software that the users of Bitcoin could update and improve. Five years later, it was estimated that only 15 percent of the basic Bitcoin computer code was the same as what Satoshi had written. Beyond the work on the software, Bitcoin, like all money, was always only as useful and powerful as the number of people using it. Each new person who joined in made it that much more likely to survive. This, then, is not a normal startup story, about a lone genius molding the world in his image and making gobs of money. It is, instead, a tale of a group invention that tapped into many of the prevailing currents of our time: the anger at the government and Wall Street; the battles between Silicon Valley and the financial industry; and the hopes we have placed in technology to save us from our own human frailty, as well as the fear that the power of technology can generate.


pages: 456 words: 123,534

The Dawn of Innovation: The First American Industrial Revolution by Charles R. Morris

air freight, American ideology, British Empire, business process, California gold rush, clean water, colonial exploitation, computer age, Dava Sobel, en.wikipedia.org, glass ceiling, hiring and firing, if you build it, they will come, interchangeable parts, Isaac Newton, Jacquard loom, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, John Harrison: Longitude, joint-stock company, lone genius, manufacturing employment, new economy, New Urbanism, old age dependency ratio, On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, purchasing power parity, QWERTY keyboard, refrigerator car, Robert Gordon, spinning jenny, Stephen Hawking, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, transcontinental railway, traveling salesman, undersea cable

(Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1958), 99–118, quote at 102. 10 K. C. Barraclough, Steelmaking Before Bessemer, vol. 2: Crucible Steel (London: The Metals Society, 1984), 102. 11 David S. Landes, The Wealth and Poverty of Nations (New York: Norton, 1998), 215–220. 12 N. A. M. Rodger, Command of the Sea: A Naval History of Britain, 1649–1815 (New York: W. W. Norton, 2005), 172. 13 Dava Sobel, Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Mystery of His Time (New York: Penguin Books, 1995); David S. Landes, Revolution in Time (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1983), 145–170. 14 K. R. Gilbert, “Machine-Tools,” in Singer, ed., The Industrial Revolution, 417–441; K. R. Gilbert, Henry Maudslay: Machine Builder (London: Science Museum, 1971); Joseph Wickham Roe, English and American Tool Builders (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1916), 33–49. 15 Maurice Damaus, “Precision Mechanics,” in Singer, ed., The Industrial Revolution, 379–416, quote at 414. 16 Gilbert, Henry Maudslay, 4. 17 James Nasmyth, An Autobiography, Samuel Smiles, ed.


pages: 485 words: 126,597

Paper: A World History by Mark Kurlansky

Ada Lovelace, clean water, computer age, Edward Snowden, invention of the telephone, invention of writing, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, John von Neumann, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, lone genius, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, moveable type in China, paper trading, trade route, Vannevar Bush

It is significant that the leading pre-paper writing materials—wood, bamboo, and silk—contain cellulose and can be broken down for papermaking. Some historians think that the idea of papermaking came from felting, a practice that pre-dated weaving and entailed beating wool until it mashed into a thick, fibrous mat. Whatever occurred, surely paper had a long evolution. It seems highly improbable that some lone genius stumbled upon the idea by him- or herself. FOR MANY CENTURIES, every Chinese schoolchild has learned that paper was invented in 105 CE by a eunuch in the Han court named Cai Lun. It was the first of what the Chinese call the four great inventions—paper, compass, gunpowder, and printing—and the only one that is attributed to a specific inventor. The Hu Han Shu, the official history of the later Han dynasty (25 to 220 CE) states that Cai Lun, a native of the capital city of Luoyang, began serving the Han court in 75 CE, and in 89 CE was promoted to officer in charge of developing tools and weapons, an important post.


pages: 449 words: 129,511

The Perfectionists: How Precision Engineers Created the Modern World by Simon Winchester

Albert Einstein, British Empire, business climate, Dava Sobel, discovery of the americas, Etonian, Fellow of the Royal Society, interchangeable parts, Isaac Newton, Jacques de Vaucanson, James Watt: steam engine, John Harrison: Longitude, lateral thinking, lone genius, means of production, planetary scale, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Skype, trade route, William Shockley: the traitorous eight

. ———. Industrial Biography: Iron Workers and Tool Makers. London. 1863. Smith, Gar. Nuclear Roulette: The Truth about the Most Dangerous Energy Source on Earth. White River Junction, VT. Chelsea Green Publishing. 2012. Smith, Merritt Roe. Harpers Ferry Armory and the New Technology: The Challenge of Change. Ithaca, NY. Cornell University Press. 1977. Sobel, Dava. Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time. New York. Walker and Company. 1995. Soemers, Herman. Design Principles for Precision Mechanisms. Eindhoven, Netherlands. 2011. Standage, Tom. The Turk: The Life and Times of the Famous Eighteenth-Century Chess Playing Machine. New York. Walker and Company. 2002. Stephens-Adamson Manufacturing Company. General Catalog No. 55. Aurora, IL.


pages: 420 words: 130,714

Science in the Soul: Selected Writings of a Passionate Rationalist by Richard Dawkins

agricultural Revolution, Alfred Russel Wallace, anthropic principle, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Boris Johnson, David Attenborough, Donald Trump, double helix, Drosophila, epigenetics, Fellow of the Royal Society, Google Earth, John Harrison: Longitude, Kickstarter, lone genius, Mahatma Gandhi, mental accounting, Necker cube, nuclear winter, out of africa, p-value, phenotype, place-making, placebo effect, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, the scientific method, twin studies

In How the Mind Works Steven Pinker elegantly sets out the problem of consciousness, and asks where it comes from and what’s the explanation. Then he’s frank enough to say, ‘Beats the heck out of me.’ That’s honest, and I echo it. We don’t know. We don’t understand it. Yet. But I believe we will, some time before 2057. And if we do, it certainly won’t be mystics or theologians who solve this greatest of all riddles but scientists – maybe a lone genius like Darwin, but more probably a combination of neuroscientists, computer scientists and science-savvy philosophers. Soul-1 will die a belated and unlamented death at the hand of science, which will in the process launch Soul-2 to undreamed-of heights. * * * *1 Crystal-ball gazing is a notoriously error-prone indulgence but, for what it’s worth, this was my contribution to Mike Wallace’s 2008 edited book The Way We Will Be Fifty Years from Today


pages: 386

Good Money: Birmingham Button Makers, the Royal Mint, and the Beginnings of Modern Coinage, 1775-1821 by George Anthony Selgin

British Empire, correlation coefficient, George Gilder, invention of the steam engine, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, large denomination, lone genius, profit motive, RAND corporation, school choice, seigniorage, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith

Indianapolis: Liberty Press. Smith, William Hawkes. 1836. Birmingham and Its Vicinity as a Manufacturing and Commercial District. Birmingham: Radclyffes. Snelling, Thomas. 1766. A Vietv ofthe Copper Coin and Coinage ofEngland. London: Thomas Snelling. SOURCES 335 Snelling, Thomas. 1775. Snelling on the Coins of Great Britain, France, and Ireland. London:J. Thane. Sobel, Dana. 1995. Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius 'Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem ofHis Time. New York: Walker and Company. Soldon, Norbert C. 1998. John Wilkinson (1728-1808), English Ironmaster and Inventor. Lewiston: Edwin Mellen. Spencer, Herbert. 1851. Social Statics. London: John Chapman. Spilman, J. C. 1982. "An Overview of Early American Coinage Technology." Parts 1 and 2. Colonial Newsletter 21, no. 1 (April): 766-76; 21, no. 2 (July): 7 81 -9 8 .


pages: 589 words: 147,053

The Age of Em: Work, Love and Life When Robots Rule the Earth by Robin Hanson

8-hour work day, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, blockchain, brain emulation, business cycle, business process, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, demographic transition, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, experimental subject, fault tolerance, financial intermediation, Flynn Effect, hindsight bias, information asymmetry, job automation, job satisfaction, John Markoff, Just-in-time delivery, lone genius, Machinery of Freedom by David Friedman, market design, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Nash equilibrium, new economy, prediction markets, rent control, rent-seeking, reversible computing, risk tolerance, Silicon Valley, smart contracts, statistical model, stem cell, Thomas Malthus, trade route, Turing test, Vernor Vinge

Advocates also often assume that innovation is vastly underfunded today, that most economic progress comes from basic research progress produced by a few key geniuses, and that the modest wage gains that smarter people earn today vastly underestimate their productivity in key tasks of theft and AI innovation. In support, advocates often point to familiar myths of geniuses revolutionizing research areas and weapons. Honestly, to me this local intelligence explosion scenario looks suspiciously like a super-villain comic book plot. A flash of insight by a lone genius lets him create a genius AI. Hidden in its super-villain research lab lair, this genius villain AI works out unprecedented revolutions in AI design, turns itself into a super-genius, which then invents super-weapons and takes over the world. Bwa-ha-ha. Many arguments suggest that this scenario is unlikely (Hanson and Yudkowsky 2013). Specifically, (1) in 60 years of AI research high-level architecture has only mattered modestly for system performance, (2) new AI architecture proposals are increasingly rare, (3) algorithm progress seems driven by hardware progress (Grace 2013), (4) brains seem like ecosystems, bacteria, cities, and economies in being very complex systems where architecture matters less than a mass of capable detail, (5) human and primate brains seem to differ only modestly, (6) the human primate difference initially only allowed faster innovation, not better performance directly, (7) humans seem to have beat other primates mainly via culture sharing, which has a plausible threshold effect and so doesn’t need much brain difference, (8) humans are bad at most mental tasks irrelevant for our ancestors, (9) many human “biases” are useful adaptations to social complexity, (10) human brain structure and task performance suggest that many distinct modules contribute on each task, explaining a common IQ factor (Hampshire et al. 2012), (11) we expect very smart AI to still display many biases, (12) research today may be underfunded, but not vastly so (Alston et al. 2011; Ulku 2004), (13) most economic progress does not come from basic research, (14) most research progress does not come from a few geniuses, and (15) intelligence is not vastly more productive for research than for other tasks.


pages: 644 words: 156,395

Among the Bohemians: Experiments in Living 1900-1939 by Virginia Nicholson

back-to-the-land, British Empire, Etonian, financial independence, ghettoisation, lone genius, plutocrats, Plutocrats

When the first genuine Romanies appeared in France from central Europe with their vagabond habits and colourful array, they were identified -with the previous arrivals, and by the late sixteenth century all gypsies were indiscriminately labelled Bohemian, regardless of their exact origin. Right from the start, the country of Bohemia was located wherever its inhabitants were to be found. The idea of Bohemia is immensely powerful. It has attached itself to individuals as disparate as Jesus Christ, Shakespeare and Sherlock Holmes, and everybody has a mental pigeonhole into which the imaginary Bohemian more or less fits. For many this takes shape as a garret, the refuge of the lonely genius. For others it is a tavern where gypsy-clad people drink and dance. Some conjure up with distaste the Parisian zinc cluttered with untalented phoneys – dirty, poor and smelly. A closer look reveals that the natives of Bohemia are not just painters and poets, but must also include vegetarian nature-lovers living in caravans, poseurs in velvet jackets drinking absinthe in the Café Royal, earnest lesbians in men’s suits and monocles, kohl-eyed beauties in chiffon and emeralds.


pages: 519 words: 148,131

An Empire of Wealth: Rise of American Economy Power 1607-2000 by John Steele Gordon

accounting loophole / creative accounting, bank run, banking crisis, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business cycle, buttonwood tree, California gold rush, clean water, collective bargaining, Corn Laws, corporate governance, cuban missile crisis, disintermediation, double entry bookkeeping, failed state, financial independence, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, global village, imperial preference, informal economy, interchangeable parts, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jacquard loom, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, lone genius, Louis Pasteur, margin call, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, money market fund, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, moral hazard, new economy, New Urbanism, postindustrial economy, price mechanism, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, rent control, rent-seeking, reserve currency, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, spinning jenny, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, transaction costs, transcontinental railway, undersea cable, Yom Kippur War

Ogden, the United States became the world’s largest truly common market, just as the power of steam to move goods cheaply over long distances—a power merely hinted at by the steamboat—was about to grow exponentially. The railroad would prove the seminal invention of the nineteenth century and create the modern economy that Gibbons v. Ogden had made the United States ready for. LIKE SO MANY nineteenth-century inventions (and far more twentieth-century ones), the railroad was not a single invention created by a lone genius. Instead it was a system whose components were invented separately and then pieced together by people in the new profession of civil engineering (so-called because until the middle of the eighteenth century, “engineer” had been solely a military specialty). It had been known since the sixteenth century, when it was used in mining operations, that a draft animal (or a human being) could pull a much heavier load if the wagon was set on rails.


pages: 495 words: 144,101

Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right by Jennifer Burns

anti-communist, bank run, barriers to entry, centralized clearinghouse, collective bargaining, creative destruction, desegregation, feminist movement, financial independence, George Gilder, invisible hand, jimmy wales, Joan Didion, John Markoff, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge worker, laissez-faire capitalism, lone genius, Menlo Park, minimum wage unemployment, Mont Pelerin Society, new economy, Norman Mailer, offshore financial centre, Ponzi scheme, profit motive, RAND corporation, rent control, road to serfdom, Robert Bork, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, side project, Stewart Brand, The Chicago School, The Wisdom of Crowds, union organizing, urban renewal, white flight, Whole Earth Catalog

When artists embraced realism and modernism, she championed Romanticism. Implacably opposed to pragmatism, existentialism, and Freudian psychology, she offered instead Objectivism, an absolutist philosophical system that insisted on the primacy of reason and the existence of a knowable, objective reality. Though she was out of fashion, Rand was not without a tradition or a community. Rather than a lonely genius, she was a deeply engaged thinker, embedded in multiple networks of friends and foes, always driven relentlessly to comment upon and condemn the tide of events that flowed around her. This book seeks to excavate a hidden Rand, one far more complex and contradictory than her public persona suggests. Although she preached unfettered individualism, the story I tell is one of Rand in relationship, both with the significant figures of her life and with the wider world, which appeared to her alternately as implacably hostile and full of limitless possibility.


pages: 606 words: 157,120

To Save Everything, Click Here: The Folly of Technological Solutionism by Evgeny Morozov

3D printing, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Andrew Keen, augmented reality, Automated Insights, Berlin Wall, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, Buckminster Fuller, call centre, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, citizen journalism, cloud computing, cognitive bias, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, data acquisition, Dava Sobel, disintermediation, East Village, en.wikipedia.org, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, frictionless, future of journalism, game design, Gary Taubes, Google Glasses, illegal immigration, income inequality, invention of the printing press, Jane Jacobs, Jean Tirole, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, license plate recognition, lifelogging, lone genius, Louis Pasteur, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, moral panic, Narrative Science, Nelson Mandela, Nicholas Carr, packet switching, PageRank, Parag Khanna, Paul Graham, peer-to-peer, Peter Singer: altruism, Peter Thiel, pets.com, placebo effect, pre–internet, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Richard Thaler, Ronald Coase, Rosa Parks, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Slavoj Žižek, smart meter, social graph, social web, stakhanovite, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stuxnet, technoutopianism, the built environment, The Chicago School, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the medium is the message, The Nature of the Firm, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas L Friedman, transaction costs, urban decay, urban planning, urban sprawl, Vannevar Bush, WikiLeaks

Sol Schwimmer is suing me”: Woody Allen, The Complete Prose of Woody Allen (New York: Wings Books, 1991), 105. 35 “when we think of information technology”: David Edgerton, Shock of the Old: Technology and Global History Since 1900 (London: Profile Books, 2011), xvi. 36 “the most wrenching cultural transformation since the Industrial Revolution”: “‘Antichrist of Silicon Valley,’ Andrew Keen Wary of Online Content Sharing,” Economic Times, May 29, 2012. 37 they don’t always capture the historical complexity: on the longitude problem, see Dava Sobel’s accessible history Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time, reprint ed. (New York: Walker & Company, 2007). On early crowdsourcing efforts by the Smithsonian, see “Smithsonian Crowd-sourcing since 1849!,” Smithsonian Institution Archives, April 14, 2011, http://siarchives.si.edu/blog/smithsonian-crowdsourcing-1849. I learned of Toyota’s efforts via this blog post on pre-Internet crowd-sourcing efforts: “Crowdsourcing Is Not New—the History of Crowdsourcing (1714 to 2010),” DesignCrowd, October 28, 2010, http://blog.designcrowd.com/article/202/crowdsourcing. 37 “Knowledge is taking on the shape of the Net”: David Weinberger, Too Big to Know: Rethinking Knowledge Now that the Facts Aren’t the Facts, Experts Are Everywhere, and the Smartest Person in the Room Is the Room (New York: Basic Books, 2012), 17.


pages: 549 words: 170,495

Culture and Imperialism by Edward W. Said

Ayatollah Khomeini, Bartolomé de las Casas, Bretton Woods, British Empire, colonial rule, European colonialism, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Howard Zinn, Joseph Schumpeter, Khartoum Gordon, lateral thinking, lone genius, Mikhail Gorbachev, Monroe Doctrine, Nelson Mandela, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, sceptred isle, Scramble for Africa, traveling salesman

In time novels accumulate and become what Harry Levin has usefully called an institution of literature, but they do not ever lose either their status as events or their specific density as part of a continuous enterprise recognized and accepted as such by readers and other writers. But for all their social presence, novels are not reducible to a sociological current and cannot be done justice to aesthetically, culturally, and politically as subsidiary forms of class, ideology, or interest. Equally, however, novels are not simply the product of lonely genius (as a school of modern interpreters like Helen Vendler try to suggest), to be regarded only as manifestations of unconditioned creativity. Some of the most exciting recent criticism—Fredric Jameson’s The Political Unconscious and David Miller’s The Novel and the Police are two celebrated examples21—shows the novel generally, and narrative in particular, to have a sort of regulatory social presence in West European societies.


pages: 634 words: 185,116

From eternity to here: the quest for the ultimate theory of time by Sean M. Carroll

Albert Einstein, Albert Michelson, anthropic principle, Arthur Eddington, Brownian motion, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, Columbine, cosmic microwave background, cosmological constant, cosmological principle, dark matter, dematerialisation, double helix, en.wikipedia.org, gravity well, Harlow Shapley and Heber Curtis, Henri Poincaré, Isaac Newton, Johannes Kepler, John von Neumann, Lao Tzu, Laplace demon, lone genius, low earth orbit, New Journalism, Norbert Wiener, pets.com, Pierre-Simon Laplace, Richard Feynman, Richard Stallman, Schrödinger's Cat, Slavoj Žižek, Stephen Hawking, stochastic process, the scientific method, wikimedia commons

Big Bang: The Origin of the Universe. New York: Fourth Estate, 2004. Sklar, L. Physics and Chance: Philosophical Issues in the Foundations of Statistical Mechanics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993. Smolin, L. The Life of the Cosmos. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993. Snow, C.P. The Two Cultures. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998. Sobel, D. Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time. New York: Penguin, 1995. Spergel, D. N., et al., WMAP Collaboration. “First Year Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) Observations: Determination of Cosmological Parameters.” Astrophysical Journal Supplement 148 (2003): 175. Steinhardt, P. J., and Turok, N. “Cosmic Evolution in a Cyclic Universe.” Physical Review D 65 (2002): 126003.


pages: 604 words: 177,329

The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 by Lawrence Wright

airport security, anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, British Empire, Fall of the Berlin Wall, invisible hand, Khyber Pass, lone genius, Mahatma Gandhi, Mikhail Gorbachev, rolodex, Silicon Valley, uranium enrichment, urban planning, Y2K, Yom Kippur War

Qutb responded that his room was equipped with only one bed. “A single bed can hold two people,” she said. Appalled, he closed the door in her face. “I heard her fall on the wooden floor outside and realized that she was drunk,” he recalled. “I instantly thanked God for defeating my temptation and allowing me to stick to my morals.” This is the man, then—decent, proud, tormented, self-righteous—whose lonely genius would unsettle Islam, threaten regimes across the Muslim world, and beckon to a generation of rootless young Arabs who were looking for meaning and purpose in their lives and would find it in jihad. QUTB ARRIVED in New York Harbor in the middle of the most prosperous holiday season the country had ever known. In the postwar boom, everybody was making money—Idaho potato farmers, Detroit automakers, Wall Street bankers—and all this wealth spurred confidence in the capitalist model, which had been so brutally tested during the recent Depression.


pages: 812 words: 205,147

The Anarchy: The Relentless Rise of the East India Company by William Dalrymple

British Empire, colonial rule, crony capitalism, Dava Sobel, deindustrialization, European colonialism, Fellow of the Royal Society, global reserve currency, John Harrison: Longitude, joint-stock company, land reform, lone genius, megacity, offshore financial centre, reserve currency, spice trade, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, upwardly mobile

The Bengal he was heading to was in the process of being changed for ever by a new force in Indian politics: the East India Company and, in particular, the machinations of Robert Clive. * The modern equivalences of these sums are: £1.25 and £2 million = £130 million and £210 million today; £1 million = £105 million; £8 million = £840 million; £3.2 millon = £336 million; £1.1 million = £115 million; £6 million = £630 million. * Over £4 million today. * The Reverend Nevil Maskelyne was, of course, the villain of Dava Sobel’s bestseller Longitude: The Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time, London, 1995. Here Maskelyne is painted, as one critic put it, as ‘a dull but jealous and snobbish Cambridge-trained cleric, whose elitism and privileging of astronomy over mechanical inventiveness prejudice him against the Yorkshire-born and Lincolnshire-bred [hero of the book, John] Harrison. He is jealous, petty and obstructive, putting potential personal gain over disinterested judgement


pages: 998 words: 211,235

A Beautiful Mind by Sylvia Nasar

"Robert Solow", Al Roth, Albert Einstein, Andrew Wiles, Brownian motion, business cycle, cognitive dissonance, Columbine, experimental economics, fear of failure, Gunnar Myrdal, Henri Poincaré, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, John Conway, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, Kenneth Arrow, Kenneth Rogoff, linear programming, lone genius, longitudinal study, market design, medical residency, Nash equilibrium, Norbert Wiener, Paul Erdős, Paul Samuelson, prisoner's dilemma, RAND corporation, Ronald Coase, second-price auction, Silicon Valley, Simon Singh, spectrum auction, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, upwardly mobile, zero-sum game

“To me one of the best things about the Heisenberg paper is its restriction to the observable quantities,” he wrote, adding that “I want to find a different and more satisfying under-picture of a non-observable reality.”49 It was this attempt that Nash would blame, decades later in a lecture to psychiatrists, for triggering his mental illness — calling his attempt to resolve the contradictions in quantum theory, on which he embarked in the summer of 1957, “possibly overreaching and psychologically destabilizing.”50 31 The Bomb Factory What’s the matter with being a loner and innovative? Isn’t that fine? But the [lone genius] has the same wishes as other people. If he were back in high school doing science projects, fine. But if he s too isolated and he’s disappointed in something big, it’s frightening, and fright can precipitate — PAUL HOWARD, McLean Hospital JÜRGEN MOSER had joined the M I T faculty in the fall of 1957 and was living with his wife, Gertrude, and his stepson, Richy, in a tiny rented house to the west of Boston in Needham near Wellesley College.


pages: 1,205 words: 308,891

Bourgeois Dignity: Why Economics Can't Explain the Modern World by Deirdre N. McCloskey

Airbnb, Akira Okazaki, big-box store, Black Swan, book scanning, British Empire, business cycle, buy low sell high, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, clean water, Columbian Exchange, conceptual framework, correlation does not imply causation, Costa Concordia, creative destruction, crony capitalism, dark matter, Dava Sobel, David Graeber, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, double entry bookkeeping, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, experimental economics, Ferguson, Missouri, fundamental attribution error, Georg Cantor, George Akerlof, George Gilder, germ theory of disease, Gini coefficient, God and Mammon, greed is good, Gunnar Myrdal, Hans Rosling, Henry Ford's grandson gave labor union leader Walter Reuther a tour of the company’s new, automated factory…, Hernando de Soto, immigration reform, income inequality, interchangeable parts, invention of agriculture, invention of writing, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Islamic Golden Age, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, John Harrison: Longitude, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, knowledge economy, labor-force participation, lake wobegon effect, land reform, liberation theology, lone genius, Lyft, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, means of production, Naomi Klein, new economy, North Sea oil, Occupy movement, open economy, out of africa, Pareto efficiency, Paul Samuelson, Pax Mongolica, Peace of Westphalia, peak oil, Peter Singer: altruism, Philip Mirowski, pink-collar, plutocrats, Plutocrats, positional goods, profit maximization, profit motive, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, refrigerator car, rent control, rent-seeking, Republic of Letters, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Scientific racism, Scramble for Africa, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, Simon Kuznets, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, spinning jenny, stakhanovite, Steve Jobs, The Chicago School, The Market for Lemons, the rule of 72, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, total factor productivity, Toyota Production System, transaction costs, transatlantic slave trade, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, uber lyft, union organizing, very high income, wage slave, Washington Consensus, working poor, Yogi Berra

Snell, Daniel C. 1997. Life in the Ancient Near East, 3100–332 B.C.E. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. Sng, Tuan-Hwee, and Chiaki Moriguchi. 2014. “Asia’s Little Divergence: State Capacity in China and Japan before 1850.” Unpublished paper, Center for Economic Institutions, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubasi University, Japan. Sobel, Dava. 1995. Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time. New York: Penguin. Sombart, Werner. 1913 (1915). Der Bourgeois: Zur Geistesgeschichte des modernen Wirtschaftsmenschen. Trans. M. Epstein, as The Quintessence of Capitalism: A Study of the History and Psychology of the Modern Business Man. New York: Dutton. At Google Books. Sowell, Thomas. 1987 (2007). A Conflict of Visions: Ideological Origins of Political Struggles.


pages: 1,197 words: 304,245

The Invention of Science: A New History of the Scientific Revolution by David Wootton

agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, British Empire, clockwork universe, Commentariolus, commoditize, conceptual framework, Dava Sobel, double entry bookkeeping, double helix, en.wikipedia.org, Ernest Rutherford, Fellow of the Royal Society, fudge factor, germ theory of disease, Google X / Alphabet X, Hans Lippershey, interchangeable parts, invention of gunpowder, invention of the steam engine, invention of the telescope, Isaac Newton, Jacques de Vaucanson, James Watt: steam engine, Johannes Kepler, John Harrison: Longitude, knowledge economy, lateral thinking, lone genius, Mercator projection, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, Philip Mirowski, placebo effect, QWERTY keyboard, Republic of Letters, social intelligence, spice trade, spinning jenny, the scientific method, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions

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