Where Good Ideas Come From by Steven Johnson is another one of those books that shakes you up like a paint can at Home Depot. This book also gets 5 stars out of 5 on the CapnRehab interest scale.
Today’s post should be about keel repair, but instead of that I’m going to share another book that is pretty amazing. Steven Johnson is a very good writer. He has the rare ability to pull things together than may not seem related and turn them into a compelling story. In this case he tells us how ideas actually are related, where they come from, and how we can prime the pump a bit.
It also was another book that I could only read a chapter at a time. Not so much because it was hard to read, but because I wanted to think about what I’d just read. In broad terms he talks about how there is a myth of the “Eureka” moments where an idea leaps into consciousness. What more often happens is that we have a “Slow burn” idea that can sit in the background of our mind for a long time, even decades, until it meets another idea and becomes fully formed. The book is full of the stories of ideas and how they were developed.
One thing we can do to get more ideas is to expose ourselves to other disciplines and other types of people. One interesting thing he mentioned was that Bill Gates will take a week of at a time to read a stack of books that he’s been saving all year. It seems that it’s important not just to expose your self to new ideas, but to do it in a rush. Somehow this cross connects the pathways in your brain in new ways that they didn’t have before.
I really enjoyed this book. If you read it, let me know.
P.S. He has many other books. One I’ve read that I liked even more than this is “Ghost Map”. I read it a while back at a time when I was only posting boat book reviews here. It’s about how the mystery of the source of the Cholera epidemic in London was solved. Believe me, you don’t have to be a doctor or like medicine stories to really enjoy the book.
P.P.S. My mom read his other book “How we got to now” and said it is terrific too. Apparently you can’t go wrong reading a book by Mr. Johnson.