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How We Got to Now: Six Innovations That Made the Modern World: About the Author

Steven Johnson


Steven Johnson is a writer, media expert, and science maven whose books confront the complexities of the zones where science and culture meet. In 1995, Johnson founded the now-defunct online journal Feed, which examined the front lines of Web life and the development of computers and interconnectivity as a normal part of everyday existence. He was also the host and cocreator of the 2014 Emmy-winning PBS series How We Got to Now.

Johnson explores a half-dozen innovations that have helped to shape societies in How We Got to Now: Six Innovations That Made the Modern World. The author's list includes glass, refrigeration, clocks, sound recording, sanitation, and lighting. With each of these innovations, Johnson provides the historical background and significance.

"In the process, [Johnson] explores the unique, surprising, and thought-provoking family lineage of these key technologies," noted Research-Technology Management contributor Roger Smith of How We Got to Now. "The result is an engaging, illuminating narrative with unexpected twists." Choice reviewer C.G. Wood recommended the book for "anybody interested in the evolution of science and technology." Similar praise came from a Publishers Weekly contributor who called it a "fascinating book," and from Christian Science Monitor writer Nick Romeo, who termed it a "rapid but interesting tour of the history behind many of the comforts and technologies that comprise our world."

Steven Johnson. (2018). In Contemporary Authors Online. Detroit, MI: Gale. Retrieved from

Gale Biography in Context: Steven Johnson

Steven Johnson's official site

Hosted by Steven Johnson

American Innovations

DNA. Artificial intelligence. Smartphones and 3D printers. Science and technology have transformed the world we live in. But how did we get here? It wasn’t by accident. Well, sometimes it was. It was also the result of hard work, teamwork, and competition. And incredibly surprising moments.

Hosted by bestselling author Steven Johnson (“How We Got To Now”), American Innovations uses immersive scenes to tell the stories of the scientists, engineers, and ordinary people behind the greatest discoveries of the past century. From Wondery, the network behind Business Wars, American History Tellers, and Dirty John.

Listen for free on your podcast app of choice.

Books by Steven Johnson