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Wonderland: How Play Made the Modern World by Steven Johnson at Abbey's Bookshop,

Wonderland: How Play Made the Modern World

Steven Johnson


9781509837298

Macmillan


History;
General & world history;
Popular science;
History of engineering & technology;
Inventions & inventors


Paperback

$29.99
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Everyone knows the old saying "necessity is the mother of invention," but if you do a paternity test on many of the modern world's most important ideas or institutions, you will find, invariably, that leisure and play were involved in the conception as well.

Most history books don't concern themselves with delight. History is the serious business of war, treaties, governments and monarchs. This is a different kind of history book. Steven Johnson argues that if you want to understand how we got to now, you have to understand pleasure and play. A staggering amount of the landscape of modern life is populated by environments and technology designed to entertain and delight us. Here history of popular entertainment, arguing that the pursuit of novelty and wonder is a powerful driver of world-shaping technological change. Throughout history, he locates the cutting edge of innovation wherever people are working the hardest to keep themselves and others amused.

He introduces us to the colorful innovators of leisure: the explorers, proprietors, showmen, and artists who changed the trajectory of history with their luxurious wares, exotic meals, taverns, gambling tables, and magic shows.

By:   Steven Johnson
Imprint:   Macmillan
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 234mm,  Width: 153mm,  Spine: 24mm
Weight:   475g
ISBN:   9781509837298
ISBN 10:   1509837299
Publication Date:   December 2016
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Author Website:   https://stevenberlinjohnson.com/

Johnson entertainingly shows how appetites for spices led to international exploration and colonial empires and how the ornamentation of fashion and jewelry spurred technological innovation and industry. He tells of the social revolutions that were hatched in taverns and coffeehouses, public spaces distinctly different from those where one worked, lived, or worshipped, and he suggests that commerce and consumption were not byproducts of the Industrial Revolution but driving forces. Johnson also shows the darker sides of colonial empires built on spices and of the shopping mall, which catered to consumption while threatening the inner city. There's an infectious spirit of delight in the prose, which matches the themes in a book that will engage even those not entirely convinced by its thesis to take a look from a different perspective. Kirkus Review (starred) In this charming study, Johnson (How We Got to Now) examines how the seemingly frivolous and unproductive aspects of society - the things people do for fun, pleasure, and entertainment - have influenced, defined, and created the world... In an entertaining and accessible style, he takes tangents that arrive at sometimes startling conclusions, like a magician practicing misdirection Publishers Weekly (starred)

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