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My Books

  • : Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation

    Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation
    An exploration of environments that lead to breakthrough innovation, in science, technology, business, and the arts. I conceived it as the closing book in a trilogy on innovative thinking, after Ghost Map and Invention. But in a way, it completes an investigation that runs through all the books. Sold more copies in hardcover than anything else I've written.

  • : The Invention of Air

    The Invention of Air
    The story of the British radical chemist Joseph Priestley, who ended up having a Zelig-like role in the American Revolution. My version of a founding fathers book, and a reminder that most of the Enlightenment was driven by open source ideals.

  • : The Ghost Map

    The Ghost Map
    The latest: the story of a terrifying outbreak of cholera in 1854 London 1854 that ended up changing the world. An idea book wrapped around a page-turner. I like to think of it as a sequel to Emergence if Emergence had been a disease thriller. You can see a trailer for the book here.

  • : Everything Bad Is Good for You: How Today's Popular Culture Is Actually Making Us Smarter

    Everything Bad Is Good for You: How Today's Popular Culture Is Actually Making Us Smarter
    The title says it all. This one sparked a slightly insane international conversation about the state of pop culture -- and particularly games. There were more than a few dissenters, but the response was more positive than I had expected. And it got me on The Daily Show, which made it all worthwhile.

  • : Mind Wide Open : Your Brain and the Neuroscience of Everyday Life

    Mind Wide Open : Your Brain and the Neuroscience of Everyday Life
    My first best-seller, and the only book I've written in which I appear as a recurring character, subjecting myself to a battery of humiliating brain scans. The last chapter on Freud and the neuroscientific model of the mind is one of my personal favorites.

  • : Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software

    Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software
    The story of bottom-up intelligence, from slime mold to Slashdot. Probably the most critically well-received all my books, and the one that has influenced the most eclectic mix of fields: political campaigns, web business models, urban planning, the war on terror.

  • : Interface Culture : How New Technology Transforms the Way We Create and Communicate

    Interface Culture : How New Technology Transforms the Way We Create and Communicate
    My first. The book I wrote instead of finishing my dissertation. Still in print almost a decade later, and still relevant, I think. But I haven't read it in a while, so who knows what's in there!

Biography

Steven Johnson is the best-selling author of four books on the intersection of science, technology and personal experience. His writings have influenced everything from the way political campaigns use the Internet, to cutting-edge ideas in urban planning, to the battle against 21st-century terrorism.

His latest work, the national bestseller Everything Bad Is Good For You, was one of the most talked about books of 2005. Steven argues that the popular culture we love to hate—TV, movies, video games—are getting better and are making us (and our children) smarter. In addition to his books, Steven is a contributing editor for Wired magazine and a monthly columnist for Discover magazine. He is a Distinguished Writer In Residence at the New York University Department of Journalism. He lectures widely on technological, scientific, and cultural issues, both to corporate and education institutions.

Steven's argument in Everything Bad Is Good For You builds on brain research he investigated in his previous bestseller Mind Wide Open: Your Brain And The Neuroscience of Everyday Life. In that book, Steven uses his own personality as the test case for describing how the new brain science is yielding new understandings of human personality. Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities and Software was on four prestigious "Best Book of the Year" lists and was named a New York Times Notable Book. It was a finalist for the 2002 Helen Bernstein Award for Excellence in Journalism. Steven’s books have been translated into a dozen different languages.

He was the cofounder and editor-in-chief of FEED, the revolutionary web magazine blending technology, science and culture with a truly innovative interface. Newsweek named him one of the “Fifty People Who Matter Most on the Internet.” In addition to his columns, he’s published in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Nation, and many other periodicals. He’s also appeared on many high-profile televisions programs, including The Charlie Rose Show, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.

Personal correspondance should go to sbj6668 at earthlink dot net. Media requests should go to Kim.Marsar at us.penguingroup dot com. If you're interested in having Steven speak at an event, drop a line to Wesley Neff at the Leigh Bureau (WesN at Leighbureau dot com.)