I’m very excited to announce my next book — Wonderland: How Play Made The Modern World, to be published in November by my long-time publisher Riverhead Books. The book is in many ways a sequel to How We Got To Now, though it also has some thematic links that connect it back to Everything Bad Is Good For You. Wonderland deploys the same overarching structure as How We Got To Now: six chapters, each focusing on one facet of the modern world, tracing the history of brilliant ideas and forgotten innovators and unintended consequences that led to our present reality. Wonderland explores the history of fashion and shopping, the spice trade, musical instruments, illusion, games, and physical spaces like taverns or parks designed for the pursuit of pleasure. But unlike How We Got To Now, Wonderland also makes a larger argument about the disproportionate impact that delight and wonder have had on our history. There’s a longer post introducing the book at Medium if you’re interested. Pre-ordering the book is a great way to support authors you like, so if you’re planning on buy it when it comes out, a pre-order now would be greatly appreciated. This page has links to all the major booksellers.
In the months leading up to the publication date, we’re going to be releasing episodes of a new podcast, also called Wonderland. The podcast will feature a few stories from the book, but also many special guests discussing the connection betwen play and innovation. Episode one, “Babbage and the Dancer,” is live now, featuring guests Ken Goldberg and Kate Darling. Thanks to Microsoft and Riverhead Books for their support in making the podcast a reality.