Steven Johnson's Blog, page 6
April 16, 2009
A few weeks after the book tour for The Invention of Air started to wind down, I got an email from an old friend who had spent some time with Bill Clinton at Davos. It was a quick note to report that Clinton had apparently spontaneously brought up my book in conversation, and had said some nice things about it.
That was very cool to hear, obviously, but hearing it immediately introduced a whole new set of questions: how had he heard about the book? What exactly did he like about it? And was this
March 25, 2009
I'd been meaning to do a follow-up post collecting the responses to my SXSW speech on "Old Growth Media And The Future of News," but I kept putting it off because new articles and posts continued to roll in, and stitching them all together started to seem a little daunting. I've certainly never given a speech that generated so much discussion before, which tells you a little about how passionate people are about this issue right now.
The volume of response also underscores the value of releasi
March 14, 2009
The following is a speech I gave yesterday at the South By Southwest Interactive Festival in Austin.
If you happened to be hanging out in
front of the old College Hill Bookstore in Providence Rhode Island in
1987, on the third week of every month you would have seen a skinny
19-year-old in baggy pants, sporting a vaguely Morrissey-like haircut,
walking into the bookstore several times a day.
That kid was me.
I wish I could tell you that I was making those compulsive return
March 5, 2009
I got my first I got my first Kindle last week, and have been toying around with it a little ever since. It is a very provocative little device, one of those technologies that--for all its imperfections--makes you realize that a whole new set of possibilities are just around the corner. I jotted down a few loosely connected thoughts and observations:
1. The iPhone interface has become so second-nature that a handheld device without a touch UI seems simply broken. It just seems inane to use the
I'll be the guest on the Colbert Report tonight, at 11:30 EST on Comedy Central. The most surreal interview known to man, short of being interviewed by Ali G, so it should be entertaining. Last time I was on, he pretended to shoot me in the head with a nail gun, so I figure it can only get better...
January 28, 2009
Oh. Hi there, blog. How's it going? You look really nice today.
Listen, we have to talk. I feel really bad about this, but the truth is: I've been seeing another blog.
I should have mentioned it, but, well, for the past two weeks, as I've been entertaining you with quotes from my book reviews, I've been writing about Candy Land, aviation safety, Lost, and the Obama IT plan over at BoingBoing. I may have even caused a plane to fall out of the sky in one of my posts.I know this is hard to hear, bu
January 27, 2009
January 25, 2009
Here's a recipe for a nice Sunday morning: you get to spend it at home for the first time in weeks, and the Times Book Review runs a very nice and thoughtful review of your book, in this case authored by Russell Shorto, who wrote The Island At The Center Of The World, which I have been dying to read. (And now I really have to!)
It's always fun to read reviews like this where the book is put into the context of my other work:Johnson is an exemplar of the post-categorical age. In “Everything Bad I
January 22, 2009
Okay, so I'm almost done clogging up this blog with posts about the book tour events, but tonight's a special one: I'm going to do an Inauguration-themed talk about Invention of Air here in Brooklyn, tonight at 7PM at the Court Street Barnes and Noble, in Brooklyn Heights/Cobble Hill. It would be great to see folks from the neighborhood show up....
And thanks to everyone who came out and bought books on the west coast. We hit #7 on the Pacific Northwest nonfiction list (go Seattle and Portland!),
January 19, 2009
Lovely review of Invention by John Gapper in today's Financial Times:Johnson's biography, with its digressions into theories of scientific and
cultural progress, and tales of Priestley's experiments, feels almost as
full of ingenuity and as delightful as its subject. It fizzes with
exposition, anecdote, and intellectual asides.
I just noticed that the Amazon page for the book has been updated with a collection of quotes from the reviews. Always exciting to see them all strung together. I've