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Comments

Ricardo Joseph

Augusto de Franco, who organized one large event in Curitiba where you're a keynote , knows a lot about Paul Baran and could be a good source for your book.

Peter

I agree with other commenters that you're making great connections across sources/media and that lots of people do not research well. For me serendipity is could be even more accidental in nature? I guess I'm waiting for the web to pull up the thing I really didn't even know I wanted. Things I still discover and/or appreciate? best physically.

Peter

Tumblr gives good accident. Discovering new fiction or music (which I like) needs work on Amazon and iTunes. Youre right though.. researching on the web is great. Would love to have a Twitter audience to query.

D. T. Gray

Your post was very informative. It is good to figure out what works for you as well as grow your process and make it better. In the end, it always helps us to write better. I believe anyway.

Kate_hammer

Steven, this is a lucid and wonderful account, and a good reminder of how creative non-fiction can be. I've been talking about this piece to several people since I read it because it struck such a deep chord. I feel about this description the way I feel when directors or actors or observers have written well about the rehearsal process. For me, it's the pleasure of glimpsing someone else's process and also how much luck, intuition, serendipity combine with craft and expertise. It feels a lifetime ago that we were in Neil Lazarus's Political Economy of the Body seminar. I'm glad I've re-found you. I meant to write directly after my mom sent me the clip of your NYRB essay on Semiotics at Brown in the 80s, but it was Christmas and a busy time work wise. All the best from London.

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Hey steve, thought provoking post. Certainly made my cogs turn. Thanks. Joe

Melodyhhanson

Thanks for this! I thoroughly enjoyed your description of a rabbit trails method of learning, along with a degree of serendipity and hunch, and found it inspiring. I do agree with others who have said that you were taught long ago how to think and have a solid base of knowledge from which to expand. So many online simply keep to one or two sources, sadly. It encourages ignorance.

Ariel

Like the blog, appreciate the share!

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Great to see that writing-while-still-researching can be achieved.
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I would have to agree with the other guy, would be much simpler to share if I were able to hit a like button or a G+ button.

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Wow great post. You give some good en-site and resources on research. Thanks

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All I knew was that a plane flew into the tower. I didn't know details.


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All I knew was that a plane flew into the tower. I didn't know details.

Andrea

I learned about you, Steven Johnson, today after following a link in a bibliography from the ebook "Grasp the Solution". I watched 3 of your video's, have researched you on Google, am now reading your blog and intend to follow up on some of your links. You are now on my "list to follow".

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    The Basics

    • I'm a father of three boys, husband of one wife, and author of eight books, and co-founder of three web sites. We spend most of the year in Marin County, California though I'm on the road a lot giving talks. (You can see the full story here.) Personal correspondence should go to sbeej68 at gmail dot com. If you're interested in having me speak at an event, drop a line to Wesley Neff at the Leigh Bureau (WesN at Leighbureau dot com.)

    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!

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