How We Got To Now by Steven Johnson

Reads more like a series of essays first published in a paper or blog than a book with a single through-line. Probably a relic of its beginnings as a TV series.

Still, the writing was clear and concise, allowing me to learn the following:

  • The lightbulb took 40 years to develop. Edison was just the last researcher to work out the kinks. Even his formula — carbon filament in a vacuum — was first used in 1841, 38 years before his success.
  • Chicago’s sewer system was installed by raising the entire city — buildings and all — ten feet.
  • The artisans that made Venice famous for its glass were Turkish refugees that settled in the city after the sack of Constantinople in 1204.