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.