I know Steven Johnson as the author of Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software and Mind Wide Open: Your Brain and the Neuroscience of Everyday Life - two of his earlier books, and two areas in which I am more deeply interested.
He is also the author of Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation and Everything Bad is Good for You: How Today's Popular Culture is Actually Making Us Smarter - which I suspect are his better known books.
His newest book (which he discusses here) is Future Perfect: The Case For Progress In A Networked Age.
Combining the deft social analysis of Where Good Ideas Come From with the optimistic arguments of Everything Bad Is Good For You, New York Times bestselling author Steven Johnson's Future Perfect makes the case that a new model of political change is on the rise, transforming everything from local governments to classrooms, from protest movements to health care. Johnson paints a compelling portrait of this new political worldview -- influenced by the success and interconnectedness of the Internet, but not dependent on high-tech solutions -- that breaks with the conventional categories of liberal or conservative thinking.
With his acclaimed gift for multi-disciplinary storytelling and big ideas, Johnson explores this new vision of progress through a series of fascinating narratives: from the "miracle on the Hudson" to the planning of the French railway system; from the battle against malnutrition in Vietnam to a mysterious outbreak of strange smells in downtown Manhattan; from underground music video artists to the invention of the Internet itself.
At a time when the conventional wisdom holds that the political system is hopelessly gridlocked with old ideas, Future Perfect makes the timely and inspiring case that progress is still possible, and that new solutions are on the rise. This is a hopeful, affirmative outlook for the future, from one of the most brilliant and inspiring visionaries of contemporary culture.