Steven Johnson is the leading light of today’s interdisciplinary, collaborative, open-minded approach to innovation. His writings have influenced everything from cutting-edge ideas in urban planning to the battle against 21st-century terrorism. Steven was chosen by Prospect magazine as one of the Top Ten Brains of the Digital Future, and The Wall Street Journal called him “one of the most persuasive advocates for the role of collaboration in innovation.” He unites a deep understanding of scientific progress with a sharp sensitivity to contemporary online trends. Together, those traits give him an unmatched insight into how ideas emerge and spread and how they affect the world today.
His newest book, Farsighted: How We Make the Decisions That Matter the Most (Sept 2018), is full of the beautifully crafted storytelling and novel insights that Johnson’s fans know to expect. Steven examines consequential once-in-lifetime decisions; the ones that affect our lives for years, or centuries, to come. Farsighted draws lessons from cognitive science, social psychology, military strategy, environmental planning, and great works of literature.
Steven’s work on the history of innovation inspired the Emmy-nominated six-part series on PBS, HOW WE GOT TO NOW with Steven Johnson, that aired in the fall of 2014. The book version of How We Got To Now debuted at #4 on the New York Times bestseller list, and was a finalist for the PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award.
His new book, Wonderland: How Play Made the Modern World, revolves around the creative power of play: ideas and innovations that set into motion the many momentous changes in science, technology, politics and society. Inspired by the book, Steven launched a new podcast series about the past and future of play and innovation.
Steven is also the author of the bestselling Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation. Steven considers breakthroughs as different as Darwin’s theories and the rise of YouTube, and asks: what did these moments have in common? What kind of environments fostered these ideas? He answers these questions with a core set of innovation principles that have encouraged creativity across history. It’s a fascinating read and a wonderfully practical guide to making any space or organization more innovation-friendly.
Good Ideas is just one of Steven’s many books celebrating progress and innovation. Others include The Innovator’s Cookbook, which he edited, The Invention of Air and The Ghost Map. Everything Bad Is Good For You, one of the most discussed books of 2005, argued that the increasing complexity of modern media is training us to think in more complex ways. Emergence and Future Perfect explore the power of bottom-up intelligence in both nature and contemporary society.
An innovator himself, Steven has co-created three influential sites: the pioneering online magazine FEED, the Webby-Award-winning community site, Plastic.com, and the hyperlocal media site — outside.in, which was acquired by AOL in 2011. His TED talk on innovation has been viewed more than three million times.
He is a regular contributor to Wired magazine, as well as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and many other periodicals. He’s appeared on many high-profile television programs, including The Charlie Rose Show, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. He is @stevenbjohnson on Twitter, where he has 1.4 million followers.