Johnson's book was bestseller in 2014 and the companion to his highly-entertaining six-part PBS series. In both the book and the televised series, Johnson tells the stories of these concepts:
My favorite chapter may be Cold. Johnson shows how someone's idea of cutting ice from frozen ponds to store until summer led to shipping it to the tropics. Once that started someone else perfected insulating the hold for the ice and another on making artificial cold by heat removal, both of which led to refrigerators. The idea of chilling food led to cooling spaces with air conditioning (or the other way around). Air conditioning led to people being able to live more comfortably in tropical and desert regions, starting a migration to states like Florida, Texas, Arizona, and California. All because someone cut ice from ponds.
Being about technology, it is appropriate that How We Got to Now is available in many formats. All facilitate optimism and love of innovation.
Johnson, Steven. How We Got to Now: Six Innovations That Made the Modern World. Riverhead Books, 2014. 293p. ISBN 9781594632969.
Audiobook: Penguin Audio, 2014. 5 discs. ISBN 9781611763386
DVD: PBS, 2014. 2 discs. ISBN 9781627890366