Future Perfect

The Case For Progress In A Networked Age

By Steven Johnson
(Riverhead Hardcover, Hardcover, 9781594488207, 272pp.)

Publication Date: September 18, 2012

Other Editions of This Title: Paperback

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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, by peer networks, but not dependent on high-tech solutions -- that breaks with the conventional categories of liberal or conservative, public vs. private thinking.

With his acclaimed gift for multi-disciplinary storytelling and big idea books, 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 innovative strategies 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.

About the Author

Steven Johnson is the author of seven bestsellers, including Where Good Ideas Come From, The Invention of Air, The Ghost Map, and Everything Bad Is Good for You, and is the editor of the anthology The Innovator’s Cookbook. He is the founder of a variety of influential websites—most recently, outside.in—and writes for Time, Wired, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. He lives in Marin County, California, with his wife and three sons.

Praise For Future Perfect

"There’s an interesting book, if you want to be optimistic about the future, by Steven Johnson, a great science writer, called Future Perfect." – Bill Clinton, speaking at The Health Matters conference
Praise for Where Good Ideas Come From

[Where Good Ideas Come From is a] rich, integrated, and often sparkling book. Mr. Johnson, who knows a thing or two about the history of science, is a first-rate storyteller." -- New York Times

"A vision of innovation and ideas that is resolutely social, dynamic, and material.... Fluidly written, entertaining, and smart without being arcane." -- Los Angeles Times
"Brilliant... Johnson is an exemplar of the post-categorical age.... The 'long zoom' approach gives Johnson's book power, makes it a tool for understanding where we stand today, and makes it satisfying." -- New York Times Book Review
"Stimulating, iconoclastic, and strikingly original." -- The Atlantic Monthly
"Essential reading for anyone trying to understand this culture." -- New York Times
"Johnson is a polymath... [It's] exhilarating to follow his unpredictable trains of thought. To explain why some ideas upend the world, he draws upon many disciplines: chemistry, social history, geography, even ecosystem science." -- Los Angeles Times
"Steven Johnson is the Darwin of technology. Through fascinating observations and insights, he enlightens us about the origin of ideas. How do you create environments and networks that promote innovation? Johnson discovers patterns that help clarify that critical question." -- Walter Isaacson, author of the bestselling Steve Jobs

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