Where Good Ideas Come From

The Seven Patterns of Innovation

by Steven Johnson

Number of pages: 336

Publisher: Penguin

BBB Library: Creativity and Innovation

ISBN: 978-0141033402

About the Author

Johnson grew up in Washington,D.C., where he attended St. Albans School. He completed his undergraduate degree at Brown University, where he studied semiotics, a part of the school’s modern culture and media department. He also has a graduate degree from Columbia University in English literature.


Editorial Review

Where Good Ideas Come From is about the space of innovation. Some environments squelch new ideas; some environments seem to breed them effortlessly. Our thought shapes the spaces we inhabit, and our spaces return the favor. We argue that a series of shared properties and patterns recur again and again in unusually fertile environments. We have distilled them down into seven patterns. The more we embrace these patterns, the better we will be at tapping our extraordinary capacity for innovative thinking. 

Book Reviews

“From the Renaissance to satellites, medical breakthroughs to social media, Charles Darwin to Marconi, Steven Johnson shows how, by recognising where and how patterns of creativity occur, we can all discover the secrets of inspiration.” - Penguin

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Wisdom to Share

The natural state of ideas is flow and spillover and connection. It is society that keeps them in chains

We are often better served by connecting ideas than we are by protecting them.

It is in the nature of good ideas to stand on the shoulders of the giants who came before them.

The patterns are simple, but followed together, they make for a whole that is wiser than the sum of its parts.

Sustaining the slow hunch is less a matter of perspiration than of cultivation

The English language is blessed with a wonderful word that captures the power of accidental connection: serendipity

The waking brain has an appetite for the generative chaos that rules in the dream state

Error often creates a path that leads you out of your comfortable assumptions. Being right keeps you in place. Being wrong forces you to explore

Most great ideas come into the world half-baked, more hunch than revelation

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Market-based competition has no monopoly on innovation

Ideas collide, emerge, recombine; new enterprises find homes in the shells abandoned by earlier hosts.