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Steven Johnson

How Play Made the Modern World

Festival of Ideas/
Tue 14 February 2017

Steven Johnson

How Play Made the Modern World

steven-johnson-c-nutopia-ltd-final
Tue 14 February 2017,

Steven Johnson is a leading light in today’s interdisciplinary, collaborative, open-minded approach to innovation and his writing has influenced everything from cutting-edge ideas in urban planning to the fight against terrorism. He now looks how our pursuit of wonder has become a powerful driver of world-shaping technological change, arguing that the future is found wherever people are having the most fun.

In his history of play, Steven Johnson offers a surprising examination of popular entertainment. Roving from medieval kitchens and ancient taverns to casinos and shopping malls, he locates the cutting edge of innovation wherever people are working hardest to keep themselves and others amused.

He introduces us to the colourful innovators of leisure: the explorers, proprietors, show people, and artists who changed the trajectory of history with their luxurious wares, exotic meals, taverns, gambling tables, and magic shows.  These wonderlands of amusement did more than just entertain their patrons, Johnson argues. They also directly contributed to economic and social revolutions that transformed the modern world.

Image credit Nutopia Ltd.

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