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    Description

    Building on his national best seller The Rational Optimist, Matt Ridley chronicles the history of innovation, and how we need to change our thinking on the subject.

    Innovation is the main event of the modern age, the reason we experience both dramatic improvements in our living standards and unsettling changes in our society. Forget short-term symptoms like Donald Trump and Brexit, it is innovation itself that explains them and that will itself shape the 21st century for good and ill. Yet innovation remains a mysterious process, poorly understood by policy makers and businessmen, hard to summon into existence to order, yet inevitable and inexorable when it does happen.

    Matt Ridley argues in this audiobook that we need to change the way we think about innovation, to see it as an incremental, bottom-up, fortuitous process that happens to society as a direct result of the human habit of exchange, rather than an orderly, top-down process developing according to a plan. Innovation is crucially different from invention because it is the turning of inventions into things of practical and affordable use to people. It speeds up in some sectors and slows down in others. It is always a collective, collaborative phenomenon, not a matter of lonely genius. It is gradual, serendipitous, recombinant, inexorable, contagious, experimental, and unpredictable. It happens mainly in just a few parts of the world at any one time. It still cannot be modelled properly by economists, but it can easily be discouraged by politicians. Far from there being too much innovation, we may be on the brink of an innovation famine.

    Ridley derives these and other lessons, not with abstract argument, but from telling the lively stories of scores of innovations, how they started and why they succeeded or in some cases failed. He goes back millions of years and leaps forward into the near future. Some of the innovation stories he tells are about steam engines, jet engines, search engines, airships, coffee, potatoes, vaping, vaccines, cuisine, antibiotics, mosquito nets, turbines, propellers, fertiliser, zero, computers, dogs, farming, fire, genetic engineering, gene editing, container shipping, railways, cars, safety rules, wheeled suitcases, mobile phones, corrugated iron, powered flight, chlorinated water, toilets, vacuum cleaners, shale gas, the telegraph, radio, social media, block chain, the sharing economy, artificial intelligence, fake bomb detectors, phantom games consoles, fraudulent blood tests, faddish diets, hyperloop tubes, herbicides, copyright, and even - a biological innovation - life itself.

    ©2020 Matt Ridley (P)2020 HarperCollins Publishers

    Ce que les auditeurs disent de How Innovation Works

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    • Global
      2 out of 5 stars
    • Interprétation
      4 out of 5 stars
    • Histoire
      2 out of 5 stars
    Image de profile pour RickyF
    • RickyF
    • 01/07/2020

    Bad scholarship and bias that overwhelms his facts

    Though the stories he weaves are interesting, there are significant issues with this book.

    Bad scholarship: Babbage’s Difference Engine did not solve differential equations (as if any machine could in 1830). Instead, it solved polynomial equations using the method of differences (which uses addition only.) He talks about Augusta Ada Byron, Countess of Lovelace as if she were Babbage’s peer. She was not. If you examine their correspondence, you see that her footnotes to the translated French article by the Italian, Luigi Menabrea, about the Analytical Engine, were greatly informed by Babbage, who was the world’s first computer programmer, unless you want to give that honor to Joseph Marie Jacquard for his punch card automated loom. If he screwed up this much on Babbage, what other errors exist that we don’t know about?

    I agree that IP laws are often impediments to progress but to a small degree they serve a purpose. Unfortunately, today the rule making process has been captured by special interests around the world and ignores the public interest.

    He uses a scattershot approach, picking and choosing what fits his hypothesis.

    He poo-poos side effects of things like Roundup, which its owner Bayer just settled cancer lawsuits for $10.5 billion, or the water contaminating effects of fracking that pollute entire communities water supplies. In fact, the company he highlights in this endeavor, Chesapeake Energy Corporation, just filed for bankruptcy and the ecological devastation they wreaked will now be redressed by the public’s coffers.

    He ignored the innovation in weapons which have had significant effects on humans during the past few millennia.

    Textile technology missing. What is more basic than that besides food?

    Building innovations missing

    Bronze and iron age technologies ignored, very little attention to stone age tech.

    Ancient Greek computational devices, like Antikythera mechanism, ignored

    Mapping/surveying technology missing

    The issue of complexity ignored

    Fintech innovation is ignored

    In summary, this book is a mere polemic, and poorly researched. Ridley deserves our scorn for this garbage.

    8 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

    • Global
      2 out of 5 stars
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    Image de profile pour Pimpernel Sandybanks
    • Pimpernel Sandybanks
    • 21/09/2020

    As a story this is good, too much fiction

    The fact gathering that supports this book seems to be done to support a narrative, rather than investigating genuine curiosity. I would recommend "Jump Starting America" and "The Technology Trap: Capital, Labor, and Power in the Age of Automation" in addition to this book for a more balanced and hard-fact based outlook (the research that went into either of those books was more substantial than the research for this one). This book aligns itself with a few common misconceptions secondary to the primary subject. Insofar as "how innovation works" this is a reasonably good study.

    6 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

    • Global
      5 out of 5 stars
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    • Bill Bochynski
    • 10/06/2020

    "Light" and fun, but "heavy" and valuable.

    Lightweight, accessible, but significant.

    Annnd...an economics lesson.

    I will read this again!

    Thank you.

    4 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

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      5 out of 5 stars
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    • Some Body
    • 30/06/2020

    A fascinating, perspective changing book

    This book dispelled a lot of the popular myths that I grew up believing about innovation, and forced me to re-examine some of my own beliefs and practices. It is rare and wonderful treasure of a book, full of fascinating facts and wonderful storytelling.

    2 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

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    Image de profile pour Some Guy on the West Coast
    • Some Guy on the West Coast
    • 18/06/2020

    Another great book by MR

    I love Mr Ridley’s books. Always thought provoking and contrarian. I feel like I need to read them more than once to get all the densely packed ideas.

    1 personne a trouvé cela utile

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      5 out of 5 stars
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    • PH
    • 14/06/2020

    Very interesting & fascinating

    Matt Ridley sees the world as it is (an almost exactly as I do). I read maths, physics and then set up and ran various businesses.

    An excellent book for anyone interest in the reality of how innovation actually works and how so many things (governments, lawyers, intellectual property rights, vested interest ..... so often get in the damn way.

    I recommend all his books. The rational optimist especially good too.

    1 personne a trouvé cela utile

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    • Dennis M Danzik
    • 09/06/2020

    Great book! 5 Stars!

    Well written. A sprinkling of anti patent, anti intellectual property political editorial due to Ridley’s libertarian beliefs. Ridley also refers to Darwin as an innovator, and Darwin’s findings as complete. Huge yawn. That said, this is the best narrative book on invention and innovation that I have ever read. Ignore the IP stuff (Ridley even maintains copyrights on his books), this book is a Winner!

    1 personne a trouvé cela utile

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    • Tyler J. Glaze
    • 07/06/2020

    Fantastic and hopeful guide for the future

    Ridley provides a framework for how innovation was achieved in the past and provides insight into what is holding back innovation in developed countries.

    Another great book by Ridley that is packed full of historical and current factoids with philosophy peppered in too. One should read/listen immediately for the best effect because the topics are ultra current.

    1 personne a trouvé cela utile

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    • Jirko
    • 14/02/2021

    great Alain

    as always very good book from Matt Ridley. Let's hope he is right in his predictions.

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    Image de profile pour Utilisateur anonyme
    • Utilisateur anonyme
    • 27/01/2021

    Another conservative talking about innovation

    First of all, this is my fault. I shouldn't even buy this book. The guy is a conservative who obviously voted for Brexit. What can you expect? But, to be honest, it started not so bad. A brief history of a series of important innovations was fine to listen. Though I did not understand why vape is an important innovation. Then, I realized, he handpicks the innovations according to his taste, so vape is important because the UK allowed it but the EU didn't. He surely does not goes deep enough to look at how some innovations are fundamentally wrong or they do more harm than good. Then, close to the end, he starts to comment on capitalism and taxation and how governments are killing innovation by trying to controlling them by policies. Wow! Surely, free market, free innovation, free world kind of a guy, telling us that we should not control anything and let the technology companies get our data to use it as they want and do not have any privacy requirements such as GDPR for instance. Then he says no one knows what innovation is really and how to make people want things. A point which is probably right. You do not know what innovation is either mate and remind me why am I going to listen to you really? Waste of time and money! I am reading one book per week for years, I only gave back two of the books that I have bought in the last 4 years. This is certainly going to be the third one. It is going back where it came from, rubbish bin!