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How Innovation Works: And Why It Flourishes in Freedom Hardcover – 19 May 2020

4.6 out of 5 stars 741 ratings

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Product details

  • Publisher : Harper (19 May 2020)
  • Language : English
  • Hardcover : 416 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 0062916599
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0062916594
  • Dimensions : 15.24 x 3.28 x 22.86 cm
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.6 out of 5 stars 741 ratings

Product description

Review

"How Innovation Works is an entertaining attempt to explore what innovation is, how it works and why it is resisted... Packed with insightful examples...Engaging." --Financial Times

"Opinionated, often counterintuitive, full of delicious stories, always provocative."--Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"An insightful and charming exploration of questions that range from the truly profound (How does our species capture energy to stave off decay and death?) to the merely fascinating (Why did it take us so long to invent the wheeled suitcase?)."--Steven Pinker

"Ridley constructs a fascinating theory of innovation, including its prehistoric roots, how it will shape the future and what makes it successful."--Scientific American

"A fascinating look at how innovations have shaped the modern age and how the process remains integral to the contemporary world...How Innovation Works is a provocative and necessary read for considering future directions for societies and governments."--Shelf Awareness

"Matt Ridley is one the best non-fiction writers of his generation. He could be described as England's Yuval Harari...His latest book is a pleasure to read: he carries his considerable learning with an engagingly light touch...Great book. Read it. You'll be glad you did."--Forbes Magazine

"In this insightful and delightful book, Matt Ridley explores the wondrous causes of innovation, the force that drives our modern economy. He shows that it's a team sport, but one that features many colorful stars. It's a joy to tag along with him as he mines the history of human advances to discover nuggets of useful lessons."
--Walter Isaacson

About the Author

MATT RIDLEY is the award-winning, bestselling author of The Evolution of Everything: How New Ideas Emerge, The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves, Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters, and The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature. His books have sold more than one million copies in thirty languages worldwide. He has written for the Wall Street Journal and the Times of London as well as the Economist. He is a member of the House of Lords and lives in Newcastle and London.

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4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top reviews from Australia

Reviewed in Australia on 5 July 2020
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Top reviews from other countries

Duncurin
5.0 out of 5 stars Light Bulb Moment
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 1 July 2020
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21 people found this helpful
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O. G. M. Morgan
4.0 out of 5 stars Thought-provoking and generally persuasive
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 13 September 2020
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6 people found this helpful
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William
3.0 out of 5 stars Ridley fails to identify why innovators or inventors do their thing.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 22 July 2020
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3.0 out of 5 stars Ridley fails to identify why innovators or inventors do their thing.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 22 July 2020
The first chapters of this book trot us through relatively familiar territory to most innovators, and it is self-evident from the book's content that non-innovators are unlikely to pick it up and read it. Why Ridley treats us to a dissertation on fire, which like water was not invented, is hard to see, whilst ignoring the wheel, which was. A more glaring omission is the focus on Edison but lack of analysis and recognition of the crucial role of Bell Labs with its numerous inventions and innovations, not least the transistor and the laser, as well as software such as Unix and C. I would also take issue with him over the primacy in computing of Tommy Flowers' Colossus computer, as it seems facile to dismiss it as a "single-purpose" machine, when virtually every computer, until the advent of timesharing in the 1960's was, in effect, a single purpose machine. He also fails to mention Professor Donald Michie at Manchester, who wrote the very first computer programme.
These are minor criticisms, in what generally is a well-researched book, which improves significantly when he advocates with some passion, the necessity of innovation in ensuring the progress of the human race. It is therefore all the more surprising that he does not examine in any great detail the motivation of inventors and innovators. Surely this should be at the centre of his work since it is obvious that money and fame are not the main drivers because so few innovators, and even fewer inventors, achieve either. He therefore scores a B minus for this work, worthy of being read nevertheless.
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5 people found this helpful
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G
3.0 out of 5 stars Definitely a worthwhile read, but packed with repetitive libertarian and Brexiteer memes
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 9 February 2021
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2 people found this helpful
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Mally
5.0 out of 5 stars Rallying Cry or Swansong?
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 19 July 2020
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3 people found this helpful
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