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Description - Wonderland by Steven Johnson

"Everyone knows the old saying "necessity is the mother of invention," but if you do a paternity test on many of the modern world's most important ideas or institutions, you will find, invariably, that leisure and play were involved in the conception as well."

Most history books don't concern themselves with delight. History is the serious business of war, treaties, governments and monarchs. This is a different kind of history book.

Steven Johnson argues that if you want to understand how we got to now, you have to understand pleasure and play. A staggering amount of the landscape of modern life is populated by environments and technology designed to entertain and delight us. Here history of popular entertainment, arguing that the pursuit of novelty and wonder is a powerful driver of world-shaping technological change. Throughout history, he locates the cutting edge of innovation wherever people are working the hardest to keep themselves and others amused.

He introduces us to the colorful innovators of leisure: the explorers, proprietors, showmen, and artists who changed the trajectory of history with their luxurious wares, exotic meals, taverns, gambling tables, and magic shows.

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