Techdirt Reading List: A Culture Of Improvement
from the how-innovation-works dept
We’re back again with another in our weekly reading list posts of books we think our community will find interesting and thought provoking. Once again, buying the book via the Amazon links in this story also help support Techdirt.
Last week, we wrote about one of my favorite books as an introduction to economics and economists, The Worldly Philosophers, and this week, I’m suggesting one of my favorite books on innovation and technological progress: Robert Friedel’s astounding A Culture of Improvement: Technology and the Western Millennium. It’s a giant book, clocking in at nearly 600 pages, but it’s a wonderful and highly readable look through the history of technological innovation and why technology changes over time.
Friedel has a history of writing fascinating and entertaining books about specific innovations that you probably take for granted. For example, I first discovered Friedel when I read his amazing book on the history of the zipper, which really is a fascinating story, about something I had no idea about before, but which I use every day. He knows how to write engaging stories on innovation, and A Culture of Improvement takes that skill even further by not just following a single invention, but looking at centuries worth of innovation to see what we can learn from it. Check it out.