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How Invention Begins: Echoes of Old Voices in the Rise of New Machines Hardcover – Jul 15 2006


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Strong Is the New Pretty

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (July 15 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 019530599X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195305999
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 3 x 15.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 499 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,489,589 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

From Publishers Weekly

Lienhard is enthralled with invention, how it happens and how inventions both shape and are shaped by culture. He posits that the quest for a single canonical inventor of a new technology is illusory, because all inventions are the sum of many contributors. To make his point, Lienhard (professor emeritus of mechanical engineering and history at the University of Houston and host of public radio's The Engines of Our Ingenuity) traces the development of airplanes and steam engines, among other technologies, in a lucid style filled with interesting forays into origins and biography. But the author is also fascinated by what is best described as the invention of the spread of knowledge. The second half of the book is an examination of how Gutenburg's printing press began a worldwide explosion of knowledge that traces its roots to the incunabula, books written between 1455 and 1500, and ends with the mass production of books for popular consumption. Lienhard also pays tribute to the development of the public library, museums, correspondence courses and universities as means of education. The author's personality permeates his writing, and it's impossible not to admire his optimism, his far-reaching knowledge and his enthusiasm for learning. 120 illus. (July)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"Watt's genius was in devising a practical engine; Lienhard's genius is in telling the real story of invention."-- New Scientist Magazine

"Lienhard looks at the notion of invention and human creativity as a cultural phenomenon. He asserts that most inventions are not the work of one person or collaboration, but the result of the efforts of many people in many places over expanses of time. Almost all such efforts are undertaken to fulfill some human need."--cienceNews

"Leinhard agrees that any scientist or engineer who writes regularly for genarl consumption does so from a sense of mission. For him that boils down to a belief that technology isn't extrinsic to human nature. It's not something we can choose to employ or not. 'Technology,' he says, 'is what we are. We are the only species that cannot live without the fruits of our invention.'"--Houston Chronicle

"Lienhard is enthralled with invention, how it happens and how inventions both shape and are shaped by culture. He posits that the quest for a single canonical inventor of a new technology is illusory, because all inventions are the sum of many contributors. To make his point, Lienhard (professor emeritus of mechanical engineering and history at the University of Houston and host of public radio's The Engines of Our Ingenuity) traces the development of airplanes and steam engines, among other technologies, in a lucid style filled with interesting forays into origins and biography. ... The author's personality permeates his writing, and it's impossible not to admire his optimism, his far-reaching knowledge and his enthusiasm for learning."--Publishers Weekly

"Lienhard, a graceful and perceptive writer, has produced a popular book that may well seduce the general public away from receieved hero myths without denigrating those myths."--Technology and Culture

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Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars 11 reviews
Ron George
4.0 out of 5 starsThe collective consciousness of engineers lead to inventions
February 8, 2013 - Published on Amazon.com
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Bach Xuan Nguyen
5.0 out of 5 starsCouldn't deliver more better than this. Beautiful, written book will keep you yearning for more pages.
November 6, 2017 - Published on Amazon.com
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Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 starsIt is OK, but not as good as Lienhard's radio programs
May 15, 2013 - Published on Amazon.com
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Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 starsFive Stars
July 3, 2017 - Published on Amazon.com
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M. Thomas
5.0 out of 5 starsFive Stars
March 22, 2015 - Published on Amazon.com
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