Rethink: The Surprising History of New Ideas
Rethink is the story of how old ideas that were mocked or ignored for centuries are now storming back to the cutting edge of science and technology, and informing the way we lead our lives. It's the story of Grace Hopper, the programming language pioneer who allowed us to speak to computers; of Ignaz Semmelweis, the brilliant doctor who worked out how infections occur long before there was a proper germ theory of disease, and was committed to an asylum for his trouble; of Democritus, the laughing philosopher who inferred the atomic foundations of reality just by thinking about bread. Incorporating examples from areas ranging from epigenetics to value investing, from chess tactics to quantum physics, Rethink shows what we can learn by revisiting old, discarded ideas and considering them from a new perspective. From within the rich anecdotes of bad ideas emerge good ones, helping us find new ways to think about ideas in our own time - from novel proposals in the boardroom to grand projects for social and political change. Armed with this picture of the surprising evolution of ideas and their triumphant second lives, you will see the world differently - and perhaps be better equipped to change it.
"Shows what we can learn by considering obsolete ideas from a new perspective" Guardian Science Podcast
Steven Poole is the author of four critically acclaimed works of non-fiction: Trigger Happy, Unspeak, You Aren't What You Eat, and Who Touched Base In My Thought Shower? He has written widely on ideas, culture, language, and society for the Guardian, the Independent, the New Statesman, Esquire, GQ, the New Republic, the Times Literary Supplement, the Wall Street Journal, and many other publications. He has appeared on national radio in the US, UK, Canada, and Australia, and lectured internationally at festivals and conferences.