Steven Johnson is a prolific bestselling author and the Editorial Director at Google Labs, one of the cornerstones of Google’s AI division. He is a leading voice on humanity’s most innovative breakthroughs and the thinking that makes them possible. At the center of his wide-ranging work are two questions: where do good ideas come from, and how can we keep those ideas from turning against us? Humorous, informative, and immediately engaging, Steven’s talks investigate the cultural, environmental, biological, and historical factors behind major developments with the goal of uncovering patterns that can be applied to make our own lives more innovative.
Johnson is one of the creators of NotebookLM, Google’s still evolving AI-powered research tool trained on sources you provide. Designed to help users derive key insights from their own notes and other chosen resources, The Verge says that with time, it “could be the most powerful and personal chatbot on the internet.”
Steven is the bestselling author over a dozen books about how innovations drive change in society. His latest book, Extra Life: A Short History of Living Longer, explores how the human species managed to double life expectancy in just one hundred years. Following the book's release, he hosted the Extra Life miniseries examining public health innovations that enabled us to live longer. In a serialized essay follow-up to Extra Life, Johnson published Immortality: A User’s Guide, pondering what would happen if we could double life expectancy yet again. His next book, The Infernal Machine, is about anarchism, the rise of the modern detective, and the birth of the surveillance state, and will be released May 2024.
When he’s not building the next big AI tool or writing his next bestseller, Steven keeps himself busy with many projects, all focused on brilliant ideas and innovative technologies. His Substack, Adjacent Possible, is an eclectic exploration of how new ideas come into the world and the good and bad that happens when they come to fruition. He hosts the TED Interview podcast where he dives deep into the work and ideation processes of the most influential TED speakers. He pens “Hidden Heroes,” a series of in-depth profiles on innovators whose inventions make the modern world run but whose stories are largely unknown. These tributes to those who shaped technology can also be listened to on the Hidden Heroes podcast. His American Innovations podcast examined the science behind America’s biggest breakthroughs and how time, place, and people converged to make these inventions possible.
How We Got to Now, Johnson’s book detailing the secret history behind everyday objects, debuted at #4 on the New York Times bestseller list and was a finalist for the PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award. The six-part television adaptation was nominated for an Emmy. Other popular titles include Where Good Ideas Come From, Ghost Map, Everything Bad is Good for You, Farsighted, Enemy of All Mankind, and Wonderland, which inspired the #1 iTunes podcast of the same name.
Steven Johnson is a regular contributor to the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Wired, and many other publications. His TED talks have been viewed over five million times.
Where Good Ideas Come From: The Patterns Of Innovation.
Steven discusses the seven patterns of unusually innovative teams and organizations that he examined in his bestselling book and influential TED talk. He explains how "slow hunches" are more important than "lightbulb moments" and explains how the 18th-century coffeehouse was a model of multi-disciplinary collaboration. And he looks at how modern platforms like the World Wide Web and Twitter have encouraged breakthrough ideas in the modern age.
How We Got To Now: Lessons From History's Unsung Innovators.
Drawing upon his Emmy-nominated PBS series, Steven tells the amazing stories behind some of the modern world's most important innovations, and explains how sometimes breakthrough ideas can have unpredictable effects. Steven explores the personality traits and environments that led these maverick inventors to create accurate watches, clean drinking water, air conditioning, and other necessities of modern life.
Health and Innovation: Mapping The Future Of Medicine and Public Health.
Steven's acclaimed 2005 bestseller, The Ghost Map, told the fascinating story of the battle against cholera in the 19th-century, and his Emmy-nominated episode of How We Got To Now, "Clean," explored the heroic work behind the creation of clean drinking water. In this talk, Steven draws on his research into the medical and public health breakthroughs of the past to illustrate the kind of collaboration, technology, and mindset that will be essential for meeting 21st-century health challenges.
Education In The Digital Age: What The Google Generation Needs To Learn — And What They Can Teach Us
Expanding on his much-discussed 2005 bestseller, Everything Bad Is Good For You, Steven explains what schools and parents need to learn from the amazingly complex technology and culture that the Google Generation is now immersed in. He explains how video games are transforming the classroom environment; how digital books are going to revolutionize libraries and scholarship; and why social network sites are actually training kids for the twenty-first century workplace.
A Short History of Living Longer
A hundred years ago, global life expectancy was in the mid-thirties and a third of all children died before reaching adulthood. Today, the average human being lives into their seventies, and childhood mortality has been reduced by a factor of ten. Drawing on his acclaimed book and PBS series, Extra Life, Steven tells the inspiring story of humanity's greatest achievement, the doubling of human life expectancy over the past century. Described by the New York Times as a “deep thinker and gifted storyteller,” Steven explores fascinating narratives from the past and present of medicine and public health to illustrate crucial lessons about the kinds of innovation and activism that drive momentous change in society, from the early vaccine pioneers to the thrilling, race-against-the-clock story of the antibiotics revolution, to new breakthroughs in genome sequencing and machine learning. And he looks at the future of the human lifespan: can we reduce the health inequalities that remain? Will we someday be able to stop the aging process itself?
Steven’s style is wonderfully dynamic and engaging. He has an open & frank personality with a GREAT sense of humour. He
Dear Steven — I cannot thank you enough for your riveting presentation at the [...] Summit. The “speak easy” set-up was
Steven Johnson was a great choice for the Academic Lecture celebrating the 50th anniversary of the University [ . . . ].
The Keynote Address was a big hit. Steven was articulate, funny, and interesting. His choice of subject ("the 7 ways of
Just wanted to reach out and say how happy we were with Steven’s address yesterday at our event. He was a pleasure to wo
It turned out to be a terrific conference and Steven Johnson was an integral part of it. He was an amazing speaker - spe
Great, charming, completely enjoyed him. Really good material, told in an interesting way. Loved him.
On behalf of the entire [...] team, I can’t thank you enough for your participation in the [...] Panel on Tuesday, and y
Steven was a big hit...he provided some valuable insights to us. He talked about new net based forums…finding patterns i
Steve was a raging success, his is highly professional, he researched us and the industry well and it was very evdient.