Steven Johnson Is Brilliant

Brilliant visual thesaurus map
I'm sure Steven Johnson is very smart, but I mean brilliant in the English sense: magnificent, glorious, superb, splendid. Brilliant just sounds better. Click the image at right and then the "Look It Up" button to explore a visual thesaurus, which links words together through visual maps like this one. Visual mapping itself is brilliant.

Johnson's new book, Where Good Ideas Come From, is about innovation. If you're a white collar worker, you are probably groaning right now, and with good reason. Innovation is beaten to death in the business press, so that the only thing that could make it interesting is an innovative way to beat it. I think Johnson is the man to do it. I've seen him talk about his previous book, The Invention of Air, and have read some of it in the bookstore with time to kill. He's a great speaker - engaging, educational and always telling a story - and he can say a lot in a half hour seemingly without any notes. I saw his latest book tour gig last night. It was brilliant. He mentioned a YouTube promotional video that should be watched first if you're interested, as it summarizes his ideas in four minutes brilliantly.

Eureka!By the way, I finished this post before I went to Johnson's blog, where he describes the animation as ... brilliant. Brilliant minds thinks alike, huh?

The animation is one of several from the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA), which describes itself as "a cradle of enlightenment thinking and a force for social progress. Our approach is multi-disciplinary, politically independent and combines cutting edge research and policy development with practical action." It's tagline is "21st Century Enlightenment." Not bad, but not "The Uff-da Commonweal" either. By the way, the tagline for Where Good Ideas Come From is "Chance favors the connected mind." Pretty good, but not brilliant.