Fifty Inventions That Shaped the Modern Economy

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If you’re looking for a book about the fifty greatest inventions, look elsewhere. The Internet, the wheel, fire, and other classics of the usual sort don’t apply here. This book is all about the inventions that shaped civilization for better and for worse by playing a role in contributing to or altering the worlds of commerce and social interaction, thereby causing sweeping changes across the globe.

Fifty Inventions That Shaped the Modern Economy eschews the obvious “greatest inventions” for concepts like shipping, record-keeping, hygiene, and more that shifted the dynamics of social, political, and economic interaction in incredibly influential ways. In fact, some of the inventions mentioned here, like antibiotics, have ramifications that are still playing out right now, with conclusions that won’t be known or understood fully for decades to come.

This is a cultural guidebook disguised as a factbook or a fun listicle-style info dump. Harford not only counts down some mind-bending inventions — in that they were so influential and so easily overlooked — but explores the widespread impact of each, setting up the dominoes and walking the reader through how they all fell. This is storytelling 101, and it’s done with ruthless efficiency and heaps of insight.

Reviewed By:

Author Tim Harford
Star Count 4/5
Format Hard
Page Count 336 pages
Publisher Riverhead Books
Publish Date 2017-Aug-29
ISBN 9780735216136
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue May 2018
Category History


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