Is The 'Eureka' Moment A Myth?

Part 3 of the TED Radio Hour episode Where Ideas Come From. Watch Steven Johnson's full Talk — Where Good Ideas Come From — on TED.com

"Ideas initially take form as hunches. They don't come into the world fully realized. The lightbulb moment is greatly overrated" — Steven Johnson i i

hide caption"Ideas initially take form as hunches. They don't come into the world fully realized. The lightbulb moment is greatly overrated" — Steven Johnson

James Duncan Davidson/TED
"Ideas initially take form as hunches. They don't come into the world fully realized. The lightbulb moment is greatly overrated" — Steven Johnson

"Ideas initially take form as hunches. They don't come into the world fully realized. The lightbulb moment is greatly overrated" — Steven Johnson

James Duncan Davidson/TED

People often credit their ideas to individual "Eureka!" moments, but author Steven Johnson says history tells a different story. His Talk takes us from the "liquid networks" of London's coffee houses through Charles Darwin's long, slow hunch to today's high-velocity Web.

About Steven Johnson

Steven Berlin Johnson is the best-selling author of seven books on the intersection of science, technology and personal experience. His most recent book, Where Good Ideas Come From, recants stories of great ideas and great thinkers across disciplines.

More From This Episode

Johnson's books take the reader on a journey — following the twists and turns his own mind makes as he connects seemingly disparate ideas: ants and cities, interface design and Victorian novels. His breakout 2005 title, Everything Bad Is Good for You, took the provocative stance that our fear and loathing of popular culture is misplaced. He argued that video games and TV shows actually make us smarter.

Johnson doesn't just chronicle technology, he's a longtime innovator in the Web world himself. He was founder and editor in Chief of FEED, one of the earliest online magazines. He also co-founded outside.in, a website that maps online conversations to real-world neighborhoods.

Purchase Featured Books

Where Good Ideas Come From

by Steven Johnson

Everything Bad Is Good for You

by Steven Johnson

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