Six Ways to Annoy Your Friends (Now!)
If you read the new Steven Johnson book How We Got to Now: Six Innovations That Made the Modern World then you will learn lots of annoying facts about his six topics of invention: glass, cold, sound, clean, time, and light . . . but I won't bore you with pedantry (though Johnson's writing can make anything exciting, even the history of refrigeration) and I'll just summarize his theme instead: to be extraordinarily innovative, you don't want to remain true to yourself and your unorthodox principles -- you might improve the world slightly that way-- but Johnson strives to dispel this "lone genius" myth; instead, if you really want to do something groundbreaking, you've got a little lost and form new connections, explore uncharted terrain, break your routine, and let yourself be buffeted by the new ideas circulating in the ether . . . and it still might take a LONG time before the world catches up with you . . . but the inventions are out there, just waiting for the right suite of technologies to become available, and the right brains to combine them (the same way Shakespeare went about "smashing words together" to make Elizabethan English into something more modern).