Fifty Inventions that Shaped the Modern Economy: Mini book Report

Recommended for: reading you can pick up and put down; business types looking to understand innovation.

My favourite reading is to dive into how smart people in different contexts solved problems, and historical narratives tend a lot more interesting that MBA case studies. Books like 1491 or Debt are some of the best examples, and easily the best episode of possibly the best podcast ever was a 28 minute trip through the Emperor Diocletian’s attempts to invent the modern world. He came surprisingly close to inventing fiat currency (and was a hop, skip and a jump from fractional reserve banking) — but he invented feudalism instead.

Fifty Inventions that Shaped the Modern Economy is exactly what it says on the tin. It’s a quick enjoyable read, which is good, because a decent chunk of the book will be review for most readers. I hadn’t known anything about the invention of the S-pipe, but the description of Cholera-era London was covered much better in Ghost Map.

Written on November 27, 2018