The Nature of Technology What It Is and How It Evolves

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  • Edition: Reprint
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2011-01-11
  • Publisher: Free Press

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“More than anything else technology creates our world. It creates our wealth, our economy, our very way of being,” says W. Brian Arthur. Yet despite technology’s irrefutable importance in our daily lives, until now its major questions have gone unanswered. Where do new technologies come from? What constitutes innovation, and how is it achieved? Does technology, like biological life, evolve? In this groundbreaking work, pioneering technology thinker and economist W. Brian Arthur answers these questions and more, setting forth a boldly original way of thinking about technology.

The Nature of Technology is an elegant and powerful theory of technology’s origins and evolution. Achieving for the development of technology what Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions did for scientific progress, Arthur explains how transformative new technologies arise and how innovation really works. Drawing on a wealth of examples, from historical inventions to the high-tech wonders of today, Arthur takes us on a mind-opening journey that will change the way we think about technology and how it structures our lives. The Nature of Technology is a classic for our times.

"Brian Arthur's brilliantly original analysis of how technology develops and evolves reminds me of Euclid's Geometry it's clear, simple and seemingly self evident now that a master has spent years working it out. The Nature of Technology is a seminal work, thrilling to read and rich in implications for business as well as engineering and the social sciences." - Richard Rhodes, Winner of a Pulitzer Prize in Nonfiction for The Making of the Atomic Bomb

"The Nature of Technology is the most important book on technology and the economy since Schumpeter. In clear, lucid prose and with fascinating examples, Arthur describes how technology 'creates itself' in an evolutionary process that has taken our world from stone tools to iPods. A work of deep and lasting importance that deserves to be widely read you will not think about technology the same way again." -Eric D. Beinhocker, author of The Origin of Wealth

"The refreshing clarity that Brian Arthur brings to the most overwhelming force in the universe will benefit anyone trying to tame technology critics, eager boosters, and the perplexed alike." - Kevin Kelly, author of New Rules for the New Economy

"Hundreds of millions of dollars slosh around Silicon Valley every day based on Brian Arthur's ideas." - John Seeley Brown, former director of PARC

"We launched Java based on Brian Arthur's ideas." - Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google

Author Biography

W. Brian Arthur is an External Professor at the Santa Fe Institute and a Visiting Researcher at PARC (Palo Alto Research Center). Formerly he was Morrison Professor of Economics and Population Studies at Stanford University. One of the pioneers of complexity theory, he also formulated the influential "theory of increasing returns," which offered a paradigm-changing explanation of why some high-tech companies achieve breakaway success. Arthur is the recipient of the International Schumpeter Prize in Economics and the inaugural Lagrange Prize in Complexity Science. He lives in Palo Alto, California.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. 1
Questionsp. 9
Combination and Structurep. 27
Phenomenap. 45
Domains, or Worlds Entered for What Can Be Accomplished Therep. 69
Engineering and its Solutionsp. 87
The Origin of Technologiesp. 107
Structural Deepeningp. 131
Revolutions and Redomainingsp. 145
The Mechanisms of Evolutionp. 167
The Economy Evolving as Its Technologies Evolvep. 191
Where Do We Stand with This Creation of Ours?p. 203
Notesp. 217
Bibliographyp. 227
Acknowledgmentsp. 233
Indexp. 235
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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Customer Reviews

Great textbook June 20, 2011
Brian Arthur has done a masterful job of presenting new ideas about technological evolution and innovation in a way that is engaging and accessible. The Nature of Technology is beautifully written. It is a major intellectual event that reshapes contemporary understandings of technology and technology management. I really enjoyed the textbook. It is a matter of consensus difficult, but the contribution is very useful. Recommended.
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The Nature of Technology What It Is and How It Evolves: 5 out of 5 stars based on 1 user reviews.

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