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ISBN:0226726347
Author: William Rosen
ISBN13: 978-0226726342
Title: The Most Powerful Idea in the World: A Story of Steam, Industry, and Invention
Format: mbr rtf lrf txt
ePUB size: 1717 kb
FB2 size: 1852 kb
DJVU size: 1262 kb
Language: English
Category: Engineering
Publisher: University of Chicago Press; Reprint edition (March 15, 2012)
Pages: 376

The Most Powerful Idea in the World: A Story of Steam, Industry, and Invention by William Rosen



Rosen has a facility for the telling anecdote and the quirky aside. The Most Powerful Idea in the World is enjoyable reading, although it does go into a lot of detail about steam engines, and you will learn more about how they work than you might expect. Bill Gates, Best Books of 2013). Rosen's history of invention in the steam age is fascinating and detailed. His greatest point is that invention and ingenuity thrive under certain conditions and he shows how legal, cultural, and other factors helped create those conditions in the UK and allowed for the birth of the steam age.

William Rosen is a masterly storyteller with a keen eye for the aha! moments of invention and a gift for clear and entertaining explanations of science. The Most Powerful Idea in the World will appeal to readers fascinated with history, science, and the hows and whys of innovation itself. So here we are: on May 1, 1829, the Liverpool & Manchester Railway ran an advertisement in the Liverpool Mercury inviting "engineers and iron founders" to submit plans for locomotives to deliver loads between Liverpool and Manchester. But the victor, by acclamation, was the Stephenson's Rocket. And this is where the book ends. Other readers will always be interested in your opinion of the books you've read. Whether you've loved the book or not, if you give your honest and detailed thoughts then people will find new books that are right for them. 1. Panorama Reading 1 Student Book: Building Perspective Through Reading.

Personal Name: Rosen, William, 1955-. Publication, Distribution, et. Chicago Rocket Changes in the atmosphere A great company of men The first and true inventor A very great quantity of heat Science in his hands The whole thing was arranged in my mind Master of them all A field that is endless Quite splendid with a file To give England the power of cotton Wealth of nations Strong steam The fuel of interest.

Readers who like enthused authors will like Rosen, and fans of his Roman history Justinian's Flea (2007) augment their number.

William Rosen, author of Justinian's Flea, seeks to answer these questions and more with The Most Powerful Idea in the World.

The Most Powerful Idea in the World: A Story of Steam, Industry, and Invention. The Most Powerful Idea in the World: A Story of Steam, Industry, and Invention. Download (epub, . 3 Mb). FB2 PDF MOBI TXT RTF. Converted file can differ from the original. If possible, download the file in its original format.

In the process, he tackles the question that has obsessed historians ever since: What made 18th-century Britain such fertile soil for inventors? Rosen's answer focuses on a simple notion that had become enshrined in British law the century before: that people had the right to own and profit from their ideas. The result was a period of frantic innovation revolving particularly around the promise of steam power

Hardly a week passes without some high-profile court case that features intellectual property at its center. But how did the belief that one could own an idea come about? And how did that belief change the way humankind lives and works? William Rosen, author of Justinian's Flea, seeks to answer these questions and more with The Most Powerful Idea in the World. A lively and passionate study of the engineering and scientific breakthroughs that led to the steam engine, this book argues that the very notion of intellectual property drove not only the invention of the steam engine but also the entire Industrial Revolution: history’s first sustained era of economic improvement. To do so, Rosen conjures up an eccentric cast of characters, including the legal philosophers who enabled most the inventive society in millennia, and the scientists and inventors―Thomas Newcomen, Robert Boyle, and James Watt―who helped to create and perfect the steam engine over the centuries. With wit and wide-ranging curiosity, Rosen explores the power of creativity, capital, and collaboration in the brilliant engineering of the steam engine and how this power source, which fueled factories, ships, and railroads, changed human history.    Deeply informative and never dull, Rosen's account of one of the most important inventions made by humans is a rollicking ride through history, with careful scholarship and fast-paced prose in equal measure.

Reviews: 7
Dishadel
Others have given an general overview of this book; no need to repeat that. Several have noted that if you are interested in steam engines, this book won't help you to understand them. A major flaw is the lack of explanatory drawings and diagrams to supplement the original drawings from patent applications. But this isn't a book about how steam engines work, so that lack can be forgiven. What can't are the errors in fact. I was reading happily along, marvelling at the toys of Alexandrian and enjoying the sweeping scope of the narrative, until we rolled into the Elizabethan period, an era I happen to know something about. There the train drove right off the tracks. The capsule biography of Francis Bacon is not just wrong, it's bizarrely, stupefyingly wrong. Rosen must have copied it from one of the Rosicrucian websites he rightly makes fun of in a footnote. He cites the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography for his Bacon data, but that article is, of course, perfectly correct. OK, it's just one short biography, not central (quite) to the theme of the book, but it is so egregiously bad that the author's credibility evaporated in a flash. Francis Bacon is a major historical figure. If his bio is wrong, why should I believe the stories about George Stephenson or the more minor contributors to the development of early steam engines? From that point forward, I started skimming and taking it all with a grain of salt. The central thesis - that copyright/patent law was essential to the industrial revolution - is interesting. But I'll have to read another book to actually learn about the inventors and inventions mentioned in this one.
Scream_I LOVE YOU
A densely written book with many detours from the original story of steam technology, most of which are relevant. Considerable economic theory and constant reference to the politics of the day and the great thinkers of that time. Makes a compelling argument for the patent system. If you can follow all the twists and turns as well as re-reading segments to understand the logic, you will arrive at a more fulsome understanding of the Industrial Revolution. Steam technology underpins this book, but it is actually about the system and people that produced it. A bit of work, but worth the read. This is a Big Picture story
Nahelm
Great book, not what I expected. Rosen's history of invention in the steam age is fascinating and detailed. His greatest point is that invention and ingenuity thrive under certain conditions and he shows how legal, cultural, and other factors helped create those conditions in the UK and allowed for the birth of the steam age. If you are interested in modern energy policy, human innovation, mechanical engineering, etc you'll love this book. I was not convinced that I'd enjoy a book about the invention and improvements to steam engines but Rosen's narrative is great and the stories are compelling.
Gtonydne
This book is an attempt to give a reply to a complex question: why the Industrial Revolution started in England between the 18th and the 19th century and not in another place or in another time, for example in Classic Greece or ancient China. The Author analyzes the sociological, hystorical and geopolitical circumstances that caused the explosion of inventions and innovations in engineering that shaped the industrial world of today, using the development of the steam engine (from Papin to Stephenson) and its application as leit-motif. According to the author the key factor in this development was the evolution of the patent system, that is at the basis of the definition of intellectual property and the economical exploitation of human ingenuity. The narration starts slowly, and personally I find it even a bit verbose, as the Author himself practically admits. At midlength the narration gains momentum and becomes a whirlwind of intertwined inventions and inventors. It gives numerous hints for thinking and demonstrates (one more time) that development is a matter of persons who can grow up intellectually and economically only if the surrounding environments foster and nurtures them.
Hunaya
Ties the threads of technology,science,politics,law & history together in a well written & structured way.
It must have been difficult for the author not to digress into any of the many fascinating sub-stories.
(How were boiler's soldered, how were technical papers distributed, how did the banking-credit system work.....)
There's enough detail to engage each type of reader (I now know why steam locomotives chuff) while not breaking the narrative thread.
I'm reading this book a second time after reading the bibliography & realizing what this E-book (& other E-media like it) needs (thru no fault of the author). It needs a LinkR so I can digress as I read into sub-stories (supporting content) that interest me but that if were included in the book would burden it's utility.
A LinkR app would work differently for different users:
1. It would post process the book & it's biblio, perhaps tweaked for my interests & insert links in the text.
2. For authors, perhaps a Word plug-in that would permit them to efficiently fine, sort & link relevant content, perhaps tagged for user classes..
3. Commercially a LinkR has value (cookies have crumbs...Google) to both sellers of content & to authors
(think of a LinkR as your personal app-bot that parses your E-content for your interests)

& Here I digress: Thank-you Mr. Rosen a thoroughly enjoyable book.
BlackBerry
An very interesting history of the development of the steam engine and its application and the legal (intelletual property) and social enviourment of the times. My brother was disappointed it because there was not enough mechanical detail
Adaly
I was hoping for a steam/Industrial Revolution equivalent to Rhodes’s The Making of The Atomic Bomb. While there were some technical details and a narrative thread, there were also tangents about the nature of creativity, invention, etc that I didn’t find particularly interesting. Additionally, some of the technical explanations were not very clear, and the accompanying diagrams were from the original patents, and thus not legible or particularly helpful.