Despite our romantic view of the quirky mathematician who has a spontaneous eureka moment while taking a bath, or the apocryphal story of the lonely genius who figures out the law of gravity after being hit on the head by a falling apple, good ideas are seldom the result of solitary genius let loose. Instead of Archimedes or Newton, Johnson uses Darwin's "slow hunch" as a more realistic model of the emergence of great ideas.
But having a long hunch isn't always enough. It also helps if curious and thoughtful people get to meet and share their ideas with other curious and thoughtful minds, and then let those ideas have sex with each other. It's those intellectual orgies that, Johnson argues, have given rise to truly revolutionary ideas which are more powerful than the sum of their parts. Here is an animated trailer of the upcoming book:
And here is a slightly more detailed explanation of Johnson's main thesis:
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