Book Review: The Medici Effect by Frans Johansson

Book 2 for my #50BooksIn2016 challenge. Find out more about the challenge here.

medici effectThis book was recommended to me recently by a friend when discussing how connecting ideas leads to greater innovation. I mentioned the books How Breakthroughs Happen by Andrew Hargadon and Where Good Ideas Come From by Steven Johnson (both excellent books) and my friend mentioned The Medici Effect.

Given this lead to the book, I shouldn’t have been so surprised by the overlapping concepts between the three, yet I still was.

Many of the stories used to illustrate the concepts of random combinations creating successful innovations, such as how Magic: The Gathering card game was created or anything relating to Thomas Edison I’ve seen multiple times, not just in the books mentioned here. On one hand, it helps solidify the concepts, on the other, more variety would be nice.

Of the three, if you were to only pick one, I would recommend Where Good Ideas Come From. The Medici Effect has some interesting and fairly practical ways to find and spend more time in what Johansson calls the “Intersection”, but Johnson goes much deeper with the concepts in Where Good Ideas Come From. Hargadon focuses more specifically on the business benefits of innovation, so it certainly has its place in innovation cannon and I would still recommend it for that reason.

Overall, the main thing I realized after reading this book is that I need to expand the universe of books I plan to read this year if I truly want to have more access to the small worlds of Hargadon, the Intersections of Johansson and the serendipity, exaptations, and adjacent possible of Johnson.  So my book list will be expanding and changing. It is 58 long (& strong) right now, so I will pick and choose as I go, but I’ve added more science, technology, and history and will likely cut out some of the business and innovation books. Or, maybe I’ll get to them all this year, as I am ahead of schedule for now.

 

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