For tens of thousands of years, before the Age of Innovation, human beings merely survived by hunting, gathering or tilling, and lived in caves or dirty, squalid huts. In marked contrast, the average person alive today enjoys a standard of living and access to entertainment, medical services, travel, and communications technology that our ancestors would have regarded as miraculous. Art Diamond skillfully shows how we got the many wonders we take for granted – everything from indoor plumbing to SUVs to iPhones – by telling the stories of the determined tinkerers, iconoclasts and visionaries who wouldn’t take “no” for an answer. They succeeded because they were willing to wage the good fight and because they could draw on flawed but ultimately supportive legal, cultural and economic institutions. Diamond also addresses the question of whether the Age of Innovation has run its course, and he provides a timely warning about the dangers that current political and intellectual forces pose to the many potential innovations yet to come. The Age Innovation may end, but whether it does is largely in our hands.
George Bittlingmayer, Economist, Angel Investor, and Professor Emeritus, University of Kansas.
Bittlingmayer’s advance praise is for:
Diamond, Arthur M., Jr. Openness to Creative Destruction: Sustaining Innovative Dynamism. New York: Oxford University Press, forthcoming June 2019.