Friday, January 16, 2009

The Invention of Air

I was at Stacy's Bookstore at lunchtime today to hear Steven Johnson talk about his new book, The Invention of Air. It's about the 18th century scientist Joseph Priestly & his influence on the founding fathers of the United States. Priestly settled in Pennsylvania, seeking intellectual freedom after his home in England was burned down by a mob. As one of the most famous scientists of his time, he immediately became embroiled in the political life of the new country.

Mr. Johnson thinks there is a lesson here about Enlightenment Age thinking. Our founding fathers would never think to separate the worlds of politics & science. Instead, they actively engaged with science. Mr. Johnson has a very open mind & is a funny guy as well. The book sounds like an entertaining read. About 50 people were at the Stacey's reading. Mr. Johnson has been twittering his book tour, so I hope the turn-out was good enough for him!

It's hard to believe that Stacey's is closing in a couple of months. To me it always showed the signs of a healthy business: excellent personalized service, well-attended in-store events, lines at the registers, & even a customer loyalty program. I spent a lot of my lunch hours there, & I will miss it.

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