Steven Johnson, Author Of
“Where Good Ideas Come From”
Says Good Ideas Start In A Coffeehouse
He talks about how ideas come together and of course, where they come from.
His theory is it all starts in a coffee house (sort of). He shares a story about how GPS was invented too.
The speech is given in the UK. He took a picture of England’s very first coffee house that he shares in the video below. Then he talks about how England went into a period of huge innovation because people stopped drinking wine and spirits and drank coffee and tea instead.
“…And the coffeehouse played such a big role in the birth of the Enlightenment, in part, because of what people were drinking there. Because, before the spread of coffee and tea through British culture, what people drank — both elite and mass folks drank — day-in and day-out, from dawn until dusk was alcohol. Alcohol was the daytime beverage of choice.
You would drink a little beer with breakfast and have a little wine at lunch, a little gin — particularly around 1650 — and top it off with a little beer and wine at the end of the day. That was the healthy choice — right — because the water wasn’t safe to drink.
And so, effectively until the rise of the coffeehouse, you had an entire population that was effectively drunk all day. And you can imagine what that would be like, right, in your own life — and I know this is true of some of you — if you were drinking all day, and then you switched from a depressant to a stimulant in your life, you would have better ideas. You would be sharper and more alert.
And so it’s not an accident that a great flowering of innovation happened as England switched to tea and coffee.”
Thanks for reading. I wish you many imaginative tales.