Johnson's journey takes us through the history of 6 ideas central to modern life. We see how inventions which emerged in one context get applied or transformed in new, emerging markets and applications. We also see how "innovators" often stumble into new knowledge or applications by being curious, passionate and in "the right place" at "the right time".
The narrative steps away from lauding individuals and instead sees the sweeping story of technological evolution through complex social and economic interactions. Even the most brilliant innovators are standing on the shoulders of countless others. Relationships and inter-connection become the central theme in evolutionary theory.