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Welcome to my library of book summaries about history, technology, economic growth and progress!

My name is Michael Magoon. I am the author of the “From Poverty to Progress” series of books. The first book in the series has already been published, with many more to follow. I also have a blog that explores many of the same topics as this library.

First, some background about me.

I am a former academic. I was a History major at UC Berkeley, and then I received a PhD in Political Science & Public Policy at Brown University. After a brief career as a professor, I shifted to a “real job.” I have worked over 20 years in the Digital Technology industry, first as a Technical Writer and then as a User Experience Designer. I have worked for plenty of companies that you have heard of (Apple, Microsoft, Intel, Verizon) and plenty that you have not. My unusual background has left me with a unique perspective on history and technology.

About five years ago, I decided to focus my scant free-time reading about technology and innovation. I was particularly interested in determining which government policies and corporate business models could foster innovation.

At first, I focused narrowly on recent innovations – computers, the Internet, and mobile devices. I read many books about technology, innovation and business practices. Some were useful; many were little more than corporate fads. The more useful books, however, focussed on topics seemingly unrelated to technological innovation.

I gradually expanded my reading to include new topics: history, biology, paleontology, anthropology, sociology, economics, culture, geography, psychology, brain science, network theory, complexity theory, engineering, urban studies, and philosophy. I began to see connections between technology and innovation and those other fields.

Most of my time has been spent reading books/articles and taking notes about each of them. Some of these books inspired me to write a few pages of content related to the topic. Over time, I have developed a huge collection of notes that are gradually coalescing into a new perspective on history, technology and progress – one that might be of interest to others.

I decided to publish my notes, one-blog-post-at-a-time, so that ideas bubbling around in my brain will become more focused and explainable. My hope is that these book summaries help other readers.

The content will focus on the following themes:

  • History
  • Progress
  • Technology
  • Biology
  • Geography
  • Energy
  • Skills
  • Social Organizations
  • Values & Culture

I suggest that you start by reading the following posts:

I will try to post at least once-per-week and, hopefully, often more frequently.
I hope that you enjoy!

To understand my thinking in more depth, read my book “From Poverty to Progress.”