Gladwell: ‘Who says big ideas are rare?’

CartoonGood reading: Malcolm Gladwell in The New Yorker on “In the Air: Who says big ideas are rare?”

Excerpt:

In order to get one of the greatest inventions of the modern age, in other words, we thought we needed the solitary genius. But if Alexander Graham Bell had fallen into the Grand River and drowned that day back in Brantford, the world would still have had the telephone, the only difference being that the telephone company would have been nicknamed Ma Gray, not Ma Bell.

This phenomenon of simultaneous discovery—what science historians call “multiples”—turns out to be extremely common.

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