Regular readers won't be surprised to learn that
the first book I read on the Kindle was 20,000
Leagues Under the Sea. There's something
so right about reading a century-old tale -- whose narrator is enthralled with
the power of electricity -- on a device that's a pretty darn enthralling use of
That said, in exploring how the image of technology and the future has changed over time, few books are as influential as this one. Some observations:
2. The constant use of extreme detail in the book,
going on for pages and pages about what the fish look like and rattling off
measurements, give the fantasy parts of the book much more credence.
It’s a lesson on the benefits of getting granular when selling a vision of the
3. There's a great passage where, on behalf of science, Verne snobbily says, "It was Tasman who discovered this group in 1643, the year Torricelli invented the barometer and Louis XIV mounted the throne. I leave the reader to decide which of these events has been more useful to the human race." This wasn't the first time an innovator scoffed at a politician, but it’s certainly one of the sharpest. Food for thought for those innovation v. public policy debates that break out every so often.