Summary of Lonely Ideas

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Lonely Ideas book summary


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Russian expert and scholar Loren Graham covers the history of technology and science in the former Soviet Union in this singular treatise on a failed national system. He details the overlooked contributions of top Russian scientists, inventors and theoreticians since the 1800s. Due to poor leadership, corruption and lack of entrepreneurial infrastructure, the Soviets failed to seize leadership in almost every major, 20th-century scientific or high-tech field, except for space, software and nuclear power. Graham explains how Russia’s totalitarian system kept its scientists’ ideas off the world stage. His history makes recent Russian events relevant in that they continue a pattern of repression. The effect is the same – whether a czar, Lenin, Stalin or Putin is in charge. getAbstract recommends this fascinating, tragic history of failed or wasted scientific and technological development to historians, scientists, politicians and students.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How Russia has failed to become a global force in many industries due to lagging science and technology,
  • Why its industrial development lags,
  • How Russia wasted the achievements of many unsung scientists and inventors, and
  • How failure to capitalize on its scientific industry damaged the nation’s political and economic development.

About the Author

Loren Graham, professor emeritus of the history of science at MIT and research scholar at the Davis Center for Russia and Eurasian Studies at Harvard, wrote Ghost of the Executed Engineer.



Russia Misfires
In 1826, the Russian arms factory at Tula was one of the finest in the world. A foundry yard dating back to 1632, Tula produced the most powerful iron cannon and the largest church bells ever built. By the early 19th century, the Russian army – which defeated Napoleon Bonaparte...

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