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The most powerful idea in the world

On Monday's Daily Show with John Stewart, author William Rosen stopped by to discuss his new book The Most Powerful Idea in the World. What is this most powerful idea according to Rosen? The steam engine.

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The Most Powerful Idea in the World begins with how the engine came to be and then traces it through powering industry and factories, as well as fueling transport and other new inventions.

As he tells it, the engine was not only responsible for the start of the industrial revolution, but it also brought about the concept of owning an idea. Before then, it had never been accepted that an inventor should own their idea. Rosen says it's the not only the story of the birth of the steam engine, but also the birth of invention itself. While the engines had existed since the first century in Egypt, the act of ownership and commercializing an idea took it from Britain to the world.

Plus, he's quite a humorous fellow for being the author of a book on steam engines.

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