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How It Began: A History of the Modern World

A History and Education podcast
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Episodes of How It Began

To download your own copy of all 20 ad-free episodes of the How It Began series, head to bradharris.com.  
I’m thrilled to announce the launch of my new podcast: Context. If you’ve enjoyed engaging in history with me so far, I think you’ll continue to find value in the new show. Join me as we explore how other scholars have interpreted the rise of t
Money is a form of trust.  Credit, not coins, has been the heart of financial innovation. Communities that have learned how to leverage credit most effectively and facilitate its transfer between parties most efficiently have sustained the most
Our submergence in the flow of time can make it difficult to comprehend how fundamental timekeeping technology has been to the evolution of our civilization. But, to wind up the mechanism of modernity, our mastery of clockwork was critical. Whe
The Enlightenment was an intellectual movement centered in northern Europe during the late 1600s and 1700s that is largely responsible for establishing our modern convictions concerning the virtues of representative government, religious tolera
We've all heard about how the printing press revolutionized book production. But, the real revolution was in how printed books, as opposed to handwritten ones, obliterated the intellectual barriers between us, leading to the Scientific Revoluti
The transition from the Stone Age to the age of metals marks the historical arrival of civilization.  But, how was it that people first learned to see stone not as a tool in itself but as a reservoir of better tools?  And how did we master that
Historian Brad Harris reveals the correlations between the spread of coffee consumption and the rise of modern institutions. From science to security, insurance to stock exchanges, and all the way through to democratic liberation, coffee's arri
Historian Brad Harris reveals what empowered us to wield cold.  While most of the achievements of technology seem based on our conquest of heat, the unsung technological hero of modernity is refrigeration. It’s on-demand cold is critical in pre
In this introduction to Season Two, historian Brad Harris challenges the growing cynicism toward the ideas of progress and modernity, recalling what The Enlightenment was all about. Music provided by Zack Hemsey, "Redemption," from the album, T
In the Season One finale of How It Began, historian Brad Harris reveals the beautiful history of how life came to know its true origins through humanity's theory of evolution. Witness the courage and the brilliance of investigators, from modest
In this episode, historian Brad Harris takes us back to collapse of the Roman Empire to reveal how the world's most popular and expressive language, English, emerged from the dimmest moment of the dark ages. Hear how English actually sounded a
In this episode, historian Brad Harris reveals the surprisingly fascinating history of financial markets and how the development of stock sales since the 1600s powered everything from the age of discovery to the ability of senior citizens to av
In this episode, historian Brad Harris takes us back to the launch of Sputnik in 1957 and reveals how that moment scared America's best scientists and engineers into inventing the Internet. Discover how a series of brilliant technical breakthro
In this episode, historian Brad Harris uncovers how we managed to advance from building machines for our muscles to building machines for our minds. Explore the history behind the life or death struggle to process information at the speed of li
In this episode, historian Brad Harris reveals the incredible story of how humanity learned to harness electricity. From William Gilbert's work with magnets and sparks in the 1600s to Nikola Tesla's establishment of the modern electric grid in
In this episode, historian Brad Harris illuminates the history of humanity's efforts to heal. Discover the origins of surgery 12,000 years ago and follow the heroic efforts of doctors through the ages as they conquered pain and infection first
In this episode, historian Brad Harris unearths the history of engineering that has made possible the biggest construction projects of all time, from Stonehenge and the Pyramids to the Golden Gate Bridge and the Empire State Building. Learn how
In this episode, historian Brad Harris brings us back in time over 35,000 years ago to reveal the very beginning of dog domestication. Learn how humanity gained the upper hand in an ancient competition with wolves to enable more friendly intera
In this episode, historian Brad Harris explores the origins of our modern methods of scientific discovery. From ancient Greeks who developed rational inquiry to Galileo and Newton who led the Scientific Revolution, the historical process of mov
In this episode, historian Brad Harris compares the horsepower of our modern machines to the power of stallions that helped empires rise and fall for millennia. Travel 30,000 years into the past to witness the first cave paintings of horses, an
In this exciting introduction to the series, historian of science and technology Brad Harris gives an epic preview of what's to come as he shares his vision for the show. While there may be much in the modern world to inspire our condemnation,
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