I've never written a review -- but really wanted to for this book. I loved it!!! Stuffed with facts, ideas, stories, anecdotes -- fantastic. I look forward to listening to it again.
Husband, father, building contractor, inventor and audio book lover.
Sam Kean does an excellent job of making a mountain of information interesting and engaging. I think I will listen to this book three times and still not get everything in it. If you want to stretch your brain, this is the gym you need to go to.
Strong characters in all genres. and narrators who don't ham it up.
The combination of great science and the personal stories was top notch and well beyond my expectations. I know a lot of the science, but that is not a requirement to listen to this book, and learned a lot more details that were absolutely fascinating. I've got a PhD in Materials Science and learned many new things, but it was in reach of high school students. What really made the book was the human interest stories of both the people who discovered the elements and how the elements and their properties have direct impact our society. I expected it to be dry, but it was absolutely great history and great literature. I recommend this book to everyone. Just drop science, history and english from the junior year of high school and study and discuss this book instead. The students would thank you and be better educated in all the subjects. But no matter what stage of life you are in, or what interests you have, I think you will find many of the stories both interesting and informative. Come for either and you will be rewarded with both!
Sean does a great job. I had to find out if this was the author reading this or not, because Sean did such a convincing and natural job of telling the stories, i thought he had researched the subject for years. Bravo!
The trials and tribulations of the scientists was moving, but the understanding of how mud (or the elements to be extracted from the mud) in Africa, finances war and strife, was a revelation to me. The book follows the money trail and is a real eye-opener.
Say something about yourself!
Actually yes!!! It is so fascinating and interesting. You are learning tons but the easy story line makes you captivated.
The author's away of navigating the history of the universe through the lens of the periodic table is beautiful. I have no scientific background, besides school but i had no trouble following along. The stories are usually short and focus on one element. His teaching style is so easy that you finish listening and are amazing at the information you have retained. If he would just write several books about all topics, i feel like i could know everything.
Nope, this was my first. His voice is so mellow, you find yourself exhaling a sigh once he starts speaking. It's wonderful. Though if you are very tired, his voice reciting fascinating things about sub atomic particles may put you to sleep.
No, it is an intense listen. You need to be paying attention. And I felt the need to read another book in between listening, that was an "easy" read.
Providing an interesting journey through the periodic table, the stories will amaze and often supply amble head shaking around the politics of Science. It was a nice balance between fun facts and history - well worth the read.
I can only anticipate what elements will be in our future - and the possibility behind quantum dots.
Interests in Design/Engineering, Architecture, & History
I wish my chemistry teachers would have made me read this book. I would have had more interest in chemistry instead of regarding it as a hard and dry science with no humanity.
I would love to find another book that will do what this did - take a scientific, informative subject, cover its history and developments and just make something that I struggled to understand in high school very interesting indeed. You won't learn about Avogadro (or whatever his name was) , or many other significant numbers that your teacher tried to beat into your head, but instead you'll learn about things like King Midas and spoons that melt in your tea, and fool's gold and isn't that already better than knowing how to identify chemical reactions? High school did a great job in making chemistry SUCK. This book, while it won't make you a chemist, might instead make you respect, admire, and appreciate it.
I'm waiting for the sequel, "the Disappearing SPORK!"
I enjoyed this book and found myself sharing information from it on a daily basis with my friends. The narrator had a droning voice which I found to be a bit flat, however with all of the really long scientific words that he had to say they were probably lucky to find him. I was horrible at chemistry in high school (much more of a biology person) so I liked learning a little more about the elements.
This is a science book and while written to appeal to a mass audience, even with my science background I had to stop and think about some of the conclusions and facts proposed during the read. In a good way though. It made me think and try to recollect my chemistry and physics courses from old.
The book is broken down into sections around a handful of elements usually related in various fashions and this reads quite well. If you are a science geek you will most definitely like this book. Enjoy
Enjoying audiobooks daily!
It was fun. Not the best book I've ever listened to, but it's well done and interesting.
No characters in this book. Just science. The periodic table is the main character here, so perhaps it's noble gasses.
It was even, teacher-like with a side of sarcasm. This is good for a science book.
I laughed a few times. It was amusing and learned.
Good science book.
In a book such as this non of the above questions apply. It is a brilliant survey of our continuing exploration of the world and universe in which we discover our selves, The interface of science, individuals and our world is continually fascinating and Sam Kean does a witty , intelligent and understandable job of sorting out the various aspects of our understanding of our world and the way we explore it.