I took basic high school chemistry, but that's it. Although this book goes through a lot of background, I found that it was too technical for me to thoroughly enjoy. I did like all of the stories about elements being used throughout history, and I gleaned a lot of conversation starters from this book. However, when listening to this in the car, I had whole stretches of 15-20 minutes where I lost interest in the audiobook. There were some fun parts to this book, but I would recommend it to someone with a bit more chemistry background for it to be fully enjoyable.
Businessman, Technologist, Marketer. Loves to learn and enjoys books. Mostly nonfiction plus historic novels.
Chemistry was the class I least liked in high-school. I hated all those chemical equations. I never understood the periodic table either.
And yet, I found this book to be a fascinating tell of how how we developed a better understanding of the atoms and quantum physics that make our universe work. I would have never thought a chemistry book would make me sit in the parking lot after I got to work, wanting to spend a few more minutes in the car listening to this book.
If you are intellectually curious, and if you love science, by all means get this book.
Kept me listening for two chapters. Early in chapter three, Kean states that water is the only liquid in our universe (at any pressure or temperature) that could provide liquid transport of metabolites to and from cells in multi-cellular organisms. I'm done listening.
Great story. Well read. Narrator kept it interesting. Could not stop listening. Chemical history fascinating.
I'm not a scientist, but I loved this book. Sam Keen is a great writer, and delves into fascinating tidbits about the history of the periodic table that you won't hear anywhere else.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book! I am not a scientist, so although I devoted my full attention to the book, there were many parts I just could not grasp. Nonetheless, I am interested in certain branches of science (think: medical), so I do NOT regret choosing The Disappearing Spoon. I DO understand & enjoy history, & Sam Kean's book is full of it.
Sean Runnette has a WONDERFUL voice, & his reading style complements & illuminates the book, never detracts from it. The author definitely has a healthy sense of humor. The vignettes from history are fascinating, hilarious, tragic, & everything in between.
The sheer volume of science, history, information, & explanation in The Disappearing Spoon is huge, yet Sam Kean does an excellent job weaving together the myriad stories into a coherent narrative. What an entertaining, enlightening book!
if you're a lover of chemistry you will likely eat this book up. I'm not a lover of chemistry but still found it entertaining. he does a good job of weaving history in with the chemistry, physics and more mundane details of the periodic chart.
Overall the book is interesting and compelling, but the author frequently shits between a formal and informal register; switching between colorful but restrained descriptions of the elements and the individuals and historic events surrounding them and jarring switches to using words like "frigging awesome" to describe some discovery or other.
While the book lacks polish in this regard, the content makes for en enjoyable "read".