I'm into educational nonfiction. Particularly ones in science, engineering, futurism, and psychology.
Narrator's tone harmonizes with the writer's to produce what is without doubt my favorite 'book'.
Relavent and enlightening scientific material is presented in a compelling historical/anecdotal fashion. You WILL learn and you will more than likely laugh out loud at least a couple of time. If you give half a damn about science don't miss this work of art.
This book seems like a good idea. Take each element in the periodic table and tell the reader something interesting about that element. This would work better if there were anly six or eight elements. Unfortunately, there are over 100 elements. This cleaver enterprise gets dull very fast. I like chemistry. But I do not like loads and loads of unrelated facts.
There are no thematic ideas to tie this vast load of trivia together. It is like listening to the cards of Trivial Pursuit being read aloud. The first half dozen are interesting. After that you just tune out. Skip this book in favor of UNCLE TUNGSTEN by Oliver Sacks. That is a fascinating book with lots of chemistry in it.
This audio book was positively riveting. I have an hour commute each way to and from work each day and I found myself sitting in the parking lot and my driveway not wanting to turn it off. This is honestly the best audio book I have listened to since Bill Bryson's Short History of Nearly Everything I highly recommend it.
I call this type of book "casual science"
I did learn one or two new things, but the book is mainly anecdotes related to discoveries of elements in the periodic table. Generally not my "cup of tea", but I think others may enjoy this.
I think the reading performance was well done.
I enjoyed listening to a good narration of some very interesting points related to the periodic table.
Not that kind of book. This book is about practical scientific info presented in a slightly different but intriguing format. It reactivated my interest in the physical world in terms of its elements and their properties. After listening, I found myself much less intimidated by the periodic table.
Dos not apply. It is not really a book about characters, though various scientists are introduced, along with their historical battles to claim discovery of new elements.
No, the info in this book takes time to digest. Shoving it all in during one reading session would overwhelm most people.
I plan to re-listen to The Disappearing Spoon, so that I can absorb and integrate more of the facts presented.
Interesting, obscure, & entertaining
Did a good job. One of the things I like best about a narrator, is that when it is over, I don't feel that they "took over" the book. Sean did exactly right. He read the book as it was meant to be read.
The book was a series of unique characteristics about different elements and their interaction in our daily world. A fun read.
This is a good book if you have an interest in chemistry, the history of scientific discovery, the history of chemical warfare, or genius and how it affects people. The author made the book a good listen by including some of the more amusing aspects of the history of the periodic table and of the people who helped to make the table what it is today.
It would have received a perfect score from me had it not been for some of the lewd examples included in the book and the lack of more concentration on the elements, themselves. I thought too much attention was given to too many characters to give the book a cohesive focus on the periodic table. Oddly, it was the characters that made the story interesting, but, as they say, too many cooks spoil the soup.
However, I would consider listening to this again because of the better parts of the book that honed in on some of the lesser known qualities of the elements and on how genius affected the lives of the people who dealt with being smarter than others. I found the genius aspect to be particularly interesting. Some people competed with others to be a "supergenius", some people hid away from other people to focus their attention on thier work, some used their intelligence to enrich themselves at others' expense (the ones that sold out to the Nazi's), and some allowed their failures to override every other aspect of their lives because of their perfectionism.
Sean Runette's narration was excellent. I listened to the book at 2x and found that to be a perfect speed. He kept the tone light and interesting, which is quite an accomplishment for a book about chemistry.
Overall, this is a really interesting read whether you are scientifically minded or not. I think most listeners would enjoy the personal aspect of the history of the periodic table - the people who shaped it and the people who were shaped by it.
Yes... Who would have thought a history of chemistry and the elements could be a....
Lewis or Seaborg ( I dated Seaborg's Daughter ) He was an incredible man... And I did not know the story re his marriage.. until this book... I read ~30 books by the Atomic Energy Commission (Seaborg) at ~10 (my dad sold stainless steel) so we visited places like Hanford... and these were free and good... In Glen's later years he would go to Berkeley everyday and coach chem students all day... And he is probably why Tilden (park/GC) has perhaps the best driving range in the country!. As well as: Responsible for the wonderful trails and open spaces near Berkeley and in Md. (which he loved so much). Having spent time at his house... these people are very down home and delightful.. (perhaps not what you would think).
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.