Richard Dawkins, the world’s most famous evolutionary biologist, presents a gorgeously lucid, science book examining some of the nature’s most fundamental questions both from a mythical and scientific perspective.
Science is our most precise and powerful tool for making sense of the world. Before we developed the scientific method, we created rich mythologies to explain the unknown. The pressing questions that primitive men and women asked are the same ones we ask as children. Who was the first person? What is the sun? Why is there night and day? The myths that address these questions are beautiful, but in every case their beauty is exceeded by the scientific truth.
With characteristic clarity and verve, Dawkins answers these big questions. Looking first at some of the myths that arose to answer the question, he then, dazzles us with the facts. He looks at the building blocks of matter, the first humans, the sun - explaining the life and death of stars; why there’s a night and a day - ranging from our solar system to the inner workings of our planet; what a rainbow really is—going from the rainbow in your backyard to the age of the universe; and finally, he poses a question that still baffles scientists: When did everything begin?
©2011 Richard Dawkins, Ltd. (P)2011 Simon & Schuster, Inc.
"I wanted to write this book but I wasn't clever enough. Now I've read it, I am." (Ricky Gervais)
“Exhilarating. The clearest and most beautifully written introduction to science I've ever read. Again and again I found myself saying 'Oh! So that's how genes work!' (or stars, or tectonic plates, or all the other things he explains). Explanations I thought I knew were clarified; things I never understood were made clear for the first time. My favourite adjective of praise has always been "clear", and this book has clarity all the way through.” (Philip Pullman, author of The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ and the His Dark Materials trilogy)
I am often asked to recommend good books on science for young people. From now on, I will not have to hesitate. The Magic of Reality provides a beautiful, accessible and wide ranging volume that addresses the questions that all of us have about the universe, separating often too-little known facts from too-frequently believed fictions. For this reason it should be a powerful resource for people of all ages, written with the masterful and eloquently literate style of perhaps the best popular expositor of science, Richard Dawkins, and delightfully illustrated by Dave McKean. What more could anyone ask for?” (Lawrence Krauss is Foundation Professor and Director of the Origins Project at Arizona State University and the author most recently of Quantum Man, and A Universe from Nothing)
eye-opening mesmerizing bravo
In a class of its own; a master and beloved teacher who is well known for his searing intellect and scorn for those who discount the collective intelligence of evidential science in favor of subjective and ancient woo, disarms himself in order to speak with gentle, unblinking clarity. Ostensibly he does this to honor his own commitment to spare youth from propaganda and unfair use of rhetorical flourish. But that technique is tremendously alluring for us grown-ups too. Here Richard Dawkins plays the wise uncle, mentoring our species to grow up and see the real world for what it really is: amazing
Their narration is more professional and alluring than that of most of the professionally narrated books I have listened to via Audible. I also loved the refreshing pattern of male and female voices taking turns.
If any book could give me hope that our species might actually make it through the necessary transitions, it is this one -- provided it is widely read and listened to. I first read the hardcover, gorgeously illustrated, but was surprised I loved it far more as an author-read audiobook by which I create the pictures in my own mind while dear Uncle Richard and Aunt Lalla are reading to me!
Having not read the print version, I wouldn't know. But I liked the tag-team narration.
I dug the emphasis on the importance of science.
I really don't know how to review this book because I honestly don't know if it was meant for children. If it was, then I would add a star. I thoroughly enjoyed the juxtaposition of the mythological with the scientific. However, I did not care for the condescending tone of the text, or the narration when it came to addressing Christianity. As an atheist even I could feel Dawkins' contempt for "the Hebrew God" and I think it took away from the objectivity a bit (if that isn't ironic enough to say). All in all it was my seventh grade Earth Science text book, peppered with some mythology and anecdotes to make it mildly more engaging. I say mildly because I found my seventh grade Earth Science text book QUITE engaging as written!
Let's face it, these authors aren't paying me, so there's no need to lie!!
I mean this book is "for kids" in the best way possible, because I would actually buy it for MY kid. It's good for adults too, but pretty much sums up Dawkins' other books. I always feel a few IQ points smarter when I read his books. This one makes GREAT analogies that allows the listener to easily understand some of the more complicated subjects. Highly recommend for anyone new to Dawkins.
I thought this was a nice review of reality, bringing the big picture into a small space for everyone to think about in one sitting.
The concepts were painstakingly easy to follow.
The performers played well off of each other, lighting the text up with their exchange of roles.
That Dawkins proves once again that reality is awsome, that we need to stop inventing supernatural stories to explain life in the universe. Life is super just as it is.
They bolied down some very complex theories and made them simple for anyone to understand. His model of the immensity of the universe (foot balls and perpercorns) is a great example.
The awe that these seasoned verteans feel comes out in their voices, this is not a dry text but a love affair that they have with our planet, our galaxy, our universe.
Science and scientist are often painted with the brush that they are cold, heartless and unemotional, Lalla and Richard prove that in their case at least, this characterization is a cosmos from the truth.
I'll disclaim that I only read about half the book, giving it a solid try because I've liked other books by Dawkins. But this just had nothing that interesting or new for someone with a even cursory science education.
For anyone seeking to know more about our universe, how we got here, and why reality is more fulfilling and amazing than any myth or holy book, this is for you.
If facts and evidence don't matter to you, this book will do nothing for you. Then again, no book will do anything for you.
Although the target audience is adolescents, you will almost certainly learn a thing or two as well. Even if you don't, the very skillfull and engaging narration by Dawkins and Ward makes for an enjoyable listen.
This is the book God would have written if there were one!
Faced with mindless duty, when an audio book player slips into a rear pocket and mini buds pop into ears, old is made new again.
“The Magic of Reality” introduces science to children and adults that wish to see the world as a place of wondrous events and boundless opportunity. Richard Dawkins is an unrepentant atheist but his writing and presentation does not convince one of a Godless universe.
“The Magic of Reality” is not a debate about science or second coming. Dawkins de-mythologizes the hypocritical beliefs of those who insist on the literal truth of the Bible and infers a challenge to those who believe in the reliability of organized religion. Dawkins fails to convince one that God does not exist but he believes most of humankind is fooled by an emotive mind.
Dawkins does for general science what Richard Feynman is said to do for Physics, i.e. he makes complex theories simple to understand. Dawkins’ interspersion of apocryphal stories enliven practices and theories of real science; i.e. science’s methods and results are explained in simple language.
Dawkins shows that mankind seeks nature’s truth through science because without science there is no future. The species, Homo sapiens, is capable of escaping extinction but only through continued exploration of science; i.e. species evolution alone is not enough.
Dawkins notes that our sun will become so hot in two billion years that life, as we know it, will be over .Should we wait for the Bible’s “second coming” or should we plan for a future on some other planet? Dawkins book is an excellent introduction to science; not a refutation of God.
A good introductory science text with an emphasis on explaining away myths.I have listened to a couple of Dawkin's books and overall agree with what he and his partner have to say. I found the introductory chapters did a good job of explaining how science views and explains what reality is and the differences between data and observational based reality versus myths and beliefs based on misunderstanding and outright distortions. The latter chapters become a bit repetitious.
Although Dawkins and Ward do an adequate job of narrating, I think that the narration would be better done by professionals. Normally I like it when authors read their works, but in this case I am not so sure.
Yes. I would recommend it to younger people who would want to better understand how science views reality.
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