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The Magic of Reality: How We Know What's Really True | [Richard Dawkins]

The Magic of Reality: How We Know What's Really True

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?
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Publisher's Summary

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.

What the Critics Say

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (1010 )
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4.3 (876 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Stephen Childs dallas,texas 04-17-12
    Stephen Childs dallas,texas 04-17-12 Member Since 2013
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    26
    1
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    Story
    "Dawkins For A 14 Year Old"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    This book is perfect for any young adult looking to understand why they are here.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tero Helsinki, Finland 04-16-12
    Tero Helsinki, Finland 04-16-12 Member Since 2011

    tero_pajunen

    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
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    13
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    "Science vs. Superstition"
    What made the experience of listening to The Magic of Reality the most enjoyable?

    The author, Dr. Richard Dawkins, reads the book.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    I found the story of the rainbow, i.e. why we see colors and how the science behind it reveals the cosmic reality, the best part of the book.


    What aspect of Richard Dawkins and Lalla Ward ’s performance would you have changed?

    More references to further reading and exploring of the contextual subjects.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No. Have never had a need (urge) to do so.


    Any additional comments?

    The quality of the cover image of the audiobooks are usually very low. This said, would there be any technological solution, which would able readers to see images, which are in the book, e.g. graphs etc?

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary Anne Clark 03-21-12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Maybe OK as a children's book."
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    No. There is nothing new in this book, it is very basic and simplistic. It is clearly intended for children, although I'm not sure how the patronizing narration would go over even by children. Maybe especially by children.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    Didn't finish it.


    What aspect of Richard Dawkins and Lalla Ward ???s performance would you have changed?

    A more adult style, even if the book is intended for children.


    Do you think The Magic of Reality needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    Perhaps a version for adults. I like the concept, but the material was just too simplistic.


    Any additional comments?

    I'm a great fan of Richard Dawkins. I think he's done some great stuff over the years. But this one is a miss.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chris CA 11-23-11
    Chris CA 11-23-11 Member Since 2013

    CZ

    ratings
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    "Really enjoyable book for rational thinkers"

    This book gave clear explanations of a lot of things in science that I already knew about, but it was nice to have this refresher that explains things very clearly and shows the interconnectedness of everything. The myths that begin each chapter are great. It occurred to me that I'd like to get the printed (or Kindle) version of this and read it to my granddaughter some day when she's a little older. I didn't give it 5 stars because it is a bit on the simplistic side and didn't reveal anything that really amazed me. But I really enjoyed the listen (especially with Dawkins himself doing the reading along with his wife) so it's a solid 4 stars.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lesli G McQuigg 05-21-12 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    9
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    "Interesting ideas"
    Any additional comments?

    I didn't like the narration; a little too much lecture/professor. The ideas are interesting to consider. I am a believer unlike the author and therefore don't think that everything he said is fact. However, I enjoyed the explanations of scientific fact and his order of explanation was great.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark San Jose, CA, United States 04-23-12
    Mark San Jose, CA, United States 04-23-12 Member Since 2012

    Winterone

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    8
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    Story
    "A book for all"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Magic of Reality to be better than the print version?

    I like to listen to books for the convience. I think this book would be equally good in print


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Magic of Reality?

    The way he images things is very intriguing and enlightning


    Which character – as performed by Richard Dawkins and Lalla Ward – was your favorite?

    Both are very balanced and I enjoyed both equally


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No


    Any additional comments?

    I found it simple enough for a younger person to understand and complex enough to be enjoyable to even the most advanced in their fields.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Saleem 11-29-11
    Saleem 11-29-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Nothing is more fascinating than reality"

    Dawkins is fearless and untethered to any of his or the civilization's myths. He is a great example of evolution at its best.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    tasson Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 11-26-11
    tasson Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 11-26-11 Member Since 2014

    tasson

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Broken down so even a child can understand this."

    If you are a truly religious person you will find much to be critical of in this wonderful book. It breaks evolution down into truly basic information that can be understood by anyone, even a child. I am neither religious or scientific by nature and I have pondered many of the subjects Richard Dawkins covers, but without the education in any of the disciplines that cover this information I could not be satisfied with any kind of reasonable answer. Dawkins really makes his subject understandable and he is a very good reader. Both he and Lalla Ward are easy to listen to and they kept my interest to the very end. He starts each chapter with a simple question such as "Who was the first man?" and then tells you clearly and in interesting detail exactly the answer to that question. It is one of the best science books that I've listened to.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Peter Rockland, MA, United States 01-02-12
    Peter Rockland, MA, United States 01-02-12
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    2
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    "Thoroughly obnoxious narrator and partner"
    What would have made The Magic of Reality better?

    Perhaps doing something other than belaboring the obvious...


    Has The Magic of Reality turned you off from other books in this genre?

    I would actively avoid ever choosing another title from this bore who must
    love the sound of his own hideous voice and Lalla Ward is a perfect match
    for this blowhard.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Richard Dawkins and Lalla Ward ’s performances?

    I would rather stick needles in my eyes.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Magic of Reality?

    If the pretentious elocution of these two holdovers from the nineteenth
    century doesn't make you throw up in your mouth, playing editor is something
    these two boobs have somehow avoided in their careers; this material is
    far from magic, it's utter crap; but that's just my opinion.


    Any additional comments?

    Hopefully, the aforementioned is enough.

    0 of 7 people found this review helpful
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