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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 (869 )
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4.3 (752 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Scott Santa Clara, CA, United States 06-01-12
    Scott Santa Clara, CA, United States 06-01-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Should be on every high school reading list."

    Pretty basic stuff if you are a science buff. However, pass this one along to one of those adults who really didn't pay attention in school, or to an adolescent that you care about. A great superstition-buster.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gary Las Cruces, NM, United States 05-22-12
    Gary Las Cruces, NM, United States 05-22-12 Member Since 2001

    Letting the rest of the world go by

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    "Not his best effort"

    I enjoyed this book, but in comparison to his other books this one is only okay. It's similar but not as good as "The History of Nearly Everything" or "Science Matters". Each of those books cover similar topics but in more depth and better expositions.

    It's unfair of me to rank this book in comparison to the author's other works. If I had not listened to all of his other books I might have rated the book a 4, but I loved his other books so much I had higher expectations for this one.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    E. PALMDALE, CA, United States 05-21-12
    E. PALMDALE, CA, United States 05-21-12 Member Since 2006
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    "Nothing new"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    I love Dawkins in general but this is pretty much just a rehashing of previous work.


    Any additional comments?

    Great for a "first Dawkins book" reader.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Thomas Sewell, NJ, United States 12-22-11
    Thomas Sewell, NJ, United States 12-22-11 Member Since 2008
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    "An about everything kinda book, with a slight bias"

    This one is ok, presented well, and I liked the presentation and the author, and narration of the team. Breaks it up from having one speaker the entire book. Appreciated the effort of gathering the knowledge presented, and when to say "I don't understand."

    Now this tells you about the DNA, Universe, religion, myths.... type thing. Giving the science side of the house. All valid stuff and good. So if you've never listened to one of these "everything about everything" volumes then I recommend it, and learned a few more things. The slight bias is to describe how the science point of view is correct, and once you get past the stories, myths, and non-logic of the other beliefs, the science presented is "what's really true." But that is what their theme is, so its on path with the sub-title. So, between the vast amount of science info, intermixed with the stated bias, its a lot of info and an interesting listen. I follow the science side of the house myself, but I also know that, 'what you believe is what's true for you and how you perceive the universe,' so... there's that. Enjoy, I recommend it.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeff Herbst 06-10-14
    Jeff Herbst 06-10-14 Member Since 2007
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    "Great"
    Where does The Magic of Reality rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    One of my favorites. Dawkins has a knack for explaining things that you did not know that you did not understand!


    What did you like best about this story?

    I always come away from a Dawkins book with increased knowledge.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    n/a


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    n/a


    Any additional comments?

    n/a

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Kansas City 04-23-14
    Michael Kansas City 04-23-14 Member Since 2013

    Just now discovering the incredible world of audiobooks!

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    "A magical experience"

    Richard Dawkins creates a sense of awe and wonder of the universe that we live in, while dispelling the many myths and fairytales that have crept up over the history of humanity. The true story is far more exciting than the false myths that are perpetuated throughout societies.

    The narration is outstanding and is among the most professional that I have heard. Richard and Lalla are an excellent team and a true joy to listen to.

    This book covers a range of subjects such as evolution, what a rainbow is, how we know the distance to different stars and more. Several myths are examined as well, but there is no actual "magic" here. Rather, Dawkins masterfully shows how everything has a natural and rational explanation behind it.

    I absolutely enjoyed this audiobook and recommend it listeners of all ages.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    M. S. Cohen New York, NY USA 02-07-14
    M. S. Cohen New York, NY USA 02-07-14 Member Since 2003
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    "It's a science textbook for pre-teens"

    The sub-head "How we know what's really true" led me to believe the book would be about how to refute and rebut arguments from the religious right on the validity of the Bible, etc.

    Instead it's a rather dull science textbook written for pre-teenagers.

    And unfortunately the woman's voice and intonation makes it seem that she is speaking to someone who doesn't understand English.

    I like Hawkins, but not this.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    melissa mairtta, GA, United States 03-19-13
    melissa mairtta, GA, United States 03-19-13 Member Since 2010
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    "lots of info"
    If you could sum up The Magic of Reality in three words, what would they be?

    a great look at how thing work and how they fits together and there is a true magic to it all that is real


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael HOT SPRINGS, ARKANSAS, United States 02-11-13
    Michael HOT SPRINGS, ARKANSAS, United States 02-11-13 Member Since 2012
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    "excellent factual content"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    no


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    the book explains facts like darwin theroy


    How could the performance have been better?

    the book skips like a broken record


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    yes


    Any additional comments?

    the book skips like a broken record

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Scottsbluff, NE, United States 12-31-12
    John Scottsbluff, NE, United States 12-31-12 Member Since 2004
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    "Nothing new and revealing"

    If you have read or studied physics, astronomy, etc. much beyond the high school level, you'll quickly become bored and soon put it down. If not you may find it an easy read on those topics. The book starts in early on the Bible and religion as if Wikipedia has been around since 1 A.D.and everyone should know better. The "Myths and Superstitions" it debunks...well, to be nice, not news to most people with any science background.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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