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)
Science and philosophy buff
Although this is well troden teritory and there are many other good books that cover this ground Richard Dawkins is always worth listening to.
Yes, I have them all
I enjoyed the many myths in the book -- very entertaining. Dawkins uses very good illustrations of distances or time when discussing very small or very large "things." He totally dismisses other ways of viewing reality (through consciousness and thought), so his book is good as a scientific discourse but it may miss the "big picture" (which, granted, is very unknowable with any certainty -- or with any scientific proof). I wish he would have at least tried to delve a bit into this way of looking at reality.
The books seems very interesting for people not used to read about science. For me, a person interested in science, the books seems "for dummies".
I would definitively consider the audio edition to be better than the print version. Reading this would most likely put me to sleep.
The most interesting aspect of the story would be the author's comparisons of fact to the mythologies of different religions around the world. It is fascinating to hear what people use to believe, and what some people still believe.
I was expecting more along the lines of quantum physics and the perception of reality. What I got was a summary of all my high school science classes. I didn't really learn anything I didn't already know. But some how the author kept my interest and a I kept on listening. Its a good listen for anyone interested in basic science. If I purchased the print version I never would have finished it.
The very concise, and almost familiar, delivery of the information is just fantastic. I have read a number of Dawkins' other works, and I enjoyed this one very much. I think that for someone who doesn't want to spend the time to absorb all the other Dawkins works, this one is a good choice to get the
I always appreciate the inflection you get from a narration that you may not get from your own internal narrator. Dawkins and Ward are a good team, and they both seem to be having a good time while narrating.
I read "The God Delusion" (same author) and found some of the science way over my head yet I liked the book enough that I am reading it for a second time. The topic is of utmost interest to me.
I find this book (The Magic of Reality) somewhat "below my head". The topic is absolutely magical. There is no question about that. However, many of the concepts are laid out once, twice, three times and more and the repetition gets a bit boring.
Perhaps that is because of the weighty material being discussed, and the author's desire to dispel myths. He presents clear and concise arguments at each stage of the discussions, so clear in fact that the repetitions become redundant in some chapters.
However this a most interesting book. I learned a great deal...and I know I missed much. Therefore, I will listen to this book again.
A great mind dumbing down to an audience that hoped for, and deserved, better." The God Delusion" delivered what you would expect from one the great critical thinkers of our time.
However, if depth, piercing insight, and just the right amount of pith is what you are hoping
for here, keep moving, nothing to see here, move along. Perhaps Mr. Dawkins had a particular demographic in mind when he sat down to pen this one, I just wish there was a hint of the intent in the title. Perhaps a sub rosa line like " this is for the mouth breathers who aint real good with all them big words and ideas". After listening I very quickly removed it from my device thinking firstly I had wasted my time and money, and second, I'll never miss it. I really hope, and fully expect, that the next offering from Dawkins will be right back
back where he belongs, on the best seller's list. Don't look for this one there.
I admit, I've only made a third of the way through this book. I like it and I like the objective of the book, however, I wish it was written to a more educated audience. I am by no means a science buff, nevertheless, I feel this book would reasonate more with a curious teenager or younger.
This review is for the subset of us that are natural scientists. Have you completed Bio/Chem/Astro/Phys 101-201? Then you know everything in this book already. If you don't then I'm sure you'll find this overview of our universe fascinating (because the universe is just that!)
There were some small gaps in my knowledge that were filled in, or concepts reinforced but overall I felt like I had wasted my time. Every time Dawkins starts to gets really in depth with a topic, he either truncates the discussion because he doesn't know enough (he admits this) or it is beyond the scope of the book. Oh well....at the end of the day, can we really get enough science? No. No we can't.
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