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Publisher's Summary

Ideas That Shaped Mankind flows from internationally respected historian Felipe Fernández-Armesto's views on the notion that man's capacity to produce ideas in itself brings about sweeping changes in the world. This ability, seen most profoundly in individual, startling moments of genius - or equally startling moments of chance - is what separates humans from the animals and allows humans to re-imagine the world in ever more complex designs.

From the earliest ideas, including cannibalism and the idea of farming, to theories of relativity and chaos, ideas reshape the world in surprising and wholly unexpected ways. Science, agriculture, religion, art, politics - Professor Fernández-Armesto examines all these areas of thought and the moments in time when man's fertile intellect produced the sparks that set off blazes of change, even revolutions, that would forever alter the course of human history.

©2004 Felipe Fernandez-Armesto; (P)2004 Recorded Books

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Brilliant survey of human thought

Would you listen to The Modern Scholar again? Why?

I've enjoyed many Modern Scholar series books, and I did enjoy this one more than once. This is one of the best Modern Scholar books there is.

Which character – as performed by the narrator – was your favorite?

Professor Filipe Fernandez-Armesto

Any additional comments?

Okay, I grant that Professor Fernandez-Armesto has a wonderfully distinctive speaking and lecturing style, but it's actually quite marvelous. <br/><br/>Have you ever watched The West Wing and caught the character of Lord John Marbury as played by Rick Rees? There are times you'll swear Lord Marbury was inspired and modeled after Professor Fernandez-Armesto—not only in mannerisms but in brilliant insight, perception, and talent to get straight to the heart of an idea. So if you find the speaking style a bit disorienting at first, think of John Marbury delivering it and you might even find yourself smiling. Soon the ideas themselves will shine through, and they will kindle your imagination and sense of wonder sufficiently you won't even remember you noticed anything out of your experience.<br/><br/>Truly one of the finest Modern Scholar books ever recorded. Only Professor Drout's are in the same league.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Very enjoyable, very entertaining and enlightening

Where does The Modern Scholar rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

high

What did you like best about this story?

This course is a huge overview of a lot of ideas, so it does skim the surface of most of them, but it does so in a way that piques your interest to investigate many things further, which is the purpose of the course in the first place.

Have you listened to any of the narrator’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Pay no attention to the people complaining about the narrator's performance. Yes, he has a specifically eccentric Ox-Bridge accent, but that is part of the interest and fun of the course. If you are so fixated on an accent that you miss the content, you probably picked the wrong course.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

No. But I enjoyed it a lot.

Any additional comments?

Get it.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

horrible

"and that [pause] how [pause] you begin to construct [pause] a universe that makes sense [pause]" No substance whatsoever. The author makes random inferences and shifts from one trivial idea to another without anything real to say.

13 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Brilliant

If there were only one audiobook I could take to a deserted island, this would be it.

LOVE Felipe Fernandez-Armesto, his brilliant mind and intriguing delivery.

I've listened to "Ideas that Shaped Mankind" over and over throughout the years... and am looking forward to my next listen.

Can't recommend it enough for anyone with a curious mind.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

change the Narrator

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

NO , the narrator was very annoying with his speech style

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

change the narrator<br/><br/>improve the timeline of the book the author went back and forth with the time line in some chapters and that was hard to follow<br/><br/>has some factual inaccuracies<br/>

How did the narrator detract from the book?

speech style very difficult

Did The Modern Scholar inspire you to do anything?

no :(

1 of 4 people found this review helpful