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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.

Critic Reviews

"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 Ratings

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  • Jennifer
  • Matteson, IL, United States
  • 01-30-12

Enlightening and Entertaining

What did you love best about The Magic of Reality?

Easy to follow explanations for complex science concepts. I wish more of my science classes in school had been this engaging.

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

The Timeline of evolution.

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

I finished this book in in three sittings. Given the time I could have listened to it all in one sitting.

Any additional comments?

If you are not opened minded and don't care for any viewpoint that is not creationism and miracle based this is not a book you should bother with listening to because you will be angry.

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  • Dr
  • Los Osos, CA, United States
  • 01-27-12

Classic Dawkins

I love the way Dawkins can pull together many streams of thought to synthesize a holos at the end of the winding path. This series takes a strong existentialist look at what we take as real. The alternate male/female narrative style lends to balance and continued interest in the topic. What Dawkins teaches in this series is nothing short of looking oneself straight in the mirror without delusion interfering in the process. This is science, but it is so much more than that too.

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  • Matthew
  • Whitehouse Station, NJ, United States
  • 01-25-12

Great book! Explains life today through science.

Where does The Magic of Reality rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This is a very good audiobook and I would recommend it to anyone.

What did you like best about this story?

How Dawkins used science to explain how life has emerged on this planet.

What does Richard Dawkins and Lalla Ward bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

A personal touch (particularly Dawkins). His emphasis is in all the right places so that the meaning of the book really comes across nicely.

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

Yes, I wish I could have read it all at once.

Any additional comments?

Great book. Highly recommend it!

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  • Mohammed
  • newark, NJ, United States
  • 01-12-12

Great Audio Book

This is my third experience listening to audio books, I recommend this book for everyone to try.

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  • Story

Another good book by Dawkins

If you could sum up The Magic of Reality in three words, what would they be?

Although this is well troden teritory and there are many other good books that cover this ground Richard Dawkins is always worth listening to.

Would you listen to another book narrated by Richard Dawkins and Lalla Ward ?

Yes, I have them all

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Good story but he dismisses other views

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.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Not for geeks

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".

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Good listen with a deceiving title.

Would you consider the audio edition of The Magic of Reality to be better than the print version?

I would definitively consider the audio edition to be better than the print version. Reading this would most likely put me to sleep.

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

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.

Any additional comments?

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.

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  • KJ
  • 01-03-12

This should be required material

What made the experience of listening to The Magic of Reality the most enjoyable?

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

What does Richard Dawkins and Lalla Ward bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

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.

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  • Cathy
  • Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada
  • 12-13-11

There is Magic in Reality

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.