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100 Diagrams That Changed the World: From the Earliest Cave Paintings to the Innovation of the iPod Hardcover – October 30, 2012

4.2 out of 5 stars 50 customer reviews

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Frequently Bought Together

  • 100 Diagrams That Changed the World: From the Earliest Cave Paintings to the Innovation of the iPod
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  • The Who, the What, and the When: 65 Artists Illustrate the Secret Sidekicks of History
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

DR. SCOTT CHRISTIANSON is a prize-winning author and investigative reporter who also works in documentary film. He lives in the Hudson Valley in upstate New York.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Plume; 9/30/12 edition (October 30, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0452298776
  • ISBN-13: 978-0452298774
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.6 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #104,776 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By The Mohawked Reviewer TOP 100 REVIEWER on November 11, 2012
Format: Hardcover
As is the usual preamble, I received this book as part of a GoodReads giveaway.

For most purposes this rather brief tome is serviceable as a coffee table book. Each entry is given one page devoted to the diagram with a half page of text to describe it. In general the author does a good job of choosing his topics and while most are already familiar to any individual of average erudition there are some new tidbits to be gleaned. As a book to be read from cover to cover it does become somewhat daunting because the author's text is often very brief and very high level and one can never quite settle into any particular topic before being shuffled off rather quickly to the next. The chronological ordering of the book is exactly what one would wish for in such a work and the full breadth of history has considered.

On the constructive side of my observations it seems evident that the author had some difficulty coming around to 100 'diagrams' for inclusion. Many of the entries can only marginally be called diagrams at all (or the diagrams are really only secondary to the significance of the achievement being documented) while others are of dubious significance to begin with. The idea that a sketch for the iPod should appear in a book alongside Copernicus and da Vinci is, in this reviewer's opinion, an affront to any reasonable view on how we could what is significant and what is not in the grand scale of history. Lastly in this vein the text at times seems rushed and perhaps suffers from over-editing. The chosen textual format is so short that no real background can be properly conveyed and the reader suffers a bit from whiplash.

In summary, this book would make a reasonable addition to the coffee table but cannot be considered for any serious reading. It would have been better served as a book containing half as many diagrams but with much expanded text.
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Format: Hardcover
I agreee with a previous reviewer about this being a (relatively small) coffee table book - nice pictures. However, I only got as far as 1900 BC - Pythagoras' Theorem - before I hit this egregious error: "the square of the hypotenuse equals the sum of the other two sides". If this is the extent of the author's (and his scientific fact-checkers') skills, I don't think I want it lying on my coffee table.
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Format: Hardcover
This was a beautiful book, readable and inspiring, that can appeal to readers of many levels, with varied interests. If is full of fascinating stories. It not only introduced me and my 12 year old son to some amazing discoveries from history, but it also gave the back story on the diagrams we were already familiar with. The original ipod diagram was one of his favorites. The combination of text and images is very powerful. 100 Diagrams is scholarly, yet accessible. I previously read another book by this author about a runaway slave and can say that this author is a very skilled story teller. While the topic of 100 Diagrams was quite different, it has the same combination of solid historical foundation and entertainment.

The size of this book appeals to me, because, unlike other books with beautiful illustrations, it fits on a normal size bookshelf.
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Format: Hardcover
What is in the book is not so important as how one "uses" this book. Wow, what a great opportunity to share with middle school students. Take one diagram and discuss it with your child or grandchild: the importance of the diagram; why it came about when it did; what problem was the "artist" trying to solve when drawing the diagram. Sort of the "facebook" or "twitter" of science, I suppose.

100 diagrams.

214 pages (not including index, etc).

So, with 214 pages and 100 diagrams, it works out to about one page for each diagram, and one page devoted to an explanatory note by the author.

Diagrams in chronological order, of course.

Leonardo da Vinci: credited with three drawings.

Steve Jobs: one drawing.

Apple Corp (the computer company): one drawing.

Absent: Stephen Hawking. Albert Einstein. Bohr. Atom. Christopher Columbus. Board games (Monopoly). Story boards (Star Wars, The Lord of The Rings).

Most surprising: "graded sewing patterns."
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Fascinating look at 100 Diagrams that changed the world from Egyptian Book of the Dead and Rosetta Stone to Da Vinci's Vitruvian Man and Bell's first sketch for the telephone. Each page is a double spread showing the diagram (in color) and a page of description including what year each is from and why they are so important. Informative, light, interesting, clever and a great gift book. I love paging through this book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a teacher, I use this magnificent book regularly. Whether I have students guess what the diagram might be or I read information that is accessible and intriguing, this book is one of the best resources I've ever purchased. Each diagram is beautifully and clearly displayed, with a corresponding page devoted to background information as well as a complete overview of the mechanics of the diagram/graphic/art and how it changed the course of mankind. Text is clearly written with historical information knowledgeably relayed, unbiased, and thorough. The 100 diagrams chosen cover the full gamut of time, location and usage, with ideas included that range from universally known to more obscure, but equally compelling ideas. Although a wonderfully scholarly resources, this book can also be picked up and leafed through as a "light" read. Ideas and concepts are so compelling it can serve as both a coffee table book (although this feels a bit sacrilegious) or as a consistently used resource guide and companion.
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