Engineering & Transportation
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New How Things Work: From Lawn Mowers to Surgical Robots and Everthing in Between Hardcover – September 14, 2004


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: National Geographic; 2nd edition (September 14, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 079226956X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0792269564
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 9.3 x 11.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #445,154 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

It is actually very clear and concise.
K. Jennings
John Langone's "The New How Things Work" has more information with more details, realistic illustrations, and actual photographs to show how each item works.
Judy K. Polhemus
The book doesn't actually get around to telling you how things work.
Dorey E. Evans

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Kevin C on April 17, 2005
Format: Hardcover
How Things Work is a vast compilation of explanations on everyday appliances that are dealt with in all areas of life. The book is divided into eleven chapters with categories ranging from household appliances, to mining and manufacturing, and health and medicine. Each chapter is two pages long with a descriptive page and a picture page which puts an image with the words. The description begins with a brief history of the machine followed by a description of the principles governing the machine.

This book is both interesting and informative and would capture the curiosity of a wide group of people. One of the great parts of the book is that the machines range from simple designs, such as a non-electric lawn mower, to highly complex designs, such as space telescopes; and there is no prior knowledge required before reading any of the descriptions. When you think about the thousands of gadgets, both small and large, that makes our lives possible; it is easy to pass them by without thinking about them. This book describes these items in a fashion that keeps the readers interest and makes them want to read on. I would recommend this book to anyone with the slightest interest in the mechanical world around them.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Judy K. Polhemus TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 5, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
John Langone's "The New How Things Work" has more information with more details, realistic illustrations, and actual photographs to show how each item works. This is the grown-up companion to David Macaulay's illustrated "the New Way Things Work." Both books will last a lifetime in information or until obselete.

National Geographic, renowned for its magnificent publications over the years does not falter with this volume. Instead, it is an over-sized publication dedicated to explaining technology to the lay public. The explanations are not "dumbed down" but use standard scientific terms, but not so difficult that an educated person cannot comprehend them. An example taken from the first product highlighted: "A microwave oven produces high-frequency electromagnetic waves. Passing through food, the waves reverse polarity billions of times a second" (16).

The book is arranged into eleven categories: At Home, Power and Energy, Buildings, Transportation, Agriculture, Fabrics and Fibers, Entertainment, Mining and Manufacturing, Information and Communication, and Other Worlds.

Two items from each category in order: security systems, plumbing, geothermal power, batteries, escalators, bridges, bicycles, sailboats, aquaculture, hydroponics, sewing, synthetic fibers, DVD, the zamboni, glassmaking, robotics, X-ray, implants, cell phones, internet, night vision, and military technology. An amazing list of technology whose inner workings are revealed. And many more items.

I flipped randomly to show the reader an example of how things are explained. On page 70 is an article, illustration, and photograph of various aspects of the "Chunnel" or Channel Tunnel, which traverses the English/French Channel.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Lumber Jake on May 28, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I had high hopes for this book seeing as how it was done by National Geographic but the explanations for "how things work" lacked details. The language is elegant, but it does not tell you anything that you couldn't ascertain by simply using and observing these things in your everyday life.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on March 30, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I would recommend this book to people because I really thought this book was a page-turner. It was a page-turner because I would always want to know how the next things work and function. Another reason why I recommend this book to people that really like to learn about how combustion engines work or how a cell phone works, and everything in between.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Joseph S. Maresca HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on March 30, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This work contains a simple explanation for a multiplicity of

classic inventions/processes. For instance, there is a description of how wheels transmit power and motion forces. Gear teeth work on the basis of ratios. They rotate and generate motion when affixed to shafts. Motors convert electrical energy to mechanical energy.

Microwaves increase the frequency of electrical forces while waves cook the food. Refrigerators rely on coolant circulating in a cooled system. Solar power utilizes heat energy, pumped water

and an integrated process to an insulated storage tank. Fusion

power pumps plasma, manages toroidal and poloidal magets and

accomplishes these tasks via superconducting materials.

This book would be a good acquisition for any science teacher,

student or enthusiast.
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Wendell O. Beshore on January 31, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Just another glossy coffe-table book. About 30 years ago there was a great informative book with same title, "How Things Work". That book gave detailed information, was one of our favorite books. It seems alll good thing are now 'dumbed down!

Beshore in PA
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