Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

Qty:1
  • List Price: $18.00
  • Save: $0.99 (6%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Only 4 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
Our Own Devices: How Tech... has been added to your Cart
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: The item shows wear from consistent use, but it remains in good condition and works perfectly. All pages and cover are intact (including the dust cover, if applicable). Spine may show signs of wear. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting. May include "From the library of" labels.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Our Own Devices: How Technology Remakes Humanity Paperback – June 8, 2004

3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

See all 3 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Price
New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
$17.01
$6.63 $0.01

Top 20 lists in Books
Top 20 lists in Books
View the top 20 best sellers of all time, the most reviewed books of all time and some of our editors' favorite picks. Learn more
$17.01 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Only 4 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

  • Our Own Devices: How Technology Remakes Humanity
  • +
  • Why Things Bite Back: Technology and the Revenge of Unintended Consequences (Vintage)
  • +
  • Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business
Total price: $40.45
Buy the selected items together


Editorial Reviews

Review

“An intellectual thrill ride. . . . [A] memorable mosaic, a big picture that illustrates how human progress is half a matter of striding and half of stumbling. . . . Illuminating reading.” —The New York Times Book Review

"In this stellar fusion of how we design and use technology, and how technology in turn transforms us, the simple shoestring is a . . . path to understanding everything that matters. . . . Tenner brings both scholarly precision and droll humor to his topics."
ThePhiladelphia Inquirer

“This quirky romp . . . explores how common objects redefine us as fast as we redesign them. . . . Tenner offers many profound insights.” —Wired

“Accessible, elegant. . . . Tenner covers a remarkable broad canvas. . . . He has an eye for the odd detail and the little-known fact. . . [and] will take you to some fascinating places.” —Boston Review

From the Inside Flap

This delightful and instructive history of invention shows why National Public Radio dubbed Tenner "the philosopher of everyday technology." Looking at how our inventions have impacted our world in ways we never intended or imagined, he shows that the things we create have a tendency to bounce back and change us.
The reclining chair, originally designed for brief, healthful relaxation, has become the very symbol of obesity. The helmet, invented for military purposes, has made possible new sports like mountain biking and rollerblading. The typewriter, created to make business run more smoothly, has resulted in wide-spread vision problems, which in turn have made people more reliant on another invention--eyeglasses. As he sheds light on the many ways inventions surprise and renew us, Tenner considers where technology will take us in the future, and what we can expect from the devices that we no longer seem able to live without.
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

China
Engineering & Transportation Books
Discover books for all types of engineers, auto enthusiasts, and much more. Learn more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (June 8, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375707077
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375707070
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,387,142 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
"Why Things Bite Back" stands as one of my favorite books, and is definitely the best single volume available on the unintended consequences of technology. I was, of course, eager to read Edward Tenner's "Our Own Devices," a volume more focused on the historical adaptations of a select few technologies and man's co-evolution with them.

Tenner intentionally selected mundane technologies that get no more than a passing thought on a daily basis, and in several cases not only tracks historical adaptations of specific inventions and technologies (the history of the baby bottle, or eyeglasses, for instance), but also contrasts the diametrically opposed ends of the technological spectrum as it applies to what are similar design constructs (for instance posture chairs versus reclining chairs, and musical keyboards versus text keyboards.)

The scope of Tenner's research is astounding, and makes seemingly mundane items interesting. Particularly strong are the chapters on the zori (a sandal), and eyeglasses. In the chapter on zoris, for example, Tenner documents the work of a Liberian craftsman, Saarenald T. S. Yaawaisan, who recycled old sandals into toy helicopters until he had acquired all the used sandals in Monrovia, at which point he began purchasing new sandals to make into toys. The story goes on to explain the subsequent problems with Monrovian sandal recycling vis-a-vis the release of dioxin into the environment. This illustrates the fanciful research Tenner put in to make this an eminently readable book.

My favorite chapter, and one that will strike a chord with many readers is on the history of eyeglasses.
Read more ›
Comment 16 of 18 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
The book finished more interesting than it began, but overall the book was a disappointment. Many of the topics were interesting - shoes, chairs, music and text keyboards, eye glasses - and occasionally the writing was interesting.

Mr. Tenner's style was more academic - many facts and dates and names - but he rarely made any of the people or situations come alive. If he followed that path, the book would have been far more interesting and entertaining. For me, what makes history is not the the facts and figures, but the people and the color of the situation.

After reading the book I have many interesting tidbits of information, but unless someone is HIGHLY interested in the history of chairs or one of the topics in the table of contents, I can not recommend they pick up this book. I wish I could.
Comment 12 of 21 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
Tenner gives loads of citations and research but doesnt even have a thesis. He rambles off example of interactions between humanity and its technology. His writing style is poor and will lose you in his trail of thought. He is very bad at describing what he is thinking. He never actually "says" anything. All he does is present research.

He very rarely, if ever, derives a conclusion from what he brings up. He should not be called a philosopher of everyday technology, because at least in this book, he never actually does any thinking.

Very very poor. I would not recommend it at all.
Comment 12 of 22 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more
Our Own Devices: How Technology Remakes Humanity
This item: Our Own Devices: How Technology Remakes Humanity
Price: $17.01
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com

Want to discover more products? Check out this page to see more: cultural history