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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Genie in a Bottle by Scwarcz
This book demonstrates how seemingly impractical ideas made it
into implementation in the areas of organic and inorganic
chemistry. At first, silly puddy was deemed an impractical
idea with very little commercial application outside the
laboratory. It turned out to be a multi-million dollar idea.
Baking soda was not seen as a practical idea...
Published on June 17, 2004 by Dr. Joseph S. Maresca

versus
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice to know
This book contains more than five dozen articles each describing some chemical substance, how it was discovered and how it became useful. All interesting and many clearly explained. Each piece of knowledge, however, is encased long texts straining to be funny. Any trick, preferably cute, is acceptable if it seems it will make the reader smile. Thus, chapters with titles...
Published on April 22, 2007 by J. de Berchoux


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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Genie in a Bottle by Scwarcz, June 17, 2004
This book demonstrates how seemingly impractical ideas made it
into implementation in the areas of organic and inorganic
chemistry. At first, silly puddy was deemed an impractical
idea with very little commercial application outside the
laboratory. It turned out to be a multi-million dollar idea.
Baking soda was not seen as a practical idea initially, although
most homes have it today. The concept of drinking urine to
heal arthritis was deemed to be bizarre; however, there is
some scientific validity to the concept according to the author.
Arthritis may be relieved by keeping raisins in gin for 9 days.
GLA, primrose oil and chicken cartilage are all helpful
complementary strategies to controlling arthritis. Vaseline
oil was not seen as a great idea initially. Its inventor,
Robert Chesebrough created an enduring legacy with the product.
Chlorinated drinking water saved millions from bacterial diseases. This work describes many of the most promising inventions and processes in chemistry. It would be a perfect
reference for a student project. The book is a good value for the price charged. Its contents could make great conversation
at any dinner table.
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25 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chemicals do good to!, March 24, 2002
By 
CJ "cjad19" (Cambridge, MA USA) - See all my reviews
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This is an excellent book for anyone interested in knowing a little more about chemicals and their place in the world. Through his stories, Schwarcz explains how chemicals are used in our everyday lives and how very often they are given a "negative impact" as not being natural. He shows how media and others have made chemicals appear to always be bad yet at the same time these agencies neglect the overwhelming good of chemistry! This book is not about bashing media but rather to inform the reader of the global story and the truth about many of the so-called "toxins" in our world. It is a truly interesting book that is light hearted in its style so that it will please both the scientist as well as the non-scientist!
Finally, if you ever get to see "The Magic of Chemistry" or take "The World of Chemistry" course at McGill ... they are also highly recommended!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brief but enjoyable walk through Chemistry, January 29, 2006
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This review is from: The Genie in the Bottle: 67 All-New Commentaries on the Fascinating Chemistry of Everyday Life (Paperback)
Here is a book for everyone who has a natural scientific curiosity - a well-written and entertaining look at the chemistry of everyday life. Dr. Schwarz has taken Chemistry, food and magic tricks and rolled them all together in order to create an entertaining read.

To name just a few of the topics covered.

While cooking peas- how can you make them more GREEN - and why does it work

The chemical benefits of flax seed oil

Why magicians can NOT bend things with thought power alone.

The history of Mercury poisoning

Why things are "hot" to taste and how this can be used against bugs

As you can see the list of topics is both broad and entertaining. Amazingly, Dr. Schwarz does not get us caught up in very in-depth chemical equations/reactions. This is book written for someone with scientific curiosity not necessary a Masters in Science!

I definitely recommend "The Genie in the Bottle" - and I also give it as an endorsement to be used as bed time stories to your children, for it is these types of short essays on chemistry that may spark the love of the sciences in your child!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice to know, April 22, 2007
By 
J. de Berchoux (Rio de Janeiro, RJ Brazil) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Genie in the Bottle: 67 All-New Commentaries on the Fascinating Chemistry of Everyday Life (Paperback)
This book contains more than five dozen articles each describing some chemical substance, how it was discovered and how it became useful. All interesting and many clearly explained. Each piece of knowledge, however, is encased long texts straining to be funny. Any trick, preferably cute, is acceptable if it seems it will make the reader smile. Thus, chapters with titles such as "Oil You Need to Know" or "Willow Power", little anecdotes, references to famous names, closely or not associated with subject at hand. So much extraneous material weighs heavily on the final text. If the reader is patient and has little else to do, this may the book, if he is also interested in chemistry.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book!, January 20, 2004
By A Customer
This is one of the best popular science books I have ever read, and the best chemistry book. Dr Schwarz explains numerous chemistry topics amidst a background of truly interesting stories. I recommend this book to everyone with any interest in science.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Facinating stories on everyday chemistry, March 1, 2006
By 
Peter M. Lum (Riverside, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Genie in the Bottle: 67 All-New Commentaries on the Fascinating Chemistry of Everyday Life (Paperback)
This is not a typical chemistry book. Dr. Schwarcz has several interesing stories such at the background of Thalidomide and the origin of the term "snake oil". About half the book is on food and health related topics. It's a fast read and should be interesting to anyone interested in science, health or history. The Dr. has his own radio show on science so the topics are designed to entertain a wide audience. The commentaries are short and make sense in any order. I liked is so much I'm planning on reading one of Dr. Schwarcz's other collections of commentaries.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Chemistry made entertaining and interesting for the masses, March 12, 2009
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This review is from: The Genie in the Bottle: 67 All-New Commentaries on the Fascinating Chemistry of Everyday Life (Paperback)
This is a fun little book that is exactly what the sub-heading on the book says it is: 67 commentaries on the fascinating chemistry of everyday life. I work as a chemist and I did enjoy reading this book.

The book is broken up into 5 main sections. There is a section on Health Matters, Food Matters, Chemistry Everywhere, learning from the past, and Silly stories. The Health Matters and Food Matters are the most organized sections of the book. The mini-stories in the these two sections deal exclusively with health or food. Each section had a collection of short anecdotes. The anecdotes average at 3-4 pages per length with some being shorter and a few being significantly longer.

This book is definitely geared more toward the average joe than to a chemist. That being said, there is enough chemistry addressed to interest your everyday chemist too. I was a bit disappointed that I had heard a lot of these stories before; they are things I've read about in headlines or just have general knowledge of. But for everything I had heard of there were two things I hadn't heard about.

There is a lot of fun miscellaneous information in this book. Depending on how much of that you want to retain this book could be a quick or a slow read. I personally had trouble reading large portions of it at once because it was just so much information to assimilate. Especially in the later sections the anecdotes tend to jump around willy, nilly. You may be reading about how Hydrogen was discovered then, in the next anecdote, you are reading about Silly Putty. I found that I enjoyed the book (and remembered all the fun facts) the best when I read a few anecdotes a day.

The writing style is done very well. There is a lot of tongue-in-cheek humor and there are a lot of cleverly worded passages. This is a chemistry book that will amuse and interest everyone. I personally applaud it for bringing chemistry to the masses. Chemistry is awesome and interesting; and it is wonderful that Schwarcz can make it interesting for everyone. I plan on checking out his additional collections of chemistry anecdotes in the future.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars For fun and useful information you can't beat Dr. Joe Schwarcz, October 23, 2005
If you would like to know what the things around you are made of, read Joe Schwarcz' entertaining books. He warns you of real hazards and make you laugh at our silly notions about every day things we all take for granted. Great for your junior high student. They might become scientists or engineers!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Genie, October 17, 2012
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This was by far an excellent price and service provided.
My book arrived without any incidents like they expressed it would.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read!, July 8, 2012
By 
Katy (REXBURG, ID, US) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Genie in the Bottle: 67 All-New Commentaries on the Fascinating Chemistry of Everyday Life (Paperback)
In this book Schwarcz does an amazing job at taking a very confusing subject (chemistry) and making it entertaining and easy to understand. I was genuinely surprised to find myself caught up in each section as he explains how chemistry has a key role in history and our daily lives.
It's a quick read that is broken up into five different sections: Health Matters, Chemistry Everywhere, Learning from the Past, and Silly Stories. Each section has short stories about various topics, making it easy to just pick it up and read a section or two. Some of the topics he went over are:
1. The invention of Silly Putty and how it started out as an accident
2. The start of washing hands for surgery and how the man who came up with it was shunned from the medical community for implying that doctors weren't clean.
3. The history of the man that gave us the names of the elements we know today and how his arrogance led to him losing his head.
These are just a few things covered in the book and everything is well balanced with an explanation and a bit of humor as well.
I have limited knowledge of chemistry but there was nothing mentioned in this book that left me confused. He does a great job at putting things into layman's terms so that people will be able to look past the fact that it is about chemistry and focus on learning and being entertained. I would highly recommend this book to anyone that want's to learn more about a subject that can sometimes be a bit dry and hard to follow.
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The Genie in the Bottle: 67 All-New Commentaries on the Fascinating Chemistry of Everyday Life
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