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The Sizesaurus: From Hectares to Decibels to Calories, a Witty Compendium of Measurements Hardcover – September, 1995

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Editorial Reviews Review

A fun book about the measurements by which we define the world. Strauss is especially good when he tackles such issues as "What would Santa Clause have to do to deliver all his presents in one night", and in his "Measuring Macropedia" occupying the last half of the book, in which he provides nice graphical and tabular comparisons of the most frequently encountered for units of measurement. I suspect a better book could be written about the topic, but it appears to be the best such book in print at this time (early 1997). Recommended.


The world of measuring and measurement is covered in an excellent blend of math savvy and scientific insight. This examines how different measures are used and how people are challenged to understand how measurement affects lives. From measuring kinetic energy in sports to Richter's development of an earthquake measuring scale, this is filled with intriguing discussions and insights. -- Midwest Book Review

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Kodansha Amer Inc; First Edition edition (September 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1568361106
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568361109
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 7.5 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,278,856 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By AH-SAN WONG on July 5, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This is a fun book to read, and must have been a fun book to write. There are two parts in the book. Part I consists of 14 interesting essays, answering the questions such as: What would Santa Claus have to do to deliver all his presents in one night? Which celestial body is equal in volume to 54,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 Big Macs? How loud must a noise be to have lethal effects? How hot would Hell be and how cold would Hell have to be before it froze over? What is the amount of air pressure required to burst a condom? Part II defines and explains all sorts of common and uncommon measures and scales, with lots of tables, illustrations and interesting examples.
My favorite essay is: How many jumping Chinese does it take to start an earthquake?
This book gives the readers a new understanding of all the measures and scales, in a very witty way. That's all I have to say about this book.
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