- Hardcover: 272 pages
- Publisher: Free Press; First Edition edition (October 4, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1439192812
- ISBN-13: 978-1439192818
- Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 1.1 x 9.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 889 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #351,971 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Magic of Reality: How We Know What's Really True Hardcover – October 4, 2011
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"I wanted to write this book but I wasn't clever enough. Now I've read it, I am"
“Exhilarating. The clearest and most beautifully written introduction to science I've ever read. Again and again I found myself saying "Oh! So that's how genes work!" (or stars, or tectonic plates, or all the other things he explains). Explanations I thought I knew were clarified; things I never understood were made clear for the first time. My favourite adjective of praise has always been "clear", and this book has clarity all the way through.”
—Philip Pullman, author of The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ and the His Dark Materials trilogy
“I am often asked to recommend good books on science for young people. From now on, I will not have to hesitate. The Magic of Reality provides a beautiful, accessible and wide ranging volume that addresses the questions that all of us have about the universe, separating often too-little known facts from too-frequently believed fictions. For this reason it should be a powerful resource for people of all ages, written with the masterful and eloquently literate style of perhaps the best popular expositor of science, Richard Dawkins, and delightfully illustrated by Dave McKean. What more could anyone ask for?”
—Lawrence Krauss is Foundation Professor and Director of the Origins Project at Arizona State University and the author most recently of Quantum Man, and A Universe from Nothing
About the Author
Richard Dawkins is a Fellow of the Royal Society and was the inaugural holder of the Charles Simonyi Chair of Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University. He is the acclaimed author of many books including The Selfish Gene, Climbing Mount Improbable, Unweaving the Rainbow, The Ancestor’s Tale, The God Delusion, and The Greatest Show on Earth. Visit him at RichardDawkins.net.
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Second, to those complaining about (or defending the virtue of) the book's apparent simplicity, stop pretending you aren't a layman. Isn't everyone else as sick as me of the endless complaints of books which they claim "dumb down" scientific subjects, as if the average Amazon reader in the market for scientific broadening is a trolling world-class scientist? We all know REAL scientists don't have time to review books on Amazon! Quit trying in vain to show off here.
Just review the effing book...and keep it real!
Here's mine: This is one of my favorite Richard Dawkins books. He may be aiming for children in the way the information is presented. But, I think most people (the average adult-like me) is not scientifically brilliant. We can quote basic facts about science, which we are most likely regurgitating anyway-not truly understanding. Dawkins gives simple, yet clear explanations for many scientific truths that escape me. He brings me closer to a clearer understanding of the world around me.
Aiming for children or not, this book will educate anyone who's highest level of science education was in an American high school 20 years ago, despite their viewing of countless Attenborough narrated documentaries.
Many of us think we understand evolution. Nonsense. Most people who say they understand it, have nothing more than a confused idea of it. For those people (of which I am one) you will find the section entitled, "Who was the first person?" a really great place to start. Having a firm grasp of the basic idea of evolution is the first step. Get that before you move on to weightier concepts. Most people have HEARD of evolution, fewer people actually study it.
This book will inspire children to ask deeper and more profound questions about the things they don't yet understand. Parents will fill in some of the many gaps in their own scientific shortcomings...so hopefully they will be able to have discussions with their children about science. It's either that, or look ignorant in front of your children as their knowledge surpasses yours by age fifteen. In fact, this should be a great book to read WITH your child. I am really looking forward to sharing it with my four-year-old in a few years.
Or, you could skip this one and pick up another volume of "biblical stories for children" such as Noah's Ark, or The Garden of Eden. What kind of parent will you be?
I borrowed the hard cover version from a local library, and it is fantastic. One of the good features about the hard cover version are the pictures. The paper back version I bought here has none of the pictures. My daughter (12 yo) liked the hard cover book, but only got half way through it. I bought the paperback to let her finish at her leisure. However, without the pictures the material is a much less interesting source of information. Don't bother trying to save money and shelf space. The paper back version is not the same as the hard cover in much more critical ways than those.
I have worked in science and engineering for more than 60 years. The examples in the book were good. Perhaps a little too much 'talking down' to the readers, even if that was not the intention.
Some facts about geology that raised a niggling doubt about proof reading and editing. Los Angeles is not on the San Andreas Fault and the Lithosphere is much more than a few miles thick.
It does not try to make conversation with creationists, and does not do a good job in showign how their arguments are flaw, (there are much better texts for that), But it does show examples of many myths related to various natural phenomena, in contrast to what science have found.