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The New Way Things Work
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Product Description

"Is it a fact--or have I dreamt it--that, by means of electricity, the world of matter has become a great nerve, vibrating thousands of miles in a breathless point of time?" If you, like Nathaniel Hawthorne, are kept up at night wondering about how things work--from electricity to can openers--then you and your favorite kids shouldn't be a moment longer without David Macaulay's The New Way Things Work. The award-winning author-illustrator--a former architect and junior high school teacher--is perfectly poised to be the Great Explainer of the whirrings and whizzings of the world of machines, a talent that landed the 1988 version of The Way Things Work on the New York Times bestsellers list for 50 weeks. Grouping machines together by the principles that govern their actions rather than by their uses, Macaulay helps us understand in a heavily visual, humorous, unerringly precise way what gadgets such as a toilet, a carburetor, and a fire extinguisher have in common.

The New Way Things Work boasts a richly illustrated 80-page section that wrenches us all (including the curious, bumbling wooly mammoth who ambles along with the reader) into the digital age of modems, digital cameras, compact disks, bits, and bytes. Readers can glory in gears in "The Mechanics of Movement," investigate flying in "Harnessing the Elements," demystify the sound of music in "Working with Waves," marvel at magnetism in "Electricity & Automation," and examine e-mail in "The Digital Domain." An illustrated survey of significant inventions closes the book, along with a glossary of technical terms, and an index. What possible link could there be between zippers and plows, dentist drills and windmills? Parking meters and meat grinders, jumbo jets and jackhammers, remote control and rockets, electric guitars and egg beaters? Macaulay demystifies them all. (All ages) --Karin Snelson



The information age is upon us, baffling us with thousands of complicated state-of-the-art technologies. To help make sense of the computer age, David Macaulay brings us The New Way Things Work. This completely updated and expanded edition describes twelve new machines and includes more than seventy new pages detailing the latest innovations. With an entirely new section that guides us through the complicated world of digital machinery, where masses of electronic information can be squeezed onto a single tiny microchip, this revised edition embraces all of the newest developments, from cars to watches. Each scientific principle is brilliantly explained--with the help of a charming, if rather slow-witted, woolly mammoth.

Customer Reviews:

  • Very interesting
    This book was soooo interesting and informative that I bought copies for members of my family. I love how Macaulay uses early man working the mammoths to illustrate.......more info
  • Amazing book indeed !!!
    Take one copy for your kid and one for yourself !!...more info
  • Book is awesome... and DVD is fantastic!
    Timeless classic dealing with scientific principles in a fun and humorous way. In addition to the book, I recently purchased the DVD (The Way Things Work) on Amazon.uk site for Christmas and found it to be superb. The quality of animation is excellent and makes these principles (inclined planes, levers, wheels/axels, gears, and so forth) come alive. Highly recommend both the book and the DVD.
    ...more info
  • Bathroom Library
    A special informative book on the workings of just about anything that needs explaining. Certainly for the curious. I still cannot figure out how to count binary even with the great explanations shown. I'll have to stick with the pictures that are very clear....more info
  • But this book
    My nephew, who is six, thanks me everytime he sees me or talks to me on the phone for sending this book. This is a great book for curious children to "grow into" with their parents. It also helps parents look very smart to their children if they read it first!...more info
  • Good damn mamooth!
    good book for the school kids,and surely good present for their birthdays.after reading this book,iam not able to just pass away small things,i just stop and wonder how it works.i just did't get one thing,like why does the aurthor liked the mamooth so much?...more info
  • The New Way Things Work
    I felt this site did a pretty nice job of shipping the book in a timely fashion. It came before the date it said it would arrive, though it still took quite a few days. The book was very inexpensive, especially compared to the thirty-five dollars my school was asking for it. It would in very nice condition. The only thing on it that was slightly worn was the book flap/wrapper/cover that is over the actual book. I would order from this site again, especially if the price was as low as it was for this book....more info
  • This book really tells you how things work!
    Do you think you know how a lot of things work? Yes? Well, you are probably wrong. I am a Physics Major in college and I thought I knew how a lot of things work. However, when I found this book in my physics professor's office, I fell in love with this book. I ordered for my copy on the same day. This book is good for the kids, but some of the stuff is hard to understand because there are some words like forces or angles. These are hard to understand for kids, but the pictures in this book are good for the curious kids. They may understand some of the stuff. But, I would rate this book for grownups. You will learn how locks work, how airplanes fly, how helicopters can go forward or backward. You will understand the mechanics just by looking at the pictures, but the reading the explanations also helps you understand. This is a nice book to keep at the corner of your bookshelf....more info
  • Tremendous effort - I loved it!
    Mr. Macauley is still teaching art! His book is as exciting as his art classes. I was one of those lucky students he taught in Jr. High! He's an inspiration....more info
  • Funny and fascinating
    Every page of this book is a delight! Follow the mammoth and his adventures in science. From learning about everyday machines to understanding the cyber world. Funny, witty and fascinating,no other books can top this!...more info
  • A GOOD BOOK!
    This was a great book I recommend it for every one...more info
  • About What You'd Expect
    Obviously the intent of this book was not to show you exactly how everything in the world works in a step-by-step manner, but rather to give you a general idea of the inner workings of many different and important inventions. The descriptive explanations for inventions are a bit overdone in some places while others are a little lacking, but overall I'd say you're told enough without being flooded in confusing details. Very well done. The friendly cartoons are a plus as well, and the "Eureka!" section at the end is an outstanding resource. Highly recommended for anybody with any mechanical curiousity whatsoever....more info
  • A forward outpost on the frontier of learning
    I bought this CD in the hope that it could help me teach my children science in general and physics in particular. I have a moderate understanding of how things work, but I am woefully undereducated in the scientific principles that underlie those workings. The New Way Things Work gives both: nuts-and-bolts explanations of things and succinct discussion of the underlying principles--and abundant links to go between the two.

    There are timelines of machines and their inventions, as well as their inventors. Each machine has a page with a clear picture with the working parts labeled, and sometimes a short animation to further clarify the machine's action. There is a testing feature which is useful, if a bit humbling. The "Research Answer" button posted tantalizingly right at the bottom of each test question is a spur to further research, though I worry about the ethical implications. Does that mammoth think I'm cheating? Does that guy with the mustache and mannerisms of Martin Mull keep track of how many times I "research" an answer, and does that go on my permanent record? Perhaps there should be an on/off toggle.

    The links on each machine page to the principles and inventors and vice versa may be where the CD has an advantage over a book, particularly for children. When I'm explaining something to my daughter and she doesn't understand part of the explanation, she wants that missing piece Right Now, and the hot links provide that immediacy. Paging to another part of a book and then loosing her original place frustrates her. That never happens with this CD, because she knows she can always hit the BACK button. It would be even better if there were a FORWARD button like on a browser, because children quickly understand this navigational technique and use it frequently. I notice they pick up and leave off and go back and forth and generally become more involved than with a book.

    I was disappointed that the Tele-Prompter was not one of the machines featured. Like others in the television audience in the 1980s, I gaped in wonder as politicians gave huge speeches to live audiences without glancing at their notes. I assumed the glass plates to the right and left of the speaker were security devices to block bullets and flying tomatoes. Also, it would be nice to know how a polygraph works, and whether the polygraph could be combined with a Tele-Prompter to make a more complete machine--what surveyors call a "total station".

    The timelines are also quite valuable. You feel better about your own limited understanding of practical things by contemplating such facts as the toilet tank being invented by a contemporary of Shakespeare. And frankly, I think that article could do with a little expansion: where did the flow of water go after it traveled from the newly invented tank of Elizabeth the First's godson? The street outside his window? The River Thames? I know that through my childhood and right up until the time I bought a house I believed that wastes were carried away in pipes in a method involving electricity.

    Ever since capsizing a sunfish in 1977, I've wondered how sailboats can be propelled by wind blowing from behind them, and by wind blowing directly into your face as you stand on the deck and gaze at your destination. New Way Things Work provides the answer. Another device it would be interesting to know about is carbon dating and the newer, more accurate (I'm told) argon-argon dating. I want to know the age of the rocks in my back yard. And why haven't we Americans been provided with small, affordable, personal flying devices yet? These and other questions naturally come up; like all good educational tools, this CD raises as many questions as it answers....more info