- Paperback: 272 pages
- Publisher: Black Swan; First Thus edition (21 Jun. 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0552778052
- ISBN-13: 978-0552778053
- Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1.7 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (295 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 7,467 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Magic of Reality: How we know what's really true Paperback – 21 Jun 2012
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"Dawkins has a gift for making science enjoyable ... [He is] one of the greatest scientific writers/explainers of all time." (Bill Gates)
"From the first sentence it reads with the force and fluency of a classic ... a luminous, authoritative prose that transcends age differences" (The Times)
"Stunning in appearance ... the book is a triumph" (New Scientist)
"The text is persuasive whatever one's age ... the chapter on rainbows has the clearest explanation of how they appear that I've ever seen" (Financial Times)
"I wanted to write this book but I wasn't clever enough. Now I've read it, I am" (Ricky Gervais)
An inspiring introduction to science and a fascinating exploration of the natural world.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
I read the 265 pages of this book within 24 hours of having received it, not through lack of content, rather because the content was so logical, amusing and beautifully illustrated. Award winning Dave McKean should take some credit here. The Dali-esque depictions of imaginary creatures from other planets were some of my favourites. Pictures aside, if I find a book dull, I fall to sleep very quickly. Despite being familiar with much of the content, I was riveted.
The format of each chapter deserves a mention.
1)Start with a popular misconception about how something was once thought to be explained.
2)Demonstrate the poverty of the myth's ability to generate new and real information.
3)Observe the peculiar, mythological attempt at logic, laugh hard
4)Proceed with the actual, testable and scientific explanation.
Where a question lies outside the boundaries of current understanding or Dawkins personal expertise, he is quick to point this out. Given the title of the book, I was pleased to see that no attempts were made to fudge answers (a standard I would expect), though at times I do suspect a little false modesty.
Being critical, I think a problem that a book like this must face is where to start, because the assumption of prior scientific knowledge would risk losing the target audience. Therefore, popular science aficionardos may find this slow to start. However, the apparently randomly ordered chapter subjects build well upon each other to reveal some of the most interesting content later on.Read more ›
The problem with the book is that it only sometimes achieves what its cover says it intends: to explain HOW we know what's really true. Dawkins has run up against the obstacle that confronts every science teacher at every level. Science has given us so huge and so deep an understanding of our planet and the universe that it is by now impossible to detail the evidence for everything we know to be true. The consequence is science teaching that is often decried as a "wall of facts". There is so much to be learned it allows little room for presentation of the people who made the discoveries and the evidence on which the discoveries were based.
Newton's laws of gravity, Darwin's theory of evolution and Einstein's theories of relativity retain the names of the people who assembled the evidence, but for most familiar scientific "facts" we no longer have any idea whose work and what evidence lay behind their discovery. It is therefore disappointing that a book that sets out to explain how we know what is real so often follows the wall of facts approach.Read more ›
It should be on the shelves in every household for so many reasons, but I can imagine for parents looking to educate their children in critical thinking then this would be perfect. I certainly would have liked a book like this to have been available in my younger years! I think particularly the structure of the book provides an excellent framework for the content, with each chapter asking one of the profound questions which we have all asked at some point. A must buy.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Richard Dawkins and his ex-wife Lalla Ward are a little too careful in their pronunciation on this audio CD but they make some sensible, rational points.Published 28 days ago by L. S. Robinson
Hard going for a 70-year old but I managed the book in a single sitting. The man is a genius.Published 2 months ago by Robert Oxford
Great book written by a clever guy. I have read some of Dawkins later books which are more hardcore so this was more gentle. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Ralph
This book makes the history indeed the existence of evolution easy to understand. It is entertaining and appeals to people who prefer a more realistic view of our existence and our... Read morePublished 4 months ago by A one off like me
An excellent book for bright teenagers and adults. Shows the reader how to differentiate between truth and nonsense. Read morePublished 6 months ago by L. Brown