The Way Things Work

The Way Things Work

By: David Macaulay
With technical text written by : Neil Ardley
Published by: Houghton Mifflin Company
Publication Date: 1988

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Did you know that the principle behind the zipper also governed the building of the pyramids?  Did you know that the dentist's drill is a direct descendant of the first windmill?  Do you know that links a car tire and a parachute, or a wheelbarrow and a bottle opener?

These are some of the fascinating connections made by David Macaulay in this brilliant, original and yet highly accessible guide to the workings of machines.  employing all the skills of imagination and draftsmanship that have brought him a prize-winning international reputation with such titles as Cathedral, City, Pyramid and Castle, David Macaulay has now created an outstanding book for anyone who wants to understand how things work and would like to be stimulated and entertained in the process.  This is no mere catalogue of cutaway diagrams.  It is a remarkable overview of technology and of all the key inventions that shape our lives today, infused with the author's personality, humor, and his unique gift for bringing potentially difficult concepts into the context of everyday life.

David Macaulay not only demonstrates how machines do what they do—from the simplest lever to the most sophisticated computer—he also shows how the concept behind one invention is linked to the concept behind another.  Using the humorous analogy of a woolly mammoth to illustrate principles, he offers even the least mechanically minded reader a window of understanding into the complexities of today's technology. 

The Way Things Work is arranged in four sections.  Together they provide comprehensive coverage of the workings of hundreds of machines and devices—holograms, hang gliders, airliners, telephones, parking meters, robots, televisions, can openers, compact discs.  They also provide explanations of the scientific principles behind each machine—how gears make work easier, why jumbo jets are able to fly, what the computer actually does.

The Way Things Work has been written for readers of all ages.  It has been conceived especially for those who find technology intimidating and who wish it were less so.  For them, David Macaulay's beguiling treatment of the subject offers access to knowledge in the most captivating manner and, at the same moment, makes the discovery seem like fun.

From the dust jacket

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