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How to Invent Everything: A Survival Guide…

How to Invent Everything: A Survival Guide for the Stranded Time Traveler (edition 2018)

by Ryan North (Author), Lucy Bellwood (Illustrator), Lucia Bernard (Designer)

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235577,608 (4.14)2
"What would you do if you had a time machine that took you hundreds or thousands of years into the past . . . and then broke? How would you survive? Could you improve on civilization's original timeline? And how hard would it be to domesticate a giant wombat? In How to Invent Everything, bestselling author and time-travel enthusiast Ryan North answers all these questions so you don't have to. This guide contains all the science, engineering, mathematics, art, music, philosophy, facts, and figures required for even the most clueless stranded time traveler to build a civilization from the ground up. It will be one in which humanity matured quickly and efficiently, instead of spending 200,000 years stumbling around in the dark without language, not knowing that tying a rock to a string would unlock navigating the entire world, and thinking disease was caused by weird smells"--… (more)
Title:How to Invent Everything: A Survival Guide for the Stranded Time Traveler
Authors:Ryan North (Author)
Other authors:Lucy Bellwood (Illustrator), Lucia Bernard (Designer)
Info:Riverhead Books (2018), Edition: First Edition, First Printing, 464 pages
Tags:canadian, 21c, creative nonfiction, humor, technology, science, survival, time travel, Ryan North, signed, history, civilization

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How to Invent Everything: A Survival Guide for the Stranded Time Traveler by Ryan North



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If you find yourself somewhere in time with absolutely nothing, then wouldn’t it be great if you had the wits and wherewithal to make something? Or everything? Maybe you’ve time-traveled to the earliest era of anatomically modern humans. Or maybe you find yourself in a post-apocalyptic no-man’s-land. Or maybe you are just stuck out in the woods, or on a sofa with too much time on your hands. Then this book is probably going to be a big help. It not only has (admittedly minimal) instructions on how to build lots of useful stuff, but it also informs you as to why you might want or need that stuff and, more important, what stuff you might need to build in order to be able to build this stuff. That’s good stuff.

Although this is a silly book that is mostly just fun, it may get you thinking about a couple of things. For example, it got me thinking that it would actually be a really good idea if we, collectively, stored our knowledge about stuff in places and on media that will be accessible if everything goes south. Just in case. It also makes you think about how so many things are connected to other things. And how inventing one thing may or may not impact the potential development of other things. And the potential ramifications of that on a society. This is not something Ryan North is particularly interested in. He’s mostly just about the funny. But what does it say about his view of the world when he presents technologies as developing in tree diagrams, where one thing leads to another, practically inevitably? Is he implying that our present technological and social state is inevitable? Wouldn’t that be an odd discovery? Doesn’t it sound more like what you’d expect from a, somewhat limited, computer game?

Yes, well…

Despite its drawbacks this book does what it sets out to do — it’s moderately fun for geeky guys who don’t really know stuff but wish they did (i.e. probably not so interesting for engineers). And it might accidentally provoke some more serious thought about our species’ interaction and dependence on technology. And that might be more useful for the stranded time traveler than the rest of what is contained herein.

Gently recommended. ( )
  RandyMetcalfe | Oct 24, 2019 |
Clever idea for an instruction manual, but it's probably better as a handy reference guide than a book you'd read right through to the end. ( )
  jasoncomely | May 2, 2019 |
Very informative book, that is at the same time quite funny: tough combo, but extremely well done! ( )
  Guide2 | Mar 21, 2019 |
This is a cute idea, but it wears thin fast. There also isn't enough information given to really make the things suggested. ( )
  MarthaJeanne | Feb 5, 2019 |
A pretty remarkable achievement for its scope and ability to deliver potentially dry, boring information in an entertaining fashion. Seriously, this was quite an undertaking for an author and Ryan North _killed it_. ( )
  laze | Dec 20, 2018 |
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Those who cannot remember the past are condemned  to repeat it.
—George Santayana, philosopher, essayist, and poet
1905 CE
Those who cannot remember the past are cordially invited to revisit it.
—Jessica Bennett, CEO of Chronotix Solutions, proud manufacturers of the FC3000(tm)
2043 CE
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I didn’t write this book. I found it. It was wholly encased in bedrock , and I know that because I was the one who broke that heavy granulite stone open.
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