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How Stuff Works by Marshall Brain
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How Stuff Works

by Marshall Brain

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How Stuff Works is a very informative guide about how ordinary, everyday things work. If you've ever wondered about how airplanes, anti-lock breaks, atomic clocks, or computer keyboards work, you'd probably enjoy this book. And even if you haven't wondered about those things, you might still find something interesting to learn about in this book. The everyday items are sorted into eleven chapters. Marshall Brain writes about traditional mechanical and technology items like planes and email, but he also writes about chocolate, tattoos, viruses, liquid motion lamps, and glow-in-the-dark stuff. These descriptions are mostly text-based, but there are pictures and/or diagrams on every page. This book is appropriate for middle and high school students, students who have a very specialized interest in certain technologies, and students who are generally curious about how objects work. ( )
  landism | Dec 10, 2011 |
This is pretty much exactly what the title leads you to expect: a book full of short (1-4 page) explanations of how things work. Mostly it concentrates on various kinds of technology, from roller coasters to cell phones, but it also includes some examples from the natural world, including atoms and viruses. The explanations are generally pretty basic, although sometimes they include odd technical details, and are presented in very clear, plain language, accompanied by colorful illustrations. Clear, plain, and basic doesn't necessarily mean "dumbed down," though; the writers are even willing to throw in some simple equations or chemical formulae if the topic seems to call for it.

Some of the entries are definitely more interesting and accessible than others; I'll admit that my eyes glazed over a bit during the discussions of automotive systems, although that's probably more the fault of my own immense mechanical ineptitude than anything else. But the best of them provoke a pleasant "Hey, neat, I never thought about how that works before!" reaction and/or provide a nice little basic science lesson. Overall, it leaves me feeling slightly in awe of just how much technology we take for granted every day, and how much incredible cleverness has gone into it all.

The book was published in 2001, so it is somewhat dated now, especially the computer sections. It's at least a little less so than I'd expected, though, as it does make a point of talking about what were then the current up-and-coming technologies. Still, if it were published today, I kind of doubt they'd bother explaining serial ports and dial-up modems.

Also, while I more or less read the entire thing through, I don't really recommend that approach. It's one of those books that's probably a lot more fun to pick up, browse through, and just read about whatever topic catches your interest. ( )
2 vote bragan | Feb 14, 2011 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0764565184, Hardcover)

Marshall Brain's How Stuff Works is a lavish, full-color, highly visual resource for those with hungry minds who crave an understanding of the way things work around them-from submarine ships to digital technology to toilets!
With over 1,000 full-color illustrations and photos showing step-by-step images of how stuff works, these easy-to-understand explanations cover the most popular and interesting subject areas, including Technology, Science, Health, Fitness, Transportation, and more! Sample topics include: How CDs Work, How Car Engines Work, and How Nuclear Radiation and Power Work.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:20 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

From the award-winning Web site visited by more than 2.5 million people every month comes How Stuff Works, the definitive guide to the inner workings of everyday items. In this fun and infinitely informative guide, Marshall Brain and staff of "stuff" experts at How Stuff Works, Inc. unravel the mysteries of more than 135 intriguing topics. You'll be fascinated by the world around you! In Marshall Brain's trademark easy-to-understand language, complemented by beautiful full-color illustrations, you'll discover the basic mechanisms behind everything from toasters to turbochargers, dieting to DVD players, and cell phones to submarines. Technology and scientific principles are all around you: whether in the chips needed to execute commands on your computer, or in determining how many calories you need to burn in order to lose five pounds. This exciting book explains-in a way you can easily grasp-how technology is a part of everyday life. How Stuff Works contains: More than 135 articles written in Marshall Brain's award-winning style Hundreds of original color drawings that illuminate the incisive text "Cool Facts," "Did You Know?," and "And Another Thing..." sidebars that give you extra, insider information Color photographs No matter what your age, if you're intrigued by how stuff works, you won't be able to put down How Stuff Works! Marshall Brain's How Stuff Works is a lavish, full-color, highly visual resource for those with hungry minds who crave an understanding of the way things work around them-from submarine ships to digital technology to toilets! With over 1,000 full-color illustrations and photos showing step-by-step images of how stuff works, these easy-to-understand explanations cover the most popular and interesting subject areas, including Technology, Science, Health, Fitness, Transportation, and more! Sample topics include: How CDs Work, How Car Engines Work, and How Nuclear Radiation and Power Work.… (more)

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