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The New Way Things Work

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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 t 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.


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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 t 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.

30 review for The New Way Things Work

  1. 4 out of 5

    Burt

    My parents got me this book when I was a kid for Christmas. I still have it on my shelf, and it's still actually a really good, really informative reference book. Like any other David Macaulay book, it's fully illustrated (another Caldecott winner I believe) and fun to just look at. The texts read fairly clearly as well, and it outlines everything from the simple tools (wedges, inlined planes, levers, and wheels) to the insanely complex (Solid rocket boosters for the space shuttle and nuclear po My parents got me this book when I was a kid for Christmas. I still have it on my shelf, and it's still actually a really good, really informative reference book. Like any other David Macaulay book, it's fully illustrated (another Caldecott winner I believe) and fun to just look at. The texts read fairly clearly as well, and it outlines everything from the simple tools (wedges, inlined planes, levers, and wheels) to the insanely complex (Solid rocket boosters for the space shuttle and nuclear power plants).

  2. 5 out of 5

    Amar Pai

    The drawings are too messy. It's nice that this book is organized by principle of operation (lever, pulley, etc.) rather than function. But the illustrations don't really illustrate things very well-- especially for machines where you need to visualize all 3 dimensions. Whatever happened to electronic paper? This book would be awesome if the diagrams were all animated. Sure you could go to a web site, but resolution/portability are so much better with a real book. You can't read the internet in t The drawings are too messy. It's nice that this book is organized by principle of operation (lever, pulley, etc.) rather than function. But the illustrations don't really illustrate things very well-- especially for machines where you need to visualize all 3 dimensions. Whatever happened to electronic paper? This book would be awesome if the diagrams were all animated. Sure you could go to a web site, but resolution/portability are so much better with a real book. You can't read the internet in the bath. I hope someday another version of this comes out that has holograms and e-paper. And lasers.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ramu Vairavan

    I cannot recommend this book more for readers (of all ages) who are interested in the science behind machines. If technology and machines are not your definition of fun, you might just discover a new interest after reading this. Usually, books that explore how things work are intense and the reader is at risk of information overload. In this book though, a parallel theme featuring comical adventures of woolly mammoths helps to (ironically) lighten the weight of information. Besides the endearing I cannot recommend this book more for readers (of all ages) who are interested in the science behind machines. If technology and machines are not your definition of fun, you might just discover a new interest after reading this. Usually, books that explore how things work are intense and the reader is at risk of information overload. In this book though, a parallel theme featuring comical adventures of woolly mammoths helps to (ironically) lighten the weight of information. Besides the endearing bygone creatures, I liked the mechanics portion best. Many of the machines here are commonplace, but the approach with which they are presented is thoroughly refreshing. The illustrations by David Macaulay are amazing – the very opposite of engineering drawings. I wish I had seen this book when I was a child, which no doubt would have kindled an interest in science and engineering early.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn Page

    Perfect for the budding engineer, or even if you're just curious. Everything from levers and gears to how zippers work to hydrofoils, nuclear power and technology in outer space. This is a nice thick book and is almost a graphic in how many illustrations it has. Sure some of the computer and space technology they cover may be outdated now, but because the book is mostly principle-based, working everything back to the basic components, it's still useful. Perfect for the budding engineer, or even if you're just curious. Everything from levers and gears to how zippers work to hydrofoils, nuclear power and technology in outer space. This is a nice thick book and is almost a graphic in how many illustrations it has. Sure some of the computer and space technology they cover may be outdated now, but because the book is mostly principle-based, working everything back to the basic components, it's still useful.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Linds

    This book has a lot of good information, and, for the most part, the explanations are decently and concisely done. This was a big undertaking, and the end result is... okay. I feel like it's a near miss for what it could have been. One primary issue was the choice of illustrations. In many circumstances (zippers, inclined planes, etc.) the quasi-cartoony drawings don't matter. But because the book kept with that theme, once it started to get into describing engines and more complicated mechanics, This book has a lot of good information, and, for the most part, the explanations are decently and concisely done. This was a big undertaking, and the end result is... okay. I feel like it's a near miss for what it could have been. One primary issue was the choice of illustrations. In many circumstances (zippers, inclined planes, etc.) the quasi-cartoony drawings don't matter. But because the book kept with that theme, once it started to get into describing engines and more complicated mechanics, I didn't think the drawings really cut it. If you're introducing this to someone for presumably the first time, more realistic drawings or, gosh, even a picture, would have REALLY helped get some ideas across. Also, "thematically", ideas didn't go for more than two pages. So I was quite surprised by how short some of the explanations were. I get that is aimed at children, but I did think some of the explanations needed a bit more. I used to review engineering topics in schools, and the steps were a little easier to tackle. For example, the binary details. The book has a narrative use of mammoths throughout. The mammoth is struggling, with various issues, and inventions help him along. (I think this could help keep interest for those less interested in the topics. For those who are more technically-minded and in it for just the info, these sections becoming annoying things to skip.) The author uses his mammoth narrative and a fictional pumpkin patch to try and draw an analogy to how binary works, and that's the introduction. He says there are two digits, and then goes to explain the on-off basis of computers. I thought the mammoth/pumpkin patch mess was an awful attempt at shortening a binary explanation, and he would have been much better served to take an extra paragraph and just cleanly lay out the traditional power of 2s -for those who want to understand. There were dozens of instances where I couldn't see what age this book was aiming at. I also didn't understand why the author seemed completely gung-ho against equations of any kind. Again, I guess that was the theme. But there are lots of connections where a clean little equation REALLY makes the idea, and those were left completely out. And they belong! For people like myself, those help a bunch. I had the older version of this book as a child, and I never took to it. I went on to major in Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering, so it wasn't the subjects. Now that I look back as this an adult, I can see why it didn't suit me. This isn't quite right for the young who are really keen on the topics. Speaking of which... A few quotes: "The principle of conversation of energy holds good and all machines obey. Or nearly all. Nuclear machines are an exception." And then: "A nuclear reaction in fact creates energy; it does not convert one form of energy into another." Magic! The author does later mention mass to energy, briefly (and not to my satisfaction). And of course we can't have the E=mc^2 equation; that'd be sacrilege. But to put the first quote in your introduction, and then include the second quote your blurb out nuclear energy makes it sound like reactors are breaking Newton's laws, and that mass and energy aren't also in a closed system... that's converting energy. There's more minor things that I just have to mention. Before discussing reactors, the book mentions fission is specific to either uranium or plutonium, and fusion by hydrogen. Really, the process should be explained, because it's misleading to think it's limited to those elements without explaining why those elements are used. Nitpicky, perhaps, but this is my wheelhouse. Then, there's this gem, when describing nuclear fusion, "Radiation is not emitted." Blinks. (To be fair, the author does mention neutrons, and I know not everyone counts that as radiation. Regardless.) He had just described the gamma radiation from fission, so I'm assuming the author was on the same kick. But to say no radiation is emitted from fusion reactions?? Wow. That is bold. (Shush, alpha and beta! Nobody cares about you! Be scarier!) And are ya reallllly sure there aren't any gamma rays in fusion? I'm stunned. I feel bad for being caught up on those few pages in a 400 page book. But I can't get over it. If I feel misled in areas where my knowledge is strong, then I start to be wary of the other information. I knew a lot of it, but not all. Suddenly I don't trust you, Mr. Macaulay. Anyway. Back to my first thoughts. It's decent. Not great. If someone wants a general overview, this would be okay. If a young'n has a sincere interest in engineering, I would look elsewhere.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Joseph Burk

    This is a neat book explaining all that high and "techy" stuff which can be so hard to comprehend---until now. The Author and Illustrator, David Macaulay, really did a great job on this. It seems as if it's a long book (400 pgs.) but there so many illustrations it actually isn't too lengthy, and trust me, even if you're like me and aren't "techy", this book is not boring at all. Very enjoyable and a great way to introduce children to the Way Things Work! This is a neat book explaining all that high and "techy" stuff which can be so hard to comprehend---until now. The Author and Illustrator, David Macaulay, really did a great job on this. It seems as if it's a long book (400 pgs.) but there so many illustrations it actually isn't too lengthy, and trust me, even if you're like me and aren't "techy", this book is not boring at all. Very enjoyable and a great way to introduce children to the Way Things Work!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jackson Keller

    The new way things work is a great nonfiction book, specializing in, you guessed it, the way things work. It grants great information about everything ranging from pulleys and levers to musical instruments to computers. It specializes in mechanical things, like locks, pulleys, and ramps. it also shows the inner working of how computers save and output bits, in a tangible and humorous way. This book by David Macaulay appeals to all ages by adding in sections explaining things with mammoths(it wil The new way things work is a great nonfiction book, specializing in, you guessed it, the way things work. It grants great information about everything ranging from pulleys and levers to musical instruments to computers. It specializes in mechanical things, like locks, pulleys, and ramps. it also shows the inner working of how computers save and output bits, in a tangible and humorous way. This book by David Macaulay appeals to all ages by adding in sections explaining things with mammoths(it will make more sense if you read the book.). this adds humor to keep smaller kids interested while helping older youth to understand simple mechanical machines using simple and precise drawings to portray what the machines do and how. Overall, I suggest this book to anyone older than 4 and younger than 15.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    This is a great reference book. I enjoyed how the concepts were organized and built upon each other. The mammoth mascot is so cute! The age of the Internet and its wealth of frequently updated information may make books like these somewhat out of date. Still, I recommend this resource to teachers looking to stock their classrooms, school and public libraries, and young readers interested in mechanical topics.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Carson Ford

    Covering everything from the wheel to nuclear fission, this book gives descriptive yet concise summaries of how things work. Instead of organizing inventions chronologically or by complexity, the book is divided based on the components used in an item; for instance, the plow and the zipper are grouped together as they both employ wedges. The illustrations may be my favorite part of the book as they clearly depict even the most intricate devices with small touches of humor scattered throughout.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    I got this book at a young age and couldn't get through more than 20 pages. I continued to try to read it until I finished many years later. It's still on my shelf next to some dismantled electronics and a PhD diploma in engineering. It would be a huge overstep to draw a link there; however, I do think that The (New) Way Things Work can inspire a deeper interest in human-made objects – from, "I wonder how many radio waves are going through me now," to, "hm, stairs were a good idea." I got this book at a young age and couldn't get through more than 20 pages. I continued to try to read it until I finished many years later. It's still on my shelf next to some dismantled electronics and a PhD diploma in engineering. It would be a huge overstep to draw a link there; however, I do think that The (New) Way Things Work can inspire a deeper interest in human-made objects – from, "I wonder how many radio waves are going through me now," to, "hm, stairs were a good idea."

  11. 4 out of 5

    Julia B.

    I read this book recently, and it was pretty good. I learned a lot about how things work, in a fun way. The illustrations are good, and they teach stuff in a fun way. The drawings with mammoths and the simple machines made me laugh, and the long reading sections were interesting to read as they were partly fictional.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Mandabplus3

    The most complete beginners guide to physics used in everyday life that is accessible and entertaining enough to read as a bedtime story for primary age kids. Not too basic for middle years- a thorough course with excellent pictures for concepts.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ethan Hulbert

    The mammoths make this book at first. But really, the amazingly simple yet thorough explanations on how everything around us works truly make the book. It's so fun you don't even realize how much you're really learning. My favorite part is Bill's gates. The mammoths make this book at first. But really, the amazingly simple yet thorough explanations on how everything around us works truly make the book. It's so fun you don't even realize how much you're really learning. My favorite part is Bill's gates.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jaclyn_E2

    This book is a very helpful guild to many of my questions and many science projects. It has detailed illustrations and is surprisingly interesting. The new way things work explains a lot of things about our daily lives and is very informative.

  15. 4 out of 5

    James

    Great book. Describes many basic items we have in our life and explains how they work. Helpful and good to know

  16. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    Really interesting.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Rena Hua

    Fuuny book, explains well easy to understand. I like the wolly mammoth.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Bryce Decker

    This book explains exactly how things work. It's perfect for future engineers or kids with all the questions. This book explains exactly how things work. It's perfect for future engineers or kids with all the questions.

  19. 5 out of 5

    BookWizard

    Some times hard understand but good illustrations

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kitty Feugate

    This book makes me sad because I don't like when cats are shown getting hurt. 😭 This book makes me sad because I don't like when cats are shown getting hurt. 😭

  21. 4 out of 5

    Darinda

    Lots of information. I like how illustrations accompany the text to help explain how things work. Great for kids wanting to know about science and engineering. Contents: Part 1 - The Mechanics of Movement Part 2 - Harnessing the Elements Part 3 - Working with Waves Part 4 - Electricity & Automation Part 5 - The Digital Domain

  22. 5 out of 5

    Henry

    The New Way Things Work by David Macaulay is a fascinating and detailed nonfiction book about all sorts of machines. It has brilliant pictures. I think everyone should read it who wants to learn about machines. I gave it five stars.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    This book is THE COOLEST. Good for children or adults or literally anyone (including woolly mammoths.) Also there is a NEW new one out? It's probably amazing too. This book is THE COOLEST. Good for children or adults or literally anyone (including woolly mammoths.) Also there is a NEW new one out? It's probably amazing too.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Noah

    You can learn a lot of really cool things from non-fiction books. Non-fiction is fact based and should be unbiased but isn’t always. It could include cross section books, true stories, informational books or how to’s. The subjects could be historical events, science, geography and culture or interesting facts. Do you know how a photocopier works? The New Way Things Work, by David Macaulay is about going behind the scenes of very simple to very complex mechanics and science. The book is about how You can learn a lot of really cool things from non-fiction books. Non-fiction is fact based and should be unbiased but isn’t always. It could include cross section books, true stories, informational books or how to’s. The subjects could be historical events, science, geography and culture or interesting facts. Do you know how a photocopier works? The New Way Things Work, by David Macaulay is about going behind the scenes of very simple to very complex mechanics and science. The book is about how man-made things function. It also shows how corporations and big industries work. Some of the things it talks about are photocopiers, an atom bomb, a supermarket and a computer along with many other things. The New Way Things Work has different sections or categories and in each category there are different mechanics and objects on each page. The New Way Things Work is an illustrated cross section book with diagrams and graphics. The book has a table of contents that leads to the beginning of each section and a glossary/ index and technical terms at the end. Mammoths make an appearance in almost every diagram which adds humor to the text. I think that The New Way Things Work is set up in a really good way because you can read certain parts without having to read everything. It is not a storybook. You can read one thing of the book, if you want and you would not miss anything else, except for how other things work. When I was reading The New Way Things Work, I learned a lot of really cool things, like how a photocopier works, and therefore, I think it is interesting to read. I think that David Macaulay knows a lot about how machines, science, and systems work, because he put a lot of things in it. In my opinion, the author is not biased because he states true facts and the book is not opinionated. I especially liked learning how an atom bomb works, or how a supermarket works logistically. I think that David Macaulay did a great job writing this book because the illustrations were accurate and the facts were true. I, as a reader like to read non fiction and this book was really good compared to the other books I have read. If you like to find out how something works and like reading non fiction, The New Way Things Work is the book for you. I would rate this book 5 out of 5 mammoths.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Rowan Stewart

    The New Way Things Work, David Macaulay's updated edition of The Way Things Work explains many advances in science and technology. With the addition of the dim-witted wally mammoth, Macaulay explains very intricate concepts fairly simply. David Macaulay’s The New Way Things Work is a comprehensive encyclopedia of technological advancements from locks and keys and can openers, to hydraulic presses and microchips. The book is broken down into chapters by technology: the wheel and axle, pulleys, sp The New Way Things Work, David Macaulay's updated edition of The Way Things Work explains many advances in science and technology. With the addition of the dim-witted wally mammoth, Macaulay explains very intricate concepts fairly simply. David Macaulay’s The New Way Things Work is a comprehensive encyclopedia of technological advancements from locks and keys and can openers, to hydraulic presses and microchips. The book is broken down into chapters by technology: the wheel and axle, pulleys, springs, etc. Each concept is explained very simply with a fairly dim-witted woolly mammoth. This work would be wonderful for students ages 10-12. The images in Macaulay's book make the explanations so much clearer: the words are all placed in the background of the image. Each part of the drawings is labeled with its name and a short explanation. Macaulay’s illustrations are very complex, drawn in pen-and-ink style. His mammoth is recurring throughout the book, and appears on most pages. His inclusion of the mammoth makes the book accessible to younger readers by adding elements of fiction to an explanatory text.The technologies are broken down easily and the table of contents reflects this: there is a table of contents at the beginning of the book (showing the different parts) and one at the beginning of each part (showing more narrow categories for the technologies within. All of this helps make the informational text more engaging and appealing to younger readers. I feel that I learned a lot from this book, and although it is fairly lengthy, I found it to be very engaging. This book would be a great resource to have in the classroom - maybe not for a read-aloud book, but certainly to be used for looking things up!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Connor Foster-Nesbit

    fun but why mamoths? fuled with outdated detail, still a good read for someone interested in how things work.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Campbell

    Categories/Genres for this class fulfilled by this book- Picture book, Young Adult, Nonfiction Estimate of grade level of interest -8th grade and up   Estimate of reading level- 12year and up Brief description-Local author, David MacCaulay, has updated his illustrated reference book on the world of machines. Highly detailed pictures of machines, are interspersed with whimsical Mammoths that help illustrate the purposes inherent in the machine/concept being discussed! Identify at least 2 characteris Categories/Genres for this class fulfilled by this book- Picture book, Young Adult, Nonfiction Estimate of grade level of interest -8th grade and up   Estimate of reading level- 12year and up Brief description-Local author, David MacCaulay, has updated his illustrated reference book on the world of machines. Highly detailed pictures of machines, are interspersed with whimsical Mammoths that help illustrate the purposes inherent in the machine/concept being discussed! Identify at least 2 characteristics of this genre and subgenre and discuss how they appear in your book- Chance (page 117) notes that some books in this genre at first present as picture books. But a closer look at the length and subject matter show that it is written for young adults. This is true of this volume of Macaulay's work. The pictures are highly detailed, and the labels and text are highly technical. Supportive feature (Chance 117) include large detailed picture of the machine being explained, index, table of contents, and the dates of the machine's invention. In what ways and how well does the book as a whole serve its intended audience? - The books serves young adults (and adults!) well by providing a clear explanation of the the machines being demystified! In addition, a humorous intertwined story about wooly mammoths using the technology lighten the information, which some might consider "dry". Awards if any - IRA-CBC Children's Choice 1999 Links to published reviews from professional sources- Starred reviews from Horn Book, SLJ, Kirkus, VOYA http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/new-w...

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jb O'pry

    This is one of my favorite books that I have ever read. It is fun and informative. The book has these funny stories with mammoths and how things were discovered. There was even a cartoon on this book. This book starts with the simplest stuff, like gears and screws, then goes to the most complicated things like how a computer processes information. You can start reading this book not knowing how things work at all and finish this book knowing how everything works. You feel kind of smart after you This is one of my favorite books that I have ever read. It is fun and informative. The book has these funny stories with mammoths and how things were discovered. There was even a cartoon on this book. This book starts with the simplest stuff, like gears and screws, then goes to the most complicated things like how a computer processes information. You can start reading this book not knowing how things work at all and finish this book knowing how everything works. You feel kind of smart after you read it. I also liked this book because I always wondered how things work and when you find out you are fascinated. I think other people should read this book because it is fun, entertaining, informative, and mind blowing.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Chester Richmond

    Macaulay outdoes himself in this massive compilation that covers the broad subjects of mechanics of movement, harnessing the elements, working with waves, electricity and automation, the digital domain, and the invention of machines. Each section could become the centerpiece to a plethora of lessons. Detailed description and illustration of how wheels and axels work in different inventions could teach your students foundational knowledge that could be applied to an abundance of subjects at a lat Macaulay outdoes himself in this massive compilation that covers the broad subjects of mechanics of movement, harnessing the elements, working with waves, electricity and automation, the digital domain, and the invention of machines. Each section could become the centerpiece to a plethora of lessons. Detailed description and illustration of how wheels and axels work in different inventions could teach your students foundational knowledge that could be applied to an abundance of subjects at a later date. The New Way Things Work would serve as an excellent platform of education in an elementary or middle school science environment.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

    This book is AWESOME! As a Technology Teacher, I use this as well as the previously released way things work to create assignments. Wonderful resources that kids will spend entire class periods looking through. I call it an engineer's (and a teacher's) dream book - as it explains how things work very practically and with great pictures (and woolly mammoths!)...From toilets, to nuclear warheads. This book is AWESOME! As a Technology Teacher, I use this as well as the previously released way things work to create assignments. Wonderful resources that kids will spend entire class periods looking through. I call it an engineer's (and a teacher's) dream book - as it explains how things work very practically and with great pictures (and woolly mammoths!)...From toilets, to nuclear warheads.

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