I feel like one would need 250 Diagrams that Changed the World in order to justify the lack of detail on each one. Does an atlas of London really count as having changed the world? The font is in light gray, making it very difficult to read without much brighter lighting than I usually require. I know you feel the same way. Biology, we know, evolved from a static plant and animal classification to a dynamic field of inquiry, jump-started by Charles Darwin's groundbreaking work. Writing amounts to museum text panels, sometimes a little too dense.
And I generally like reading history. I realize each diagram is allotted only a few short paragraphs, but I think the author could have been more informative within the constraints of the format of the book. As for the book, there were a lot of interesting diagrams. This was the first book of diagrams or anything remotely like it that we read for the Jordabecker Book Club. My students write in Cuneiform with play dough. I'm not sure all of these diagrams have changed the world, there are some that have and others that are just important from a historical context. Second, I'd say some of these diagrams didn't really change the world.
I can basically force you to check it out: It was worth it. An amazing concept that was wasted. The Nazca Lines are interesting, but to this day no one knows what they mean. Reading in that manner, the essays are perfect in size, not too much information to bog the reader down, but enough to give them a quick understanding of the diagram or drawing on the opposite page. It is exactly what the title implies, 100 miniessays centered around diagrams that had mega-impact. Bought this book based on a mention by Maria on Brainpickings.
Each diagram has a one or two sentence introduction. But then, I'm hardly an expert. Maybe I'm being a little nit-picky here, but it just leaves me wondering what was the criteria for selecting the diagrams for this book? That said, I realized that I was secretly enjoying it. My score was about 50 percent, which may have more to do with the drawings than with my lack of cultural literacy. My favorites were probably the flushable toilet, the machine gun, and probably the musical notation. I could have used more explanation for some of the more complicated concepts.
We found ourselves laughing out loud and showing each other pages. But this study, with its rare sketches and forgotten artifacts, is the first significant monograph to cover all aspects of his work and should help him attain greater recognition. He's got some good stuff. But the information pages were not always very informational. Beautifully illustrated in full color, this book will not only inform but also entertain as it demonstrates how the power of a single drawing can enhance, change, or even revolutionize our understanding of the world.
Not just for history buffs, the pages of 100 Diagrams prove that great achievements have humble, human beginings, often etched out by hand with a series of simple shapes. Each one is fascinating in its own right, and when lined up all together there is another layer of insight: you can see some ways in which our visualization of new ideas has shifted over the centuries, and, importantly, how in many other ways, the power of a simple sketch is remarkably constant, from the Chauvet cave drawings to the initial iPod design. In between you'd be quite surprised to learn that the first bar chart was created by or at least I was. Just seems kinda translated poorly, and cribbed from a variety of sources. For instance, Steve Jobs is given two entries, one for the Apple Computer and one for the iPod, but Bill Gates is not mentioned once. Arranged chronologically, each diagram is accompanied by informative text that makes even the most scientific breakthrough accessible to all. Each diagram includes a photo or reproduction starting with the done 30,000 years ago in France all the way to a diagram of the iPod.
It gets you thinking about the amazing inventions around us and the creativity we take for granted. Or that the first exploded view diagram was created by way back around 1450. If you are a visual learner, you will like this book. One of the most visibly invisible components of books are page numbers, meant to be seen but not dwelled upon. Beautifully illustrated in full color, this book will not only inform but also entertain as it demonstrates how the power of a single drawing can enhance, change or even revolutionize our understanding of the world. I enjoyed the quick description of each of the diagrams but found myself wanting more and wanting a better grasp of the bigger picture. On the constructive side of my observations it seems evident that the author had some difficulty coming around to 100 'diagrams' for inclusion.
Type is smaller than the Times and captions done in light grey. As wonderful as it is to have so many hallmarks in one digestible book, it would serve well to show just how much the diagrams and ideas have accelerated during our present century. So how is that world changing? Fun take on a history book. Many other reviews have said what I'll say. His sense of humor combined with a talent for explaining difficult concepts through step-by-step visualizations gives this book its charm.