Book of the Week: The Way Things Work Now
This week’s selection is “The Way Things Work Now” by David MacAulay.
This is an unusual selection for Book of the Week, as it is not as deeply technical as most of our selections. In fact, it could be considered an introductory text for adolescents who are attracted to the notion of machines.
That’s what it’s about: MacAulay explores the nature of many devices, mechanical and electronic. Readers who were previously mystified by how today’s amazing machines work will perhaps not know how to build them after reading the book, but will have an appreciation for the actual technology behind them.
In other words, it erases the intimidation factor some may have towards technology.
The 400-page book is divided into several sections that gradually get more complex. MacAulay begins by explaining some basic concepts around mechanical movement and how elements can be harnessed. Once that’s done, he moves into waves, electricity, digital applications and many different machines.
The material is presented in a way that is easily readable by all ages. Here is a sample page explaining how a wedge works:
For readers who are deep into 3D printing and similar advanced technologies, this book likely is not for you. But it could be for your younger relatives and acquaintances, those who might see you working on 3D printing and have questions about technology.
This book could change their lives by harnessing their curiosity and showing them a universe of machines that they can participate with as they grow older.