This week’s selection is “How to Invent Everything: A Survival Guide for the Stranded Time Traveler” by Ryan North.
This is a most unusual book, and it has nothing specific to do with 3D printing. But its content is all about invention, and therefore I expect a great many Fabbaloo readers would appreciate its contents. It’s also presented in a rather fun and amusing fashion.
The idea is that you’re suddenly whisked back in time by an unknown force or machine, and have to re-invent civilization.
It’s a very strange book, because the author claims that he “found” the book, embedded in stone from time immemorial. North is also curious that the author even seems to have the same name as himself.
That’s all fun, but then North gets down to business: inventing civilization — from scratch!
When I say, from scratch, I mean it: his first inventions include spoken and written language, and then numbers. We take those for granted, but here they are invented. North takes you through the steps necessary to do so in your tribe of fellow humans in 74,000BC.
Or is it 128,000BC? North starts the book with a comprehensive flow chart you can use to determine exactly when you have appeared in the timeline. Very handy, although I suspect I won’t actually have to use it myself anytime soon.
The book proceeds in this fashion, working its way through a succession of increasingly more complex inventions. Tools, weapons, vehicles and much more from history are explained in basic terms that you might actually use, should you find yourself an accidental time traveler. However, many of the passages include references to other texts, so hopefully you’ve taken them with you as well on your time journey.
For a fun exploration of invention, basic principles and history, this is an excellent book.
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