"Genius is in-born, may it never be still-born."

"Oysters, irritated by grains of sand, give birth to pearls. Brains, irritated by curiosity, give birth to ideas."

"Brainpower is the bridge to the future; it is what transports you from wishful thinking to willful doing."

"Unless you keep learning & growing, the status quo has no status."

Friday, March 20, 2009

BOOK REVIEW: 'WHAT A GREAT IDEA!', by Stephen Tomecek

Ever since I have read 'They All Laughed... From Light Bulbs to Lasers: The Fascinating Stories Behind the Great Inventions That Have Changed Our Lives' by Ira Flatow, among many others, I am always on the look-out for similar books in this genre.

I have an ardent fascination for the history of science & technology, & have amassed a vast collection of books in this genre.

Not only I am interested in the life stories of the scientists & inventors, I am also keen to find out how they went about in the pursuit of the original ideas behind their inventions.

I have recently acquired 'What a Great Idea! Inventions That Changed the World' from a used bookstore.

It showcases lively, colourful stories about some significant inventions & discoveries against a historical background e.g. the hand axe, the wheel, the clock, writing, clothing, mathematics, & the computer. It also divides them across five broad time periods ranging

- from the ancient world before 3,000 B.C.E.;

- the metal age from 3,500 B.C.E. through A.D. 1;

- the age of discovery from A.D. 1 through 1799;

- the age of electricity & communication from 1799 to 1887;

- the age of the atom from 1887 to the present;

What I liked about this book are the full-colour diagrams & clear illustrations, which have been well-integrated with brief descriptions of how the inventions work as well as insightful information about their impact on society as well as on subsequent inventions & discoveries.

What eventually emerges from this book is a sense of inter-connectedness among the inventions & discoveries that other books often lack. This reinforces what Leonardo da vinci once said:

"Everything is connected to everything else."

Also, the author's style of presentation is informally straight-forward & visually appealing.

Well, if you have that curiosity streak in you about the history of inventions & discoveries, just like I do, I guess you just have to go & get hold of this book. I can assure you, this book gives an entertaining & informative tour.

No comments: