An Entertaining Enterprise: HOW TO INVENT EVERYTHING


HOW TO INVENT EVERYTHING - cover facsimile on a neutrsal backgroundA Survival Guide for the Stranded Time Traveler
Written by: Ryan North
Read by: Ryan North
12 Hours and 55 Minutes
Penguin Random House Audio | Imprint Penguin Audio
Genre: Humor – Form – Trivia
Release Date: September 18, 2018

I voluntarily reviewed an advance readers copy of this book. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.


The only book you need if you’re going back in time

What would you do if a time machine hurled you thousands of years into the past. . . and then broke? How would you survive? Could you improve on humanity’s original timeline? And how hard would it be to domesticate a giant wombat?

With this book as your guide, you’ll survive–and thrive–in any period in Earth’s history. Bestselling author and time-travel enthusiast Ryan North shows you how to invent all the modern conveniences we take for granted–from first principles. This illustrated manual contains all the science, engineering, art, philosophy, facts, and figures required for even the most clueless time traveler to build a civilization from the ground up. Deeply researched, irreverent, and significantly more fun than being eaten by a saber-toothed tiger, How to Invent Everything will make you smarter, more competent, and completely prepared to become the most important and influential person ever. You’re about to make history. . . better.


My Take Oblong Shaped

This book is great fun, and has lots and lots of cool information that certainly would come in handy if you needed to reinvent civilization and do a better job at it than our ancestors. It starts off with a device that allows you to suspend disbelief:  while working in construction the author found an actual book on how to repair a time machine. This is the book you are going to hear.

The author does a great job reading through the chapters; I usually like to have authors read their non-fiction stuff, especially when it is humorous.  And this is chock full of humor.  

the point of an audio book is NOT having a print book that you need to look at.  I have occasionally found this problematic with the sciences In the audio format, and without the appendices at hand you’re going to need to go back and look at them for the full experience, or truly understand the copy.  Not having access to any of the graphic features as I listened was definitely an issue. While reading a manual in print the graphics are naturally and easily perused.  But I listen to a book while I am otherwise engaged and in many cases it would be dangerous. I would say that for this one to be successful for me I would most definitely have to sit with an accompanying website to see them as I listened.  This would preclude most other activities. 

I also felt the book was written for a younger audience than my old-lady self. It is a very easy way to read about science and technology.  The history is fascinating, and if I were reading it with a bunch of space aliens, I might be embarrassed if they heard how long we went between the invention of the wheel for uses other than transportation and figuring that out, or by how many times humans knew something and forgot to take notes.

So, while I think the book is engaging and even though the author is an excellent narrator, I do not think audio is the best format.  It’s like having lyrics without the sheet music or a graphic novel sans graphics. But I do recommend it in print — and have to my friends.  Or, if you’re someone who sits to listen and doesn’t mind having to checkout graphics for a book via other means, then I guess you might find the audio a good fit.  But, it print I am sure it is both funny and instructive.

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