How to Invent Everything: A Survival Guide for the Stranded Time Traveler review

How to Invent Everything: A Survival Guide for the Stranded Time Traveler

How to Invent Everything: A Survival Guide for the Stranded Time Traveler by Ryan North

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Really fun read! Covers a wide range of technology, from domesticating animals to units of measurement to foods to chemistry to art. At first I was a little irritated that I didn’t think I could actually reinvent all this technology using just this book, but:
– some sections were more explicit than others in terms of “able-to-do-thisness”
– this is probably an unfair quibble for a book that’s telling you how to re-create civilization!

Some of the most interesting parts were technologies that humans totally could have invented way earlier if anyone had known about it, like using canaries in mines to detect carbon monoxide, vitamin C to prevent scurvy, and kilns. Turns out kilns are incredibly useful!

There’s even a real-life technology tree in the appendix (like in Civilization! but for real life!)

The book does strive for accuracy but as you might expect given the author, it is also full of jokes, which makes it more fun to read.

Since I have the paper edition of this, I read it in 20-minute or so segments at a time, which I actually recommend because otherwise I’m guessing it might seem like a bit much? But I enjoyed it a lot!


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