Recommended books for the super inquisitive grown up?
December 12, 2010 4:10 PM   Subscribe

At some time in the past 4-5 months, someone on AskMe mentioned a book they had received and couldn't put down, something along the lines of David Macaulay's "The Way Things Work" but it was a title geared towards adults. I thought I'd favorited it but can't find it now... any ideas or recommendations for books of this nature? It's a gift for a compulsive reader who knows a whole bunch about everything, and can't wait to learn still more!
posted by braemar to Science & Nature (7 answers total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: Heya, no big deal but any sort of "do you remember this thing that was on (ask) metafilter" question really needs to go over on metatalk, not here. -- cortex

Someone previously suggested Infrastructure:‚Äč A Field Guide to the Industrial Landscape. It sounds suitable for a compulsive reader who enjoys learning esoteric things about the world around us.
posted by ChrisHartley at 4:14 PM on December 12, 2010 [2 favorites]

Was it The Works?
posted by griphus at 4:15 PM on December 12, 2010

MacKauley's book is preceded by an earlier version "The way things Work-an Illustrated Encyclopedia"

Also, I recommend any book by Edward Tufte.
posted by TDIpod at 4:54 PM on December 12, 2010

Many of Bill Bryson's books fit this mold. I'm a big fan of A Short History of Nearly Everything, which quite lives up to its title as it rips through everything natural-science-y from the Big Bang to modern humans. He also has a new(ish?) books giving similar treatment to all things household, At Home: A Short History of Private Life.
posted by badgermushroomSNAKE at 5:42 PM on December 12, 2010

Was it Bill Bryson's "A Short History of Nearly Everything"?

From Amazon: "This is a book about how it happened," the author writes. "In particular how we went from there being nothing at all to there being something, and then how a little of that something turned into us, and also what happened in between and since." What follows is a brick of a volume summarizing moments both great and curious in the history of science, covering already well-trod territory in the fields of cosmology, astronomy, paleontology, geology, chemistry, physics and so on.
posted by MonkeyToes at 5:53 PM on December 12, 2010

Or, perhaps, a short history of why preview is my friend...
posted by MonkeyToes at 5:54 PM on December 12, 2010

I'm reading The Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England and so far it's been a lot of fun.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:08 PM on December 12, 2010

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