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How to Invent Everything

A Survival Guide for the Stranded Time Traveler
Written by: Ryan North
Narrated by: Ryan North
Length: 12 hrs and 55 mins
5 out of 5 stars (2 ratings)
Price: CDN$ 39.48
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Publisher's Summary

An NPR Best Book of 2018

"How to Invent Everything is such a cool book. It's essential reading for anyone who needs to duplicate an industrial civilization quickly." (Randall Munroe, xkcd creator and New York Times best-selling author of What If?)

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. Best-selling author and time-travel enthusiast Ryan North tells you how to invent all the modern conveniences we take for granted - from first principles. This 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.

©2018 Ryan North (P)2018 Penguin Audio

What the critics say

“Technically, we are all time travelers and we are all trapped. So, even if you happen to be scanning this blurb in what you perceive to be a 'normal' timeline, I heartily recommend you read this book cover to cover.” (Zach Weinersmith, creator of Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal and author of Soonish

“Brilliant conceit...a slyly funny piece of popular science writing.” (Glen Weldon, NPR’s Great Reads of 2018)  

“Hilarious and endlessly fascinating.... For the vast general population that might decide to trust their lives to the FC3000, this book is potentially invaluable (and mighty entertaining) one-stop-shop for everything you need to know about life, the universe, and the fly wheel.” (Christian Science Monitor

What members say

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  • Tim McNerney
  • 2018-11-26

Get the book

Very enjoyable, but not as an Audiobook. Lack of pdf with charts/diagrams/tables means much of the content is lost or hard to follow. It is still entertaining, but a big step down from what would be available with the visuals.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • DM
  • 2019-01-18

Wayyyy too much focus on the humor

It really beats the same tired joke to death instead of getting into what I thought the book was. It's like someone read Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and watched Primitive Technology on YouTube and decided to smash them together in a mediocre book.

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  • Miles Shannon
  • 2019-01-13

incredibly informative and entertaining

This book is so much fun. listening to it in the authors voice was exceptional. If you are science minded, into science fiction, love non fiction or any combination of the above, this book is for you.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2019-01-06

Spends way to much time trying to be funny

While this book is informative I found myself wanting to skip the author's long-winded attempts at humor (which were frequent) so I could get to the meat of the content.

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  • Nerf Herder
  • 2019-01-05

An enjoyable and witty chrononaut survival manual.

Disclaimer: In the event you are stranded in an alternate worldline this isn't the only book to bring. Although quite comprehensive in rebuilding society's technology, it misses the necessary weapons, self defense, hunting techniques, political strategy. Maybe revision 2 will fix that? Or maybe society would be better without weapons.
Joking aside, this is a great look at how we all stand on the shoulders of giants. Our technology and harnessing nature's power is explained in sometimes excruciating but humorous details for the layperson. Although the visual depictions are missing, the narrator does a great job describing them. Clearly, this is geared for rebuilding western society. Complete with the snarky "It took this long for humans to develop xxxxx!?!" Written by disgruntled employees of Chrononaut Solutions. I recommend this book to anyone looking for perspective on our modern society.

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  • Paul
  • 2018-12-29

awesome book

fantastic, funny, informative. kept my attention the entire time. highly recommended, dont pass this one up

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  • K. Smith
  • 2018-12-29

great book

the author reads this book, and I can't imagine it any other way. he cracks a couple jokes when the text of the book doesn't fit with audio format and describes the many diagrams well. it's like a manual with just enough story thrown in to make it entertaining.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2018-11-12

this title is accurate

Ryan North is a comedy genius. His other books are great, Dinosaur Comics, Adventure Time and Squirrel Girl are all fantastic. Here, he tackles, well, everything - explaining how the most mundane and complex things that form civilization work - just in case you are stranded after using a time machine in the distant past and may need to create that thing from scratch.
The narration is pretty good, by the author himself - and good care was taken to render the many tables and infographics on the book understandable in audio form (to some great comedy effect here and there)
overall, amazing and enlightening: I might not be able to create eveything after listening to it, but I sure understand the whole world a bit better.