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Stuff Matters

Exploring the Marvelous Materials That Shape Our Man-Made World
Written by: Mark Miodownik
Narrated by: Michael Page
Length: 6 hrs and 34 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (52 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Why is glass see-through? What makes elastic stretchy? Why does a paper clip bend? These are the sorts of questions that Mark Miodownik is constantly asking himself. A globally renowned materials scientist, Miodownik has spent his life exploring objects as ordinary as an envelope and as unexpected as concrete cloth, uncovering the fascinating secrets that hold together our physical world. From the teacup to the jet engine, the silicon chip to the paper clip, the plastic in our appliances to the elastic in our underpants, our lives are overflowing with materials. Full of enthralling tales of the miracles of engineering that permeate our lives, Stuff Matters will make you see stuff in a whole new way.

©2014 Mark Miodownik (P)2014 Tantor

What the critics say

"Miodownik's infectious curiosity and explanatory gifts will inspire [listeners] to take a closer look at the materials around them." ( Publishers Weekly Starred Review)

What listeners say about Stuff Matters

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Awesome overview of materials science for scientists and non-commercial experts alike

This book is a wonderful mix of interesting science about the material world we live in and our physical/emotional connection to it. It's cleverly written and very entertaining (very good performance too). It's geared toward the general public, but I also thoroughly enjoyed it as a materials scientist myself.

1 person found this helpful

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excellent livre

les sujets abordés dans ce livre sont très intéressant ils m'ont permis de mieux comprendre le monde autour de moi

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fascinating and nice story

A nice light yet interesting topic. Gave me a new appreciation for many everyday things.

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Astounding journey into the interatomic world

I appreciated every bit of this book and was able to relate with the author on many mentioned occassions.
It's writen in a bright, captivating manner, promoting one's imagination and curiosity. I litterally saw how Japanese swordsmiths crafted the katana blades and weighted shards of metal to determine its firmness while reading "Stuff Matters". As a biologist, I especially liked how Mark described the living matter as an intricate interactome of different scales, that it closely regulates itself by the feedback from miniscule and to the macro. I recommend it to those who are fond of mind sparks.

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A pleasure

This was a great combination of science and history. It provides a nice amount of detail.

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  • D. MacLeod
  • 2015-01-29

Surprisingly good

Any additional comments?

I didn't expect a book on Materials Science to be so interesting. Especially, I was surprised by the psychology of materials -- how things sound or feel, as opposed to purely functional features.

I'm often nervous about buying audio books on technical topics that may require illustrations on the printed page to understand. But this book comes across well in narration.

I learned a lot and was entertained.I listened to several chapters twice, in order to reflect and let it sink in.

169 people found this helpful

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  • Bird Lady 147
  • 2015-02-12

Facts Made Fun! Who knew?!

Narration was excellent. I don't think it could have been narrated any better. The subject matter could very well have been boring and dry but instead time flies as you learn about how and why things we don't often think about came to be with the why and then the how it was done answers. All in a great interesting story lines for each thing spoken about.

76 people found this helpful

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  • Cheryl
  • 2015-05-12

Surprisingly interesting and concise - Excellent

On occasion I'll buy a business book or self-help type book only to put it down after an hour due to the repetitiveness of the material and the terrible narration. This book is neither repetitive or hard to listen to. The material is really interesting and the narrator does a great job of conveying the material in a light hearted - fun manner. I've found myself saying "Hey did you know..." Graphite and glass were my favorite materials.

30 people found this helpful

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  • Bernie Cullen
  • 2015-02-28

Understanding the material world

Where does Stuff Matters rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I have listened to many great audiobooks and this is among them.

Any additional comments?

I would urge anyone who is studying chemistry, or anyone who wishes to develop a better understanding of the material world in which we live to listen to this book. It is amazingly straightforward and engaging, illustrating the mechanisims of our material existance. I was amazed by how little I knew about the physical world around me and the basic materials that I handle and use on a daily basis. I wish all my audiobooks were this intersting and informative.

27 people found this helpful

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  • Silicon Valley Geek
  • 2016-07-04

Audible missing chapter descriptions

I like to relisten to audio books but the chapters are missing descriptions. I found the list in hopes this is helpful.

Introduction ix
1 indomitable
2 Trusted
3 Fundamental
4 delicious
5 Marvelous
6 imaginative
7 invisible
8 Unbreakable
9 re ned
1 0 immortal
1 1 Synthesis

137 people found this helpful

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  • David
  • 2015-02-04

Cool info, fun book

Great intro to materials science, interesting learning, entertaining stories, fun to listen to. Quirky stuff to know more now about the world around us.

14 people found this helpful

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  • Ceela
  • 2015-02-12

Fascinating!

Great narration, not too dry, would make a good gift for a trivia fan, and I would definitely purchase another book by this author.

12 people found this helpful

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  • Peter
  • 2014-10-15

Engaging, fun, and educational

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

This book did a great job of telling stories, while providing great information

What does Michael Page bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

The narration feels like it matches the author and writing style well. I was able to really get into this book.

Any additional comments?

I wish there was more content. It was so good that I was disappointed when it ended.

40 people found this helpful

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  • Mario
  • 2014-09-05

I loved the way the autor exposes the subject

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Amazing how the author can explain everything that’s interesting about an element. He goes down to the detail without being boring, explaining in everyday language exactly what we want to know. I loved especially the chapters about steel, glass and graphite.

26 people found this helpful

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  • Matthew
  • 2016-09-21

Interesting, but...

The Good – I bought the book on one of the sales for $ 4.95 because it had been sitting in my wish list for about a year and I just wasn’t convinced that it would be worth a full credit. I was correct and made a wise choice in this regard. The best and most interesting part of the book is the chapter about ‘glass’.

The Not So Good – The book is just not as interesting as you assume it would be. The author spent more time discussing historical issues that only marginally apply to the actual subject matter than the 'matter' itself! I get it that this type of information can be pretty dry, but if written correctly it can work.

The Bad – There is a section of the book where the author decides it would be a good idea to enact some of the stories as if putting on a “play”. This part of the book is excruciatingly annoying! It is so bad, in fact, that I nearly stopped listening and returned it.

The Narration – The narration is fairly decent. No complaint in this regard with the sole exception that the voice imitations done for the “play” are very annoying making the annoying ‘play’ even more so. Hence, three stars for the Performance. I don't blame the narrator for that though.

The Overall – Had I purchased this book at full price or even used a credit I would have stopped listening and returned it. The only factor that kept me going was the minimal cost. It was worth it at the cost paid, but not at any higher price. I learned just a little bit from the book, but at the price I feel like I got what I paid for.

40 people found this helpful