The Knowledge: How to Rebuild Our World from Scratch

How would you go about rebuilding a technological society from scratch If our technological society collapsed tomorrow, perhaps from a viral pandemic or catastrophic asteroid impact, what would be the one book you would want to press into the hands of the postapocalyptic survivors What crucial knowledge would they need to survive in the immediate aftermath and to rebuildHow would you go about rebuilding a technological society from scratch If our technological society collapsed tomorrow, perhaps from a viral pandemic or catastrophic asteroid impact, what would be the one book you would want to press into the hands of the postapocalyptic survivors What crucial knowledge would they need to survive in the immediate aftermath and to rebuild civilization as quickly as possible a guide for rebooting the world Human knowledge is collective, distributed across the population It has built on itself for centuries, becoming vast and increasingly specialized Most of us are ignorant about the fundamental principles of the civilization that supports us, happily utilizing the latest or even the most basic technology without having the slightest idea of why it works or how it came to be If you had to go back to absolute basics, like some sort of postcataclysmic Robinson Crusoe, would you know how to re create an internal combustion engine, put together a microscope, get metals out of rock, accurately tell time, weave fibers into clothing, or even how to produce food for yourself Regarded as one of the brightest young scientists of his generation, Lewis Dartnell proposes that the key to preserving civilization in an apocalyptic scenario is to provide a quickstart guide, adapted to cataclysmic circumstances The Knowledge describes many of the modern technologies we employ, but first it explains the fundamentals upon which they are built Every piece of technology rests on an enormous support network of other technologies, all interlinked and mutually dependent You can t hope to build a radio, for example, without understanding how to acquire the raw materials it requires, as well as generate the electricity needed to run it But Dartnell doesn t just provide specific information for starting over he also reveals the greatest invention of them all the phenomenal knowledge generating machine that is the scientific method itself This would allow survivors to learn technological advances not explicitly explored in The Knowledge as well as things we have yet to discover The Knowledge is a brilliantly original guide to the fundamentals of science and how it built our modern world as well as a thought experiment about the very idea of scientific knowledge itself.
The Knowledge How to Rebuild Our World from Scratch How would you go about rebuilding a technological society from scratch If our technological society collapsed tomorrow perhaps from a viral pandemic or catastrophic asteroid impact what would be the

  • Title: The Knowledge: How to Rebuild Our World from Scratch
  • Author: Lewis Dartnell
  • ISBN: 9781594205231
  • Page: 224
  • Format: Hardcover
  • 1 thought on “The Knowledge: How to Rebuild Our World from Scratch”

    1. Thank you to both Netgalley and Random House UK for an advance reader copy in exchange for an honest review. If someone came up to me and said "Hi, here is an instruction manual to rebuild civilisation after collapse. You're welcome!" guess how I'd react. There would be sarcasm and the little wizened skeptic that lives in my head would be having a field day. And I did approach this volume with an amount of skepticism. How can you boil down all of civilisation into one 250 page volume?Being a fan [...]

    2. I read a lot of "Prepper" books, and in general, a lot of apocalyptic literature. This one was a quick read, because it sucked. Dartnell had the kernel of a good idea, but then lost steam about 50 pages into the book, and what he filled the remaining 250 with was a stretch.Good points: explaining how to get certain base-material chemicals from natural sources. Bad points: he did not think deeply about what were the critical, enabling, technologies for "rebooting" (his term) life. He assumes that [...]

    3. You find yourself and a band of others the survivors of a Charleton Heston like apocalypse. You are the last people on earth. How do you rebuild. If infrastructure hasn't been demolished you have a grace period where you can scavenge of the corpse of the old world but pretty soon you and the other survivors will have to restart civilization. None of us in the modern world can single handedly produce a pencil not to mention an iPhone. This book presents the hardy survivor of a holocaust a way to [...]

    4. This book is going to need two reviews:The first – would I want this book to be in my library should the world end? I’m afraid the answer is no. while certainly this book is cleverly researched, packed with information, and the subject matter carefully chosen (or at least with some sort of system, apparently there is a website.) Equally I realized that there was no well in hell I was going to be able to do any of this stuff. For example I have no doubt the chemistry has been meticulously res [...]

    5. I picked this up after reading Station Eleven a fictional account of a group of global Pandemic survivors. It is essentially a how-to book on what you need to know in order to survive and reboot our world if that Pandemic or other event happens. As a former editor for how-to technology books I give this five stars. It is practical and accessible. Reading it now--you learn alot of what makes our current world work.

    6. I have to admit that I struggled to read this book. It's not very engaging or well written. In many cases it reads like one of those science text books that I hated when I was at school. However, despite this, it does have an interesting premise, even though I consider it to be flawed. The premise is that the population of the United Kingdom (and elsewhere) is largely killed off by some unspecified catastrophe. Of the 65,000,000 inhabitants of the UK, only 10,000 remain. How do the survivors reb [...]

    7. Having a quick look through the review of this book, I couldn't help noticing that a fair part of the criticism reflected the fact that it might not actually be all that helpful in the event of the complete collapse of modern civilisation. Which I couldn't help thinking was rather missing the point. If modern civilisation breaks down completely, you will probably die. I certainly would - without complex modern pharmaceuticals, I wouldn't last long. Real life is not a young adult fantasy novel ( [...]

    8. This book was delightful. I am a big humanities history guy. Unfortunately I've got a bit of a mental block when it comes to science. The second somebody starts describing the details of chemistry or engineering I just kind of tune out. What Mr. Dartnell has achieved here is an excellent way to draw people like me into a broader understanding of our technological civilization. The premise is simple. He doesn't spend too much time on the details, but he imagines a complete societal collapse. What [...]

    9. The premise is blithering. Most of us simply won't survive the collapse of civil society--the collapse of the systems that bring food and water to the almost-all of us who have no way of providing it for ourselves--and the resulting violence. It won't be a lack of knowledge that will limit post-apocalypse survivors: it'll be a lack of order, of resources, of ability to rebuild the systems the knowledge will still abundantly exist to show the theory of.

    10. Tengo que reconocer que empecé este libro por equivocación, pero, como sucede a veces, los errores se convirtieron en aciertos. Al menos en parte. Me explico: llegué a esta obra pensando que sería una especie de ensayo de género, un estudio sobre qué hacer si de pronto nos viéramos correteando alegremente en medio de algún tipo de apocalipsis propio de una novela de género. No es así. Ni siquiera las posibilidades de la catástrofe de partida lo son: el autor postula que una buena pand [...]

    11. As a dedicated reader of disaster stories both real and imagined, I’ve often wondered how a modern society could rebuild itself in the wake of a true apocalypse. This book attempts to answer that question with solid information on the science and practice of remaking the basics of civilization – from agriculture to medicine, chemistry to energy generation. It also ponders what steps of our historical technological progression could be skipped or avoided entirely; after all, we’re not resta [...]

    12. Una oportunidad perdida. El autor plantea dudas muy interesantes que nos hacen pensar sobre lo poco preparados que estamos para un escenario apocalíptico de cualquier tipo y cómo profesiones y conocimientos ahora denostados serían los reyes en esa situación. Por ese lado está bien. Lo malo es que el libro está demasiado literado y no acaba ahondando en cuestiones importantes. Habría sido mucho mejor y más práctico si se acercase más al formato manual que quería ser y menos a lo que ha [...]

    13. The introduction does speculate a little about different types of apocalypse, but settles on a viral pandemic as our final foe. This would leave survivors the advantage of a fairly intact infrastructure whilst they find their feet as well as little competition for resources.The book is split into sections dealing with aspects such as agriculture, medicine, power, construction and more advance scientific methods. It’s not just a survival guide but a reminder of how much we take for granted. Jos [...]

    14. So, if the apocalypse does come, I really hope I'm not here to deal with it. Maybe I'll be off traveling while it happens or something. Yeah, that sounds good.The thing is, the one thing Dartnell convinced me of, above all else, is that it's going to be a really hard road for civilization to crawl back out of that pit. Granted, there are a ton of shortcuts available -- for everything except maybe the organic chemistry that, as it turns out, plays a far greater role in our daily existence than mo [...]

    15. This is a very informative book with a lot of fascinating detail. It is basically a thought experiment. If most of humanity was wiped out in the morning and a handful of people remained, could they survive and rebuild modern technology? To determine this, Dartnell looks how these technologies were originally developed and any possible short cuts which the survivors could take.The ‘apocalypse’ itself described in book was very clinical but this book is not meant to be a blow-by-blow instructi [...]

    16. Full disclosure, I received an advance copy of this book through a GoodReads contest. That said, I can honestly say I enjoyed this book very much. Dartnell does a very good job setting up the parameters for his thought experiment about exactly what knowledge survivors of an apocalypse would need in order to rebuild society. Because he sets up early on just exactly what type of apocalypse he's using (pandemic infection that leaves man-made structures intact) and about how many survivors he's work [...]

    17. The two-stars is deceptive. Not really sure how to rate this. I'm very much opposed to the basic premise of the book. The book is meant to be a guide for quickly rebooting our civilization after a catastrophic collapse. Dartnell acknowledges that the most likely scenarios for such a collapse are due to civilization itself. But he never really addresses the elephant of a question in the room: SHOULD we try to rebuild?That said, the information in the book is great and I enjoyed learning about how [...]

    18. Yes. I am getting a paper copy or two. This book won't help you survive the apocalypse. But just in case you doThis book will help you keep on surviving, living and even (dare I hope?) prosper. Imagine that everything fails. How long would it take for society to revert to dark-ages state of things? I don't think it would be long.It would actually be a bit worseFor how many of you know anything about farming? Smelting iron? Raising crops? Making soap? is book however gives all this basic informat [...]

    19. I had much higher hopes for this book that sadly failed to deliver, but I think that at the end of the day that's more on me and my assumptions of how a pop-science book should be rather than on the author. Dartnell absolutely did what he set out to do and this book is a fantastic collection of the basic set of inventions and leap-frogs that need to happen in order to get our modern society back up and running as quickly as possible.I just was a little bored with the whole thing.

    20. I'm not sure that this would actually help rebuild or save any future society all that much, but it's an interesting framing device by which one can look at how various things work and worked in the past. Additionally, I think it's an interesting thought experiment to bring up how one would be able to "leap frog" over intermediate stages, knowing what we know now. I also think it's interesting to consider that some of our prevalent technologies are basically path-dependent (we already have X inf [...]

    21. “The Knowledge” is meant as an assist to the human race. But to properly aid the human race, in a post-apocalypse future, two things are required. One is technical knowledge. The other is an understanding of the human race. Lewis Dartnell here offers technical knowledge, but he limits it to knowledge useful for “peaceful coexistence.” Given that violence is an inherent part of humans, which Dartnell seems to not understand, that limitation sharply diminishes the usefulness of his book.Da [...]

    22. Wir sind umgeben von den Annehmlichkeiten des technologischen Fortschritts. Allerdings könnten die wenigsten von uns erklären, wie all die schönen Dinge genau funktionieren – und wir wären schon gar nicht in der Lage, sie nachzubauen. Im Falle einer globalen Katastrophe: Wüssten Sie, wie man verschmutztes Wasser reinigt? Wie man Nahrungsmittel haltbar macht, Strom erzeugt, Getreide anbaut oder einen einfachen Motor zusammenbastelt? Lewis Dartnell versetzt Sie in die Lage, all dies und noc [...]

    23. It’s a MacGuyver-y, Minecraft-y, science-filled thought experiment and I loved every second of it.

    24. It's not really a handbook for a hypothetical collapse, but it's a great place to start. It prioritizes and outlines key technologies you could plausibly start with from scratch to reboot the essentials for human survival. Importantly, it also gives tips on how to skip centuries and millenia of blind alleys and leapfrog intermediate stages of development. However, the last chapter also highlights the importance of socio-economic conditions required for technology to get implemented and to provid [...]

    25. In a very readable style, Lewis Dartnell describes a thought experiment in which our world is devastated, human population reduced dramatically, and we've been bumped back to the Dark Ages but aren't willing to stay there. He covers all the essential topics: minimum colony size for sustainable development, sourcing and storing food, medicine, construction, energy sources, chemistry, physics, navigation, and much more.If you grew up reading stories of intrepid explorers, pioneers and colonists (o [...]

    26. Lo primero que quiero hacer es avisar: no estamos ante una lectura entretenida. No es una novela sino una guía práctica, por lo que su función no es entretener al lector. El potencial lector haría bien en tener claro lo que pone en la portada y ponerse en situación.El autor nos presenta un mundo en ruinas con muy pocos supervivientes que se ven forzados a retroceder varios siglos en su nivel tecnológico. El enfoque es práctico y muy centrado en la ciencia, con predominio de la química. L [...]

    27. Lots to think about in this book. Dartnell's purpose is to discuss what crucial information we would need to keep going in the immediate aftermath of world disaster and then to describe how to sustain existence in the long term. I disagreed with a lot of what he said about the immediate aftermath and what might happen and what you or I would be able to do. There are a lot of possible scenarios of disasters, and any one of them would affect our resources in different ways. For example, Dartnell a [...]

    28. I received a copy of this book from a giveaway. I am thrilled that I was chosen to receive the book because I would never have bought it and read it otherwise, and it is a fascinating overview of basic technologies needed to reboot civilization after a catastrophe. Although it falls short of being a step-by-step manual, I nevertheless feel that I, with the help of a few others, could make cement from raw materials, smelt and work iron, obtain any number of useful chemicals from trees, purify wa [...]

    29. One of those books which makes me read interesting facts out loud to other people (which I'm sure must be deeply irritating). I generally enjoyed it, although at times I felt it got too bogged down in unnecessary detail. Not sure I needed to know all the advanced chemistry or radio technology. I also felt that the author was concentrating a little too much on getting back to today's technology, rather than thinking about trying to avoid recreating existing, problematic tech such as the use of ch [...]

    30. While I don't believe we will ever be in a situation where this book would actually be needed, it is a wonderful primer on the basic technology that allows our civilization to function. It really gives you a strong appreciation for just how much work goes into producing even the most mundane things, like soap. Even more, it justifies why many of these basic things, like soap, are so vastly important to have. However, this is just an overview. I don't feel like you would really walk away from rea [...]

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