The folks over at National Geographic sent along to me one of their latest books, figuring I might appreciate it, given its title. And, well. Yes. It does intrigue me on the title alone. It’s also a pretty interesting book aside from the title; what it does is track technology through the ages, showing how the world got to where it is by a series of (yes) big ideas. The book’s conceit, however, is to go at it backwards, starting with recent developments and then moving back through time to show how development steps one from one idea to the next. So the information technology chapter, for example, starts with Linux and head back to the abacus, which was developed circa 3000 BC. It’s a useful way to do things, in terms of putting it all into a slightly different perspective.
This is exactly the sort of big, pretty, information-dense book that I would have geeked out about when I was 12 years old, which is nice because I have a 12-year-old in the house. But it’s a fun read for anyone interested in how ideas connect together over time. And of course: Great title.