The Things We Make: The Unknown History of Invention from Cathedrals to Soda Cans

Highbridge Audio. Mar. 2023. 7:43 hrs. ISBN 9781696611152. $19.99. HIST
Hammack (Eight Amazing Engineering Stories), a Carl Sagan Award–winning professor of engineering (Univ. of Illinois) and YouTube’s “Engineer Guy,” provides listeners with an educational and entertaining examination of the engineering method as it has evolved from ancient history to the present. The author offers an intriguing perspective on how it is human nature to engineer solutions when confronted with the world’s many problems. Listeners will learn that the “golden rule of thumb” is essential to every historical innovation and invention, from planting crops to processing film to putting microwave ovens in nearly every kitchen. How did master stonemasons build cathedrals hundreds of years ago? How do skyscrapers not fall in the face of 100 mph winds? Why did a daily act such as dinner preparation go from a cooperative family effort to one that became unfairly considered a woman’s task? Narrator Jonathan Todd Ross’s conversational cadence strikes the right note, matching Hammack’s tone and making this an enjoyable listen.
VERDICT Hammack’s appealing scientific history proves that common myths of how inventions came about are largely untrue. This glimpse into humankind’s problem-solving methods is highly recommended for scientists and non-scientists alike.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing