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The Magic of Reality  By  cover art

The Magic of Reality

By: Richard Dawkins
Narrated by: Richard Dawkins,Lalla Ward
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Publisher's Summary

Richard Dawkins, the world’s most famous evolutionary biologist, presents a gorgeously lucid, science book examining some of the nature’s most fundamental questions both from a mythical and scientific perspective.

Science is our most precise and powerful tool for making sense of the world. Before we developed the scientific method, we created rich mythologies to explain the unknown. The pressing questions that primitive men and women asked are the same ones we ask as children. Who was the first person? What is the sun? Why is there night and day? The myths that address these questions are beautiful, but in every case their beauty is exceeded by the scientific truth.

With characteristic clarity and verve, Dawkins answers these big questions. Looking first at some of the myths that arose to answer the question, he then, dazzles us with the facts. He looks at the building blocks of matter, the first humans, the sun - explaining the life and death of stars; why there’s a night and a day - ranging from our solar system to the inner workings of our planet; what a rainbow really is—going from the rainbow in your backyard to the age of the universe; and finally, he poses a question that still baffles scientists: When did everything begin?

©2011 Richard Dawkins, Ltd. (P)2011 Simon & Schuster, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"I wanted to write this book but I wasn't clever enough. Now I've read it, I am." (Ricky Gervais)
“Exhilarating. The clearest and most beautifully written introduction to science I've ever read. Again and again I found myself saying 'Oh! So that's how genes work!' (or stars, or tectonic plates, or all the other things he explains). Explanations I thought I knew were clarified; things I never understood were made clear for the first time. My favourite adjective of praise has always been "clear", and this book has clarity all the way through.” (Philip Pullman, author of The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ and the His Dark Materials trilogy)
I am often asked to recommend good books on science for young people. From now on, I will not have to hesitate. The Magic of Reality provides a beautiful, accessible and wide ranging volume that addresses the questions that all of us have about the universe, separating often too-little known facts from too-frequently believed fictions. For this reason it should be a powerful resource for people of all ages, written with the masterful and eloquently literate style of perhaps the best popular expositor of science, Richard Dawkins, and delightfully illustrated by Dave McKean. What more could anyone ask for?” (Lawrence Krauss is Foundation Professor and Director of the Origins Project at Arizona State University and the author most recently of Quantum Man, and A Universe from Nothing)

What listeners say about The Magic of Reality

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Audio version is superb for us grown-ups

If you could sum up The Magic of Reality in three words, what would they be?

eye-opening mesmerizing bravo

What other book might you compare The Magic of Reality to and why?

In a class of its own; a master and beloved teacher who is well known for his searing intellect and scorn for those who discount the collective intelligence of evidential science in favor of subjective and ancient woo, disarms himself in order to speak with gentle, unblinking clarity. Ostensibly he does this to honor his own commitment to spare youth from propaganda and unfair use of rhetorical flourish. But that technique is tremendously alluring for us grown-ups too. Here Richard Dawkins plays the wise uncle, mentoring our species to grow up and see the real world for what it really is: amazing

What about Richard Dawkins, and Lalla Ward’s performance did you like?

Their narration is more professional and alluring than that of most of the professionally narrated books I have listened to via Audible. I also loved the refreshing pattern of male and female voices taking turns.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No.

Any additional comments?

If any book could give me hope that our species might actually make it through the necessary transitions, it is this one -- provided it is widely read and listened to. I first read the hardcover, gorgeously illustrated, but was surprised I loved it far more as an author-read audiobook by which I create the pictures in my own mind while dear Uncle Richard and Aunt Lalla are reading to me!

38 people found this helpful

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Reality is not a Religion

For anyone seeking to know more about our universe, how we got here, and why reality is more fulfilling and amazing than any myth or holy book, this is for you.

If facts and evidence don't matter to you, this book will do nothing for you. Then again, no book will do anything for you.

35 people found this helpful

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A Dawkins Book.....FOR KIDS

I mean this book is "for kids" in the best way possible, because I would actually buy it for MY kid. It's good for adults too, but pretty much sums up Dawkins' other books. I always feel a few IQ points smarter when I read his books. This one makes GREAT analogies that allows the listener to easily understand some of the more complicated subjects. Highly recommend for anyone new to Dawkins.

26 people found this helpful

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Was this supposed to be a kids book?

Would you consider the audio edition of The Magic of Reality to be better than the print version?

Having not read the print version, I wouldn't know. But I liked the tag-team narration.

What did you like best about this story?

I dug the emphasis on the importance of science.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Not especially.

Any additional comments?

I really don't know how to review this book because I honestly don't know if it was meant for children. If it was, then I would add a star. I thoroughly enjoyed the juxtaposition of the mythological with the scientific. However, I did not care for the condescending tone of the text, or the narration when it came to addressing Christianity. As an atheist even I could feel Dawkins' contempt for "the Hebrew God" and I think it took away from the objectivity a bit (if that isn't ironic enough to say). All in all it was my seventh grade Earth Science text book, peppered with some mythology and anecdotes to make it mildly more engaging. I say mildly because I found my seventh grade Earth Science text book QUITE engaging as written!

14 people found this helpful

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Should be on every high school reading list.

Pretty basic stuff if you are a science buff. However, pass this one along to one of those adults who really didn't pay attention in school, or to an adolescent that you care about. A great superstition-buster.

10 people found this helpful

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Should be part of every school curriculum!

What did you love best about The Magic of Reality?

That Dawkins proves once again that reality is awsome, that we need to stop inventing supernatural stories to explain life in the universe. Life is super just as it is.

What did you like best about this story?

They bolied down some very complex theories and made them simple for anyone to understand. His model of the immensity of the universe (foot balls and perpercorns) is a great example.

What does Richard Dawkins and Lalla Ward bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

The awe that these seasoned verteans feel comes out in their voices, this is not a dry text but a love affair that they have with our planet, our galaxy, our universe.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Science and scientist are often painted with the brush that they are cold, heartless and unemotional, Lalla and Richard prove that in their case at least, this characterization is a cosmos from the truth.

10 people found this helpful

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A Great Introduction to Reality!

Although the target audience is adolescents, you will almost certainly learn a thing or two as well. Even if you don't, the very skillfull and engaging narration by Dawkins and Ward makes for an enjoyable listen.

This is the book God would have written if there were one!

7 people found this helpful

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Awesome, " read me , read me " !!!


When you read this book you will know general knowledge about Universe, Earth, etc.., how things work ,why Rainbow is full of color, I thing that every human in 21st century regarding of background, religion and education level should read this book , and then perhaps we would have same platform on one we could build our future . !! Read it you won’t be disappointed .

6 people found this helpful

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This Christian thought it was a good

Dont be fooled by other reviews. This book is most definitely for adult listeners. While I liked this book for its science theories and evolutionary views I also noticed a great deal of mockery and sarcasim towards biblical stories and other close held befliefs of the Christian world. Many children wont be able to distinguish the two views and how both God and science can be true if they read this book.

5 people found this helpful

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It's a science textbook for pre-teens

The sub-head "How we know what's really true" led me to believe the book would be about how to refute and rebut arguments from the religious right on the validity of the Bible, etc.

Instead it's a rather dull science textbook written for pre-teenagers.

And unfortunately the woman's voice and intonation makes it seem that she is speaking to someone who doesn't understand English.

I like Hawkins, but not this.

4 people found this helpful