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The Magic of Reality: How We Know What's Really True
The Magic of Reality: How We Know What's Really True
The Magic of Reality: How We Know What's Really True
Audiobook6 hours

The Magic of Reality: How We Know What's Really True

Written by Richard Dawkins

Narrated by Richard Dawkins and Lalla Ward

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars



About this audiobook

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?

A Simon & Schuster audio production.

Release dateOct 4, 2011
The Magic of Reality: How We Know What's Really True

Richard Dawkins

Richard Dawkins was first catapulted to fame with his iconic work The Selfish Gene, which he followed with a string of bestselling books. Part one of his autobiography, An Appetite for Wonder, was published in 2013. Dawkins is a Fellow of both the Royal Society and the Royal Society of Literature. He is the recipient of numerous honours and awards, including the Royal Society of Literature Award (1987), the Michael Faraday Award of the Royal Society (1990), the International Cosmos Prize for Achievement in Human Science (1997), the Kistler Prize (2001), the Shakespeare Prize (2005), the Lewis Thomas Prize for Writing about Science (2006), the Galaxy British Book Awards Author of the Year Award (2007), the Deschner Prize (2007) and the Nierenberg Prize for Science in the Public Interest (2009). He retired from his position as Charles Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University in 2008 and remains a Fellow of New College. In 2012, scientists studying fish in Sri Lanka created Dawkinsia as a new genus name, in recognition of his contribution to the public understanding of evolutionary science. In the same year, Richard Dawkins appeared in the BBC Four television series Beautiful Minds, revealing how he came to write The Selfish Gene and speaking about some of the events covered in this autobiography. In 2013, Dawkins was voted the world's top thinker in Prospect magazine's poll of over 10,000 readers from over 100 countries.

Reviews for The Magic of Reality

Rating: 4.523255813953488 out of 5 stars

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  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    Excellent explanations of common scientific theories well written for the intended audience (8-14 year olds). As an adult with a decent understanding of science I sometimes found it a little over-explained and occasionally Dawkins repeats himself to make a point stick. Even so I found a great deal of value in the book and definitely took note of several sections which would help to explain scientific theories to others. The section on evolution was particularly well explained.
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    The perfect introduction to not just science, but also the scientific method. Also contains perhaps the best, simplest explanation of why bad things happen, which I can paraphrase here: bad things happen because things happen, and the things that happen don't know for themselves whether they are bad or not.
  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
    An ok book aimed at teenagers. No great depth, but an ok read.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    Dawkins uses several simple questions, such as "Why are there so many different kinds of animals?", as starting points for providing simple, clearly reasoned discussions of evolution, the creation of the universe, and other scientific "magic". He starts out most chapters by discussing some of the myths that have grown up to explain things, then shows how the scientific method has revealed far more accurate--and to Dawkins, more magical--explanations. In discussing these myths, he makes no differentiation between those of the ancients and those of currently popular world religions. Jesus is described only as "a Jewish preacher." I'm sure Dawkins smiled every time he wrote that phrase. I'm a nonbeliever myself, so none of this bothers me, but I do think Dawson at times displays a misunderstanding of faith in general. He debunks the Miracle of Fatima, for instance, by saying that if the sun had actually zoomed down closer to the earth, everyone would have been incinerated. But for the faithful, that is beside the point. If their god could make the sun do that, then their god could also make it happen without harming anyone or without the sun appearing to move for anyone not at Fatima! Still, Dawkins is a patient teacher, reiterating the advantages of the scientific method in each chapter and making the essential point that scientists are always seeking the truth, and if that means dispensing with an old theory when a better one takes its place, so be it. My biggest annoyance with the book, and what keeps it from earning five stars, are the times when Dawkins cites some sort of exception or special case to what he is talking about, but says it would take too long to explain it, then moves on without even a brief aside that would at least point readers in the right direction to find out more information. I would recommend this book mainly for middle schoolers. I read it to see if it would be suitable as the next science book for my 12-year old homeschooled daughter to read. It passed the test.BTW, I read the trade paperback edition. It has only black and white illustrations for each chapter. I believe there is an edition with better, more numerous color illustrations. I would highly recommend purchasing that version for a few dollars more. There were a few times reading then when I wished for a clear illustration to help illuminate the point Dawkins was making.
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    This is the fourth book of Richard Dawkins that I have read - God Delusion, Blind Watchmaker, Selfish Gene and now Magic of Reality.There is one thing common in all these four books (something tells me you can include other books to this list as well) - he encourages an attitude to think on your own.Coming to this book, there were some parts of the book that I felt were obvious and not new while I read through it. But that probably is because I have read quite a few books on Evolution, Universe and other Science-related issues. Though they were a repetition for me, I definitely liked the way the author put them in words. A few years ago I picked up the book The Energy of Life - Guy Brown just for general reading purposes, but it in turn spawned an insatiable interest in me to know the how/what/why of things. This book has the potential to do the same.There are many chapters of the book that I like, but the one that stands out for me was the part where they talk about how the Immune system works and it's impact on the body.I recommend this book for anyone.
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    One of the best rational, sophisticated, scientific and contemplative books to read.
    It would surely make you think back to this world, to beliefs, to your existence, to magic, to miracles, to folk tales, to good and bad omens, to luck, to life, to the creator, and answers it all in a very simple elegant way. ???salutes to Sir Richard Dawkins....