The Knowledge has ratings and reviews. Brendon Lewis Dartnell here offers technical knowledge, but he limits it to knowledge useful for “peaceful . Apr 3, Lewis Dartnell offers vital tips for those who manage to survive Armageddon, in his cunningly packaged history of practical ideas. By Steven. The Knowledge: How to Rebuild Our World from Scratch is a book written by astrobiologist Lewis Dartnell. The book is written as a quick-start guide to restarting.

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Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — The Knowledge by Lewis Dartnell. 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 rebuild How would you go about rebuilding a technological society from scratch?

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. Every piece of technology rests on an enormous support network of other technologies, all interlinked and mutually dependent. Hardcoverpages. Published April 17th by Penguin Books first published April To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

To ask other readers questions about The Knowledgeplease sign up. If I get this as an E-book would that be one of, or, the most ironic purchase possible? Adam The author actually addresses this–the fact that it merely exists in physical print anywhere is enough.

Get the e-book and run free. See 1 question about The Knowledge…. Lists with This Book. 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. 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 page volume? Being a fan Thank you to both Netgalley and Random House UK for an advance reader copy in exchange for an honest review. Being a fan of post-apocalyptic fiction I am no stranger to the thought experiment. My older sister was assigned this novel to read in high school and complained about a stupid novel in which stupid plants come to life and kill everyone.


Not ideal for a thirteen year old girl, ideal for a eleven year old boy. Ever since then I have had a soft spot for apocalyptic fiction with stand-out favourites being ‘Earth Abides’, ‘The Walking Dead’ comics and the other works of Wyndham. So I have been part of this thought experiment for a while now. And as my education has furthered into the sciences and gone into research, my environmentalism has increased and the knowledge of human activity with respect to the stability of the climate has caused these thought experiments to become more of a possible future reality.

I believe it is within the realm of possibility that civilisation as we know it could collapse during my lifetime. The more I learn, the more I realise it would not take much at all to tip the scales into a decline in drastic decline in living standards.

It’s obvious that Lewis has thought extensively on this also. But he is infinitely more talented and had set himself the task to write an instruction manual to reboot civilisation. And despite approaching this work with complete skepticism, I come out the other side amazed and completely humbled by this work and it’s author.

Lewis has achieved exactly what he has set out to do. This is a work that I would want in my hands in an apocalypse. The irony being that I have read this reviewer copy as an e-book, the most inaccessible method of transmission of data in a coming apocalypse. A part of me even feels that paper might not be robust enough nor last long enough to hold this wisdom.

I’d sleep better at night knowing that this was reproduced in stone buried in a sealed crypt somewhere far from any cities. What Lewis offers isn’t a complete set of instructions but some methods are described in great detailbut rather an overview of differing technologies such as agriculture, food preservation, basic and advanced chemistry, communications and more with specific methods and examples of the history of certain technologies and how to reboot these technologies from scratch.

And Lewis admits that reproducing onowledge historical progression of llewis and technology is not the most efficient reboot scenario, and that just having certain knowledge can hopefully leapfrog past certain stages and methods.

He even suggests that several technologies that were adopted were inferior to abandoned competitors in hindsight and that a new civilisation should take advantage of this hindsight. Lewis’ writing is succinct,accurate and informative. His ability to refine a concept down to one or two sentences that manages to convey exactly how a thing works and why it does what it does is astounding. This is what all educators and science communicators strive for and it seems like he as a great talent.

When he was explaining concepts that I have previously learnt I was amazed at the clarity of which he would convey the ideas. How easily can you explain how refrigerators work using the laws if thermodynamics? What Lewis presents knowledgee truly an astounding work that actually does dqrtnell the potential to achieve what it set out to knoeledge. I’d recommend this book for not only any post-apocalyptic fan, but anyone interested in science, technology and any curious person who likes to know why things work.

I am now an instant fan lewsi Lewis’ and I look forward to the publication of this book in April I’ll at least be buying a paper copy.

About the book

View all 26 comments. Jul 27, Jengordon rated it it was ok. 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 with was a stretch.


The Knowledge: How to Rebuild our World from Scratch

He assumes that I read a lot of “Prepper” books, and in general, a lot of apocalyptic literature. He assumes that today’s technology and standard of living is something we should strive to re-create, without asking about technical priorities, or indeed, about how to set up social structures to perpetuate a decent standard of living. What good does it do to tell me about what a proper harness for a horse looks like, if I haven’t been told how to keep horses alive in the first place?

It’s great that hickory is a good wood for making gears and elm for making wagon wheels, but how many 21st century urbanites can tell hickory from elm from maple? And why tell me that forceps can be useful in delivery of a baby, without telling me anything about the basics of normal midwifery? Why try to tell me about electric cars after society has fallen apart being a more effective useable-energy-per-acre use of biofuels once you’ve told me that by the time we get to that point, the roads will be in a state of disrepair so as to make them useless?

I’m tempted to re-write his reboot. Start from a realistic assumption about what the world is like, and who my audience is. Are they living in a post-pandemic Boston in ?

What input materials are they likely to have?

The Knowledge: How to Rebuild our World from Scratch: : Books

Can they really scavenge so much from grocery stores in this scenario, since pandemic say, flu isn’t going to kill off everyone overnight?

The moribund living will be eating the canned goods, leaving the survivors with nothing I’ve gathered a commune full of survivors, and we’ve set up a social structure which one? What are our scavenging priorities? Tell me to locate and stockpile it so I have years of it to work with! Tell me what seeds to find and preserve — and how to preserve them! How do I manage birth control? What books from the library should I make it a priority to rescue before the building starts leaking and the rats start nesting in the books?

What resources should I scavenge — from what museums what museums have dxrtnell spinning wheels? What standard of living should I shoot for? What was available in ? And tell me what they knew at that time.

Don’t tell me how to build a radio. Tell me how to keep sheep alive. This book has a tantalizing title but disappointing contents, because daartnell it’s clear the author knows a lot, he didn’t think very much. View all 5 comments. Jul 08, Peter Mcloughlin rated it really liked it Shelves: 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 You find yourself and a band of others the survivors of a Charleton Heston like apocalypse.

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