Author: A. C. Grayling
Category: Science - General
I am currently looking to move house and in preparation I've been trying to read books that have been on my shelf too long. These are books I have been meaning to get to for years. Often gifts or books I thought were interesting last time I browsed a book store.
The Frontiers of Knowledge by A. C. Grayling was one of those books. I took advantage of a timely Audible credit and picked up the audiobook version, leaving the physical copy as something to pass on to someone else.
The Frontiers of Knowledge explores how humans have compounded our understanding of the world. From our early beginnings as early sapiens through to modern discoveries in quantum mechanics. Split into three sections, the book explores the history of progress in science, psychology and historical inquiry. In doing so, Grayling presents some commonalities and consistent stumbling blocks on our quest to further enlightenment.
Each section aims to begin as early in the development of that field as is useful. For science, this begins at the development of early tools. For historical inquiry, the earliest records of human kind. Through each topic we take an entertaining and broad path through discoveries and missteps on the path to our current understanding.
This high level review keeps the book moving at a comfortable pace. An expert in any of the topics covered will find their field described only at a high level. While this may be frustrating for the expert, the intended general audience for the book will likely appreciate the accessibility of the topics covered.
I listened to this book primarily whilst out walking the dog. It made for an entertaining walk and I picked up a few interesting historical tidbits along the way (did you know they used to flood the Colosseum for nautical combat displays).
When thinking about where the physical copy of this book will end up (assuming it doesn't end up in a general donation box) I'll be looking to pass it onto someone with a broad interest in science and humanities. Overall this was a good read and I'd recommend it to anyone looking for a quick and broad description of human progress and how far we have come.