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The Magic of Reality: How We Know What's Really True and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
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The Magic of Reality: How We Know What's Really True Audio CD – Audiobook, Unabridged

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Product Details

  • Audio CD: 6 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio; Unabridged edition (Oct. 4 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1442341769
  • ISBN-13: 978-1442341760
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 12.7 x 15.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 181 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #151,992 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


A charming and free-ranging history of science. Sunday Times Prodigiously illustrated and beautifully designed ... I cannot think of a better, or simpler, introduction to science. The Guardian The text is persuasive whatever one's age ... the chapter on rainbows has the clearest explanation of how they appear that I've ever seen. The Financial Times It's 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. Philip Pullman I wanted to write this book but I wasn't clever enough. Now I've read it, I am. Ricky Gervais --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Richard Dawkins is a Fellow of the Royal Society and was the inaugural holder of the Charles Simonyi Chair of Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University. He is the acclaimed author of many books including The Selfish Gene, Climbing Mount Improbable, Unweaving the Rainbow, The Ancestor’s Tale, The God Delusion, and The Greatest Show on Earth. Visit him at

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4.6 out of 5 stars
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By STEPHEN PLETKO TOP 50 REVIEWER on Dec 4 2011
Format: Hardcover

"The truth is more magical--on the best and most exciting sense of the word--than any myth or made-up mystery or miracle. Science has its own magic: the magic of REALITY."

The above extract comes at the very end of this extraordinary book by Richard Dawkins with illustrations by Dave McKean. Dawkins is a British ethologist (the scientific study of animal behaviour), evolutionary biologist and author. He is emeritus fellow of New College, a constituent college of the University of Oxford in the UK and was this university's Professor for the Public Understanding of Science from 1995 to 2008. McKean has illustrated and designed many award-winning books and graphic novels.

The chapters of this book are titled by a question like "What is the sun?" or "Why are there so many different kinds of animals?" Most chapters usually begin with some mythical answers to a chapter title question. (Amazingly, many people today believe these mythical answers.) Then a scientific or reality-based answer to the question is provided.

Who can read this book? Anyone aged 120 to 12 (including those adults who still think like children). For those with a solid science background, this book can be regarded as a good review of important concepts.

The myths chosen for this book are from around the world such as Babylonian, Judeo-Christian, Aztec, Maori, Aboriginal, Nordic, Hellenic, Chinese, and Japanese. One chapter includes modern alien abduction mythology and another chapter omits mythology altogether (there is a reason for this omission and Dawkins explains why).
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39 of 42 people found the following review helpful By A. Volk #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on Oct. 7 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book really is an introduction to the world of science, and how science answers questions that were previously answered using magical or supernatural explanations. Like a US reviewer said, when I was younger, I believed in supernatural explanations and phenomena. As a curious lad, I was eager to soak up any information that I could, and some of those explanations sounded pretty plausible. The only problem (and it was a big one) was that I didn't have a gauge for how reliable one explanation was compared to another.

Metaphorically, neither did humanity until science came around. In both cases (mine and humanity's), science provided the tool for which to measure how reliable an explanation was in relation to another. How to compare two otherwise equal explanations based on explanatory and predictive power based on reliable data. This book pits common stories of creation and causation on a whole rage of topics, from the origins of species, to what we are made of, to the cycles of seasons and day/night. Most of the chapters start off with a "magical" explanation that is based on religion. All religions are represented here, including ancient and/or tribal religions. The book then moves on to explaining the phenomenon in question using simple, logical science.

I've rated this book five stars, but for two important audiences, it won't be.

First, for experienced scientists or science readers, this book will be pretty low-level. It's aimed at people who aren't familiar with science and its explanations (e.g., Dawkins cites ~20% of Europeans don't know how long it takes us to orbit the sun, and why- this is the book for them). It would also work well for younger readers. I can see ages 12+ absorbing this book quite well.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Viviana on April 30 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The magic of reality is not only a wonderful book for kids but for the grown ups.
I think this book is a beautiful way to give kids tools to judge for their selves.

I come from South America. My family is Roman Catholic. As a child I was sent to “study” Catechism but I didn’t make it to the end. I was fired.

During my catechism classes, I once asked the priest how come he could believe somebody could walk on water. Then, I continued, do you really believe that? Is that what you say serious?

As I was asking questions, the priest sent me back home three times. After the third time not even my grandma could talk the priest into letting me in again.

My grandma was very worry because of the church and what people would say and of course my future in hell. I was sad too but not for the same reasons. At that time, I didn’t understand too much about religion or heaven or hell.

I was also sad because it was the first time I had to deal with rejection and on top of that I’ve lost all the friends I have made during few Catechism classes.

I tell you this story because if, as a kid, I had have an idea about how we know what is really true, I would have been equipped to judge by myself and better deal with it.

I read The Magic of Reality in 2012 I now buy it as a gift for the first communion of my niece.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Juliette Rae on Dec 9 2011
Format: Hardcover
Purchased this for teenaged niece and nephew and read it myself first. Interesting presentation of how to use scientific evidence to explain things like: what is reality, what are things made of, the reason for day and night, the seasons, earthquakes, when and how did everything begin, who was the first person. He starts each chapter with several myths that were used to explain these questions in ancient times. Written at an adult level and would be suitable for teens who like to read and learn. Lots of good illustrations. Very entertaining and thought-provoking style of writing.
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