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How to Invent Everything

How to Invent Everything is a deeply researched history of the key technologies that made each stage of human civilization possible (from writing and farming to buttons and birth control).

Ryan North

What would you do if a time machine hurled you thousands of years into the past… and then broke? How would you survive? Could you improve on humanity's original timeline? And how hard would it be to domesticate a giant wombat?

Don't worry: in How to Invent Everything, bestselling author and time-travel enthusiast Ryan North has figured out the answers to those four questions — and more — just for you. This guide contains all the science, engineering, mathematics, art, music, philosophy, facts and figures required for even the most clueless time traveler to build a civilization from the ground up. 

How to Invent Everything is a deeply researched history of the key technologies that made each stage of human civilization possible (from writing and farming to buttons and birth control), but it's as fun and entertaining as a good time-travel novel. It will make you smarter, more competent, and completely prepared to thrive — in any point in history. And, on the off chance you don't one day find yourself stranded in time, this fascinating guide to the ideas and technologies that made us who we are today will at least allow you to make some really interesting cocktail party small talk with a complete stranger. (From Riverhead Books)

From the book

But what's fascinating is despite the fact that modern human bodies were now available, nothing really changed. For more than 150,000 years, these humans behaved pretty much the same as any other protohuman species. And then, around the year 50,000 BCE, something happened: these anatomically modern humans suddenly started acting like us. They began to fish, create art, bury their dead, and decorate their bodies. They began to think abstractly.

Most important, they began to talk.


From How to Invent Everything by Ryan North ©2018. Published by Riverhead Books.

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