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The New Way Things Work

4.20  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,399 Ratings  ·  41 Reviews
The information age is upon us, baffling us with thousands of complicated state-of-the-art technologies. To help make sense of the computer age, David Macaulay brings us The New Way Things Work. This completely updated and expanded edition describes twelve new machines and includes more than seventy new pages detailing the latest innovations. With an entirely new section t ...more
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published October 26th 1998 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published 1998)
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Nov 24, 2007 Monk rated it really liked it
My parents got me this book when I was a kid for Christmas. I still have it on my shelf, and it's still actually a really good, really informative reference book. Like any other David Macaulay book, it's fully illustrated (another Caldecott winner I believe) and fun to just look at. The texts read fairly clearly as well, and it outlines everything from the simple tools (wedges, inlined planes, levers, and wheels) to the insanely complex (Solid rocket boosters for the space shuttle and nuclear po ...more
Amar Pai
Jun 30, 2011 Amar Pai rated it liked it
The drawings are too messy. It's nice that this book is organized by principle of operation (lever, pulley, etc.) rather than function. But the illustrations don't really illustrate things very well-- especially for machines where you need to visualize all 3 dimensions.

Whatever happened to electronic paper? This book would be awesome if the diagrams were all animated. Sure you could go to a web site, but resolution/portability are so much better with a real book. You can't read the internet in t
Nov 17, 2014 Noah rated it it was amazing
You can learn a lot of really cool things from non-fiction books. Non-fiction is fact based and should be unbiased but isn’t always. It could include cross section books, true stories, informational books or how to’s. The subjects could be historical events, science, geography and culture or interesting facts. Do you know how a photocopier works? The New Way Things Work, by David Macaulay is about going behind the scenes of very simple to very complex mechanics and science. The book is about how ...more
Apr 08, 2010 Joey rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Shelves: non-fiction
This is a neat book explaining all that high and "techy" stuff which can be so hard to comprehend---until now. The Author and Illustrator, David Macaulay, really did a great job on this. It seems as if it's a long book (400 pgs.) but there so many illustrations it actually isn't too lengthy, and trust me, even if you're like me and aren't "techy", this book is not boring at all. Very enjoyable and a great way to introduce children to the Way Things Work!
Lisa Campbell
Aug 02, 2015 Lisa Campbell rated it it was amazing
Categories/Genres for this class fulfilled by this book- Picture book, Young Adult, Nonfiction
Estimate of grade level of interest-8th grade and up
Estimate of reading level- 12year and up
Brief description-Local author, David MacCaulay, has updated his illustrated reference book on the world of machines. Highly detailed pictures of machines, are interspersed with whimsical Mammoths that help illustrate the purposes inherent in the machine/concept being discussed!
Identify at least 2 characteristic
Ben Eggleston
Aug 18, 2015 Ben Eggleston rated it it was amazing
This is an amazingly comprehensive introduction to the workings of hundreds of machines, from levers to televisions. As with most of Macaulay's books, brief texts are accompanied by informal but detailed sketches that are both informative and fun to look at. This book is great for browsing or as a reference book.
Jb O'pry
Mar 31, 2014 Jb O'pry rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
This is one of my favorite books that I have ever read. It is fun and informative. The book has these funny stories with mammoths and how things were discovered. There was even a cartoon on this book. This book starts with the simplest stuff, like gears and screws, then goes to the most complicated things like how a computer processes information. You can start reading this book not knowing how things work at all and finish this book knowing how everything works. You feel kind of smart after you ...more
Dec 11, 2015 Lily rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2015, suspended, gift
Perused before giving as a gift. We heard Macaulay speak at a Book Fair in Vermont this fall. Fascinating to hear him describe the creation process for these amazing books. The "little" Mammoth is a fun guide through the pages.
Sophie Nora
Apr 21, 2014 Sophie Nora rated it really liked it
My brothers and i love this book. it is filled with comical pictures and diagrams which don't just TELL you what happens when you get an X ray, but it shows you. Great for homeschooling. I also recomend The way we work, by the same author.
Charles Barr
Dec 30, 2015 Charles Barr rated it liked it
Not as good as when I read it when I was a kid... Perhaps it's because of (1) changes in technology since 1998 and (2) I'm familiar with about half the material
Jul 01, 2008 Melissa rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-nerd
This book is rad. If college physics bored you to tears and left you plotting various ways to murder your professor--maybe I'm alone on that one--you should give this book a try. I had no idea that levers, spur gears and planes could actually be interesting, much less "boring-sounding" concepts like force or work...but I was oh-so-wrong.

A quirky little narrator leads you through the book, stopping along the way to introduce the surprisingly small amount of components which make up nearly every o
Chester Richmond
Mar 15, 2013 Chester Richmond rated it liked it
Shelves: informational
Macaulay outdoes himself in this massive compilation that covers the broad subjects of mechanics of movement, harnessing the elements, working with waves, electricity and automation, the digital domain, and the invention of machines. Each section could become the centerpiece to a plethora of lessons. Detailed description and illustration of how wheels and axels work in different inventions could teach your students foundational knowledge that could be applied to an abundance of subjects at a lat ...more
Alain Aguilar
Sep 05, 2014 Alain Aguilar rated it it was amazing
Shelves: useful-stuff
I love this book even better than the original,but i find that it is still a little outdated.I do however like how it breaks down the objects and shows how they work.the mammoth is nice too
Go Muang
Dec 12, 2014 Go Muang rated it it was amazing
I think is story is good because I learn how things are work together.
Oct 04, 2014 Catherine rated it it was amazing
Absolutely one of my favorites.
Jan 16, 2016 ODL rated it it was amazing
One of the best books ever!!!
Jul 14, 2015 Matthew rated it it was amazing

This book is AWESOME! As a Technology Teacher, I use this as well as the previously released way things work to create assignments. Wonderful resources that kids will spend entire class periods looking through. I call it an engineer's (and a teacher's) dream book - as it explains how things work very practically and with great pictures (and woolly mammoths!)...From toilets, to nuclear warheads.
Jan 22, 2014 Amber rated it really liked it
It was really confusing. the only thing I understood was how a key works. and I barely understood THAT!
JoshuaB CLC
Jan 22, 2014 JoshuaB CLC rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Good and informational.
Jul 14, 2012 Lora rated it it was amazing
Oh boy, a book you can pore over and over and over! My kids ate this book up, and went and did some research on their own after reading parts of it. It's a great book, and the mammoth cartoons added character. I checked to make sure my kids took the mammoth with a grain of salt, and they just rolled their eyes at me, so that wasn't a problem.
WSL Library
Jan 14, 2014 WSL Library added it
Shelves: science
Jenny Brown
Aug 09, 2009 Jenny Brown rated it it was amazing
Few authors can break down complex topics the way David Macaulay can. If you’re child responds to every answer with another “why?,” this is the book you want.

Full review:
Dec 03, 2011 A.B. rated it really liked it
I’ll be honest, I didn’t read every entry in this book. But that is because the breadth of the information is simply amazing. Colorful, vibrant, and humorous even, it really is the perfect book to leave sitting in a classroom for a curious reader.
Sep 23, 2007 Nathan rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: The curious.
Shelves: science, reference
Stop. Put down your phone. Don't call the library to ask how that toaster works. Check with this book first. Satiate your curiosity. Feel empowered. Be amused at the witty illustrations. Breathe. Feel relaxed. Put down the phone.

Margaret Metz
My sons thought this book was so much fun that I had to keep dragging it out of their bedroom to use it for school. This is one of those books they read for fun. You have to love that.
Jul 23, 2007 Nicole rated it really liked it
Reference book for kids on the physics of "how things work". Everything from toilets to Cameras is listed here, along with cute little caveman and mammoth cartoons as illustrations.
Sarah Ziskend
Apr 01, 2013 Sarah Ziskend rated it really liked it
Good for:
- good for students interested in robotics or how things are made
- good for teaching engineering and technology
-could be used as a wholemgroupmread aloud
May 08, 2010 Sarah rated it really liked it
This is the current bedtime book Mark is reading the the kids. They love telling me all about what they learned the night before. A very fun way to learn physics.
Joshua Kyle
Nov 06, 2012 Joshua Kyle rated it it was amazing
This book was my Aristotle for so many years of my youth.

Catapulting mammoths, the place the poop goes in castles, circuitries beautiful elegance...
Feb 29, 2008 Rachel rated it it was amazing
this is a great book -- for kids and adults. the illustrations are great and the explanations are clear and engaging.
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David Macaulay, born in 1946, was eleven when his parents moved from England to Bloomfield, New Jersey. He found himself having to adjust from an idyllic English childhood to life in a fast paced American city. During this time he began to draw seriously, and after graduating from high school he enrolled in the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). After spending his fifth year at RISD in Rome on ...more
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