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Our Own Devices: How Technology Remakes Humanity

3.19 of 5 stars 3.19  ·  rating details  ·  58 ratings  ·  11 reviews
This delightful and instructive history of invention shows why National Public Radio dubbed Tenner “the philosopher of everyday technology.” Looking at how our inventions have impacted our world in ways we never intended or imagined, he shows that the things we create have a tendency to bounce back and change us.

The reclining chair, originally designed for brief, healthful
Paperback, 336 pages
Published June 8th 2004 by Vintage (first published June 3rd 2003)
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Brent Ranalli
I picked up this book for the parts about walking in different cultures, and found that Tenner had concisely and wittily summarized almost everything I had already found in the literature, and pointed me in a few new directions. The quality of the research was so good, I had to read the whole book.

And on the whole, the book is very rewarding. I can't give it five stars, though (which in my mind means YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK) for the flaws other readers have noted. There are parts that are too lo
From baby bottles and formula to helmets, Tenner covers nine body technologies and how they have shaped our interactions with each other and the environment. Technologies include: bottles and formula, the ubiquitous zori aka thong aka flip-flop, athletic shoes, ergonomic office furniture, reclining chairs, musical keyboards, textual keyboards, eyeglasses, and helmets.

Tenner's book has such an excellent premise and such poor reviews that I really wanted to like it. However, his previous critics
So far, very hard to get through. I'm about half-way. Packed with information, and occasionally reads more like an encyclopedia. Parts are very interesting, about spectacles, or shoes...but it remains to be seen if I will ever read every word. It's become a periodic read, rather than a straight-through read. Will update if I ever finish it.
Frederick Bingham
This book is about various basic items used by humans and how they have been altered over the years. The subjects included shoes, keyboards (computer and musical), office chairs and baby bottles. The book went into the history of each of these items. Some of the discussions were interesting, but most a little too detailed for my taste.
This book is very detailed at times. There are times that a diagram or picture would be very helpful. I found reading it a section at a time made it enjoyable with out getting frustrated at the amount of infomation.
An ok history of devices and how they have shaped us; from footwear to glasses; helmets to recliners. At times this is truly interesting book but at other times it gets bogged down in the details.
Jan 28, 2012 Paul added it
Interesting read about things that we learn rather than things we innately know. And how they are different between cultures or because of technology. Such as sitting or breast feeding.
Jerod H
I read this for the chapters on flip-flops and athletic shoes for thesis research. It is quite fascinating how our products affect our lives in unforeseen and almost uncontrollable ways.
A look at how shoes, chairs, keyboards and typewriters (among other inventions) have made their mark (literally) on both human history and the human form.
Guy Cranswick
Really interesting. Just when you thought it was impossible to know anything more about tyres, Tenner delivers.
Mar 26, 2009 Sean added it
Didn't manage to get through this one.
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Edward Tenner is the author of Our Own Devices and Why Things Bite Back, former college teacher and executive editor in book publishing, now an independent writer and speaker on technology and society and contributor to major newspapers, magazines, and web sites.
More about Edward Tenner...
Why Things Bite Back: Technology and the Revenge of Unintended Consequences Tech Speak, or How to Talk High Tech

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“If we define technology as a modification of the environment, then we must recognize the complementary principle of technique: how that modification is used in performance. New objects change behavior, but not always as inventors and manufacturers imagine. And changes in behavior of people, as of bears and dogs, inspire new hardware, which in turn engenders more innovations.4” 0 likes
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