Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Measuring the World” as Want to Read:
Measuring the World
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Measuring the World

3.71 of 5 stars 3.71  ·  rating details  ·  5,109 ratings  ·  404 reviews
Towards the end of the 18th century, naturalist and explorer, Alexander von Humboldt and mathematician and physicist, Carl Friedrich Gauss, set out to measure the world. This novel brings the two eccentric geniuses to life.
Hardcover, 259 pages
Published 2007 by Quercus (first published 2005)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Measuring the World, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Measuring the World

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Dec 15, 2011 Shovelmonkey1 rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people with low latent inhibition of which i am one
Recommended to Shovelmonkey1 by: 1001 books list and apoloniaX
So 200 years ago the world was a pretty big place. Not any bigger than it is now but it had the feel of a larger ball of rock as many humans were still scrambling about "discovering" places. Note - most of these places had already been discovered by the people who lived in them. They just didn't shout about it in quite the same way. It is also interesting to note that the people doing the scrambling about were, for the most part, European. Is this because all Europe-ers are massive nosy bastards...more
K.D. Absolutely
Aug 14, 2010 K.D. Absolutely rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2010)
Shelves: 1001-non-core
Fascinating read. A scientific historical novel (first published in 2005) originally written in German by young author, Daniel Kehlmann (born 1975). It is said to be the worldwide bestselling German novel since Patrick Suskind's Perfume in 1985.

This is a story of a two scientists during the time of Napoleon reign in Europe. The first scientist is Alexander von Humboldt who is a botanist, geologist and an explorer. He has an elder brother Wilhelm von Humboldt who lives a "normal" life, i.e., stu...more
Feb 01, 2008 Oceana2602 rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Oceana2602 by: FAZ
Daniel Kehlmann's Measuring the World was one of my birthday presents last year, and I waited almost a year to finally read it. Even though it had been on my wishlist, when it suddenly sat there on my shelf, the idea of reading about pre-industrialization Germany, about Humboldt and Gauß, two boring old scientist, seemed rather dreadful.

I should have known better. Measuring the World is not a science book. It's not about two boring old men either, though it is about two old scientist. And the wa...more
A huge success in Germany. For the life of me I can't figure out why. Which were more boring - the parts about Gauss, or the parts about Humboldt?

Trick question - they were equally soporific.

What in hell was the point of this book? if I hadn't been confined to an aeroplane, I'd never have finished it.

5 Yawns on the snoozometer.
In this novel, we follow the Adventurers/Intellectuals Alexander von Humboldt and Carl Friedrich Gauss. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel at times, yet at other times i literally fell asleep due to boredom. If Daniel Kehlmann would have removed some of the formulas or numbers that did not apply to grasping the concept of the novel, I would have given it a rating of 4, or possibly even a 5 out of 5. This novel did an excellent job of demonstrating the struggles, both physical and emotional that tho...more
La misura del mondo di Kehlmann tenta di farci stare simpatici Gauss e Humboldt narrandoci più o meno la storia della loro vita e poi il loro incontro a Berlino in chiave umoristicamente affettuosa, con l'intenzione di demolire l'aura storica attorno a loro e farceli vedere per quello che sono, umani esattamente come noi.
(Io non ho mai avuto dubbi in merito)
Il libro è effettivamente curioso e divertente fino..a pagina 30, poi precipita in un circolo vizioso di noia per la sottoscritta che non s...more
Erzählt werden zwei Geschichten, zwei Lebensläufe. Der eine von Alexander Hum-boldt, der andere Carl Friedrich Gauß. Einfach gegen einandergeschnitten werden die Lebensentwürfe dieser beiden Wissenschaftler nebeneinander gesetzt. Der Weg zum Ziel – so wohl die Grundaussage – ist unterschiedlich. Während Gauß kaum etwas von der Welt sieht und sich jeder Veränderung verweigert, reist Humboldt durch die Welt, kein Berg zu hoch, kein Fluß zu breit.
Während Gauß sich den Freuden der Liebe hingibt (neb...more
Một cuốn sách thực sự thú vị về Alexander von Humboldt và Carl Friedrich Gauss. Tôi chẳng biết gì về hai nhà khoa học này, ngoại trừ Gaussian distribution phải học trong lớp toán ra. Daniel Kehlmann ném ta về thế kỷ 18, cố tưởng tượng ra những gì đã diễn ra trong hai bộ óc ấy. Chính xác hay không, dựa vào thực tế tới mức nào, tôi chịu, nhưng rõ ràng là có hấp dẫn. Một Gauss chỉ luẩn quẩn trong nước Phổ nhưng có thực là ông không chu du khắp thế gian này bằng bộ óc của mình? Một Humboldt say mê t...more
Pierre Menard
Jun 09, 2014 Pierre Menard rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Who is inclined to turn his/her heroes into a myth, forgetting their weak spots
Recommended to Pierre by: Oscura
Gauss, il principe dei matematici, e von Humboldt, il principe degli esploratori. Due ingegni straordinari, due personaggi eccentrici, due spiriti liberi, ideali protagonisti di un romanzo che si propone di mescolare in modo equilibrato verità e finzione letteraria, per narrare una bella storia e far riflettere il lettore su alcuni temi importanti.

Dico subito che il risultato è nettamente al di sotto delle aspettative. Il primo dei (molti) difetti del romanzo di Kehlmann è l’inconsistenza della...more
Prima di leggere il libro, conoscevo di nome Gauss, mentre quello di Humboldt potrebbe essere apparso nei miei studi scolastici ma subito è stato dimenticato. Quindi la lettura è stata utile principalmente per conoscere questi due scienziati, di cui vengono narrate le avventure in capitoli alterni: ambedue tedeschi, di origini diversissime -popolare il primo, figlio di un giardiniere; di famiglia nobile il secondo- hanno vissuto vite del tutto diverse, l’uno, “enfant prodige” della matematica, s...more
Acheté dans un magasin de livres d’occasion á Copenhague au mois d’avril 2011, je savais en avance un petit trésor m’attendait. Les deux génies allemands Gauss et Humboldt font des aventures incroyables dans une quête pour mesurer le monde dans l’un des livres les plus drôles que je n’ai jamais lues. Surtout la scène oú Gauss á l’âge de 8 ans donne une leçon á son professeur de math sadique est hilarant. - Qui avait dit que les allemands n’avaient pas de sens de l’humour ?

En outre, il est frapp...more
this book was a fine and immensely fascinating and satisfying read!
i read it in one setting last nite, even stayed up late to finish it! it's that kind of book! you learn a lot about living 200 years ago, when there were no dentists, only sailboats and berlin a small town with mostly huts and dirty streets! and at the same time you are entertained! this book was a mega-bestseller in germany, he has a new book coming out called "fame", which deals with the protection of privacy in parts! i have n...more
Hauskasti kirjoitettu "seikkailukertomus" kahden tai kolmen tunnetun herrahenkilön vaiheista. Helppo lukea, ei tarvitse osata matikkaa.
Ein wunderschöner Roman über Gauß und Humboldt, der einem die Zeit der großen Dichter und Denker näherbringt und den eigentlich leeren Namen deutscher Genies aus dem Geschichtsunterricht wie Humboldt, Gauß, Kant, Goethe... Leben einhaucht und sie sehr sehr menschlich macht.
Zwei exzentrische Charaktere, die Interessantes entdeckt und faszienierend gelebt haben. Denen sehr zu empfehlen, die sich für Naturwissenschaften, Mathematik, das Nichtkonventionelle, andere Kontinente und die Welt im Allgemeinen interessieren.
"a real example of the pitiful arbitrariness of existence that you were born into a particular time and held prisoner there ... It gave you an indecent advantage over the past and made you a clown vis-a-vis the future."
Medir o mundo era o objectivo destes dois homens muito diferentes, tanto ou mais que os métodos que utilizavam para o fazer. 'A Medida do Mundo' acompanha as suas histórias, de pequenos génios a cientistas de renome, a velhos já ultrapassados no domínio da ciência, quando se tornam amigos apesar de todas as diferenças. Apesar de sobrevalorizado, não deixa de ser uma obra interessante e que nos oferece, de forma bem disposta, um pouco de história sobre estes homens pouco conhecidos do grande públ...more
Nuno Magalhães
"A Medida do Mundo" é um livro extremamente interessante na medida em que o autor provoca a reflexão do leitor sobre a natureza do ser humano ao descrever duas personalidades completamente distintas que se complementam numa busca por explicações racionais da natureza do mundo e mesmo do universo. Trata-se, no fundo, da história de dois sábios alemães que, no século XIV, tentaram, cada um à sua maneira, explicar o planeta e o cosmos, recorrendo ao pensamento científico e à sua pedra basilar: a ob...more
“Die Vermessung der Welt“ is incredibly funny. In an intelligent, refined and sophisticated way.

The story is a quite simple one: Parallelly told are the lives of two German 19th-century scientists, Alexander von Humboldt and Carl-Friedrich Gauß. And you do not need any particular scientific knowledge or interest to find the book appealing. On the other hand, the story itself is not the point, it never is (at least not to me). If I had to isolate the element from which the entire beauty of this n...more
It's 1828. (No it isn't!) No, but for the purpose of this novel, it is. Sort of. Well, that's where it starts. Or ends.

I'll start over. So it's a more-or-less fictionalised story of these two German scientists from the 18th century:

Alexander von Humboldt, geographer and explorer
Carl Friedrich Gauss, mathematician and physicist

The novel starts with the two of them meeting as old men in 1828 and then follows two parallel lines: that meeting and what happens to them afterwards forms the backdrop...more
German books that are hyped enough to get translated seem to have something in common. That something being that I don't enjoy them very much.

While I do believe that a meeting between Gauß and Humboldt could lead to an interesting book, and while I do know scientists that are so far removed from life that they're socially awkward, I don't think that focussing a book on the awkwardness of said scientists is a great idea.

Gauß, although annoying and arrogant, seems to have a grasp on what a normal...more
Ce livre relate la vie de deux grands savants allemands aux spécialités et profils bien différents. Le premier est le célèbre mathématicien Carl Friedrich Gauss. C’est un véritable génie précoce qui est tellement en avance sur son temps qu’il s’en rend lui-même compte. Il ne n’a de cesse de se lamenter en se demandant pourquoi il doit endurer le sort si cruel d’être né et de devoir vivre dans un monde si arriéré. Il pense plus vite que tout le monde et c’est principalement pour cette raison que...more
Upon finishing this book, I knew I would but tried not to be jealous of how much more some adults (privileged writers with high class educations) know than others (me). I cannot think so far from myself that I can come up with characters based on real characters and succeed in making them sound genuinely like the real people they may have been. Maybe all I need is practice (lol, probably more than practice). Here, Daniel Kehlmann expertly fictionalizes a few historic figures. And not just any hi...more
Manuel Batsching
There was quite a hype about this book and it's author a few years ago and so I was inevitably prejudiced when I opened it.

What I appreciate about this book is its sense of humor (the dialog with Kant is hilarious) and the idea to deliberately avoid direct speech in order to make the language resemble rather a travel report than a novel. This certainly adds to the athmosphere, especially of the Humboldt chapters.

At the same time I find it hard to follow those people, who read this book as a char...more
Although I did not enjoy this book, Measuring the World had good intentions. This book portrays two brilliant minds of the 18th century, Alexander Humboldt and Carl Gauss.For Humboldt and Gauss their gift is also their curse. There brilliance isolates them from the world and all those in it. It is interesting to see the world from this point of view. To think that something like knowledge, which is a highly desired trait many wish to have, can actually be a curse. Though the author brings up thi...more
Nov 03, 2012 Turtelina rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: jedem
Recommended to Turtelina by: Luise
Shelves: 2008, 2012
2008 review: One of the better books I read lately. Totally loved the first three quarters of it, the ending was good too, but still a bit disappointing. What was I hoping for? Very amusing and highly enjoyable. I recommend it!

Re-read 2012: Absolut eines der besten Buecher ueberhaupt. Genial geschrieben, mit unglaublich viel Raffinesse und Humor. Gekonnt recherchiert. Kehlmann hat Humboldt und Co aus der Geschichte hervorgeholt und sie voller Leben und Feuer wieder auferstehen lassen. Sicher nic...more
I haven't read the german version (cos I can't :D), but I think, the original version is much better than the English version. I found the English version a bit weird, and hard to understand at the beginning. Anyway the author had written it in a fancy and funny way, that made this book worth to read.

Measuring the World is a historical fiction about German scientists Alexander von Humboldt and Carl Friedrich Gauss.

The book narated about the life and adventure of each of them, how Humboldt had h...more
موضوع کتاب در رابطه با دو تا دانشمنده. در رابطه با دو تا نابغه. هومبلت جغرافی دانیه که به سرزمین های زیادی سفر کرده و خیلی مکان های ناشناخته ای کشف کرده و تمام عمرشو صرف اندازه گیری تپه ها وکوه ها و... کرده.و همچین داستان روایت کننده ی زندگی گاوس ریاضی دان و ستاره شناس برجسته و معروف که کشف های خارق العاده و جالبی رو به دنیا ارائه می کنه.این دو نفر با هم ملاقات می کنن و هدفشون اندازه گیری دنیائه.
برای من خوندن این کتاب خیلی لذت بخش بود و موقع خوندنش گذر زمان و حس نمیکردم. طنز جالبی و نثر روانی دا...more
wonderful. found myself smiling ever so often, at the quirks of the two gentlemen. i hardly ever read german (language, not country of origin) literature, but this was definitely worth it.
Die Vermessung der Welt lebt meiner Ansicht nach nicht von ihrer Handlung, vielleicht noch Nichteinmal von den Hauptfiguren.
Als sympathische Mitmenschen treten beide Wissenschaftler nicht auf: Genies, denen ein gewöhnliches Leben ebenso unlogisch erscheint wie jedem anderen ihre Formeln und Naturgesetze - wirklich nah werden sie dem Leser nie.
Was diesen Roman so genial macht, ist der subtile Humor, mit dem das Genie des Wissenschaftlers beschrieben wird, der Sinn, alles in Zahlen und Fakten zu p...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Eyes wide open: Daniel Kehlmann: Measuring the World 6 20 Nov 21, 2013 02:07AM  
  • Die Entdeckung der Langsamkeit
  • The Book About Blanche and Marie
  • Pavel's Letters
  • Schloß Gripsholm
  • The Blindness of the Heart
  • The Last World
  • Herr Lehmann
  • Jugend ohne Gott
  • Komm, süßer Tod (Brenner, #3)
  • Briefe in die chinesische Vergangenheit
  • Maria, ihm schmeckt's nicht!
  • Sand
  • The Invention of Curried Sausage
  • The German Lesson
  • Der Turm: Geschichte aus einem versunkenen Land
  • Green Henry
  • En busca de Klingsor
  • The Successor
Daniel Kehlmann is a German-Austrian author.

His novel Measuring the World was translated into more than forty languages. Awards his work has received include the Candide Prize, the Literature Prize of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, the Heimito von Doderer Literature Award, the Kleist Prize, the WELT Literature Prize, and the Thomas Mann Prize. Kehlmann divides his time between Vienna and Berlin.
More about Daniel Kehlmann...
Ruhm Ich und Kaminski F Mahlers Zeit Beerholms Vorstellung

Share This Book

“Inzwischen geht es ihm besser, manche Tage seien schon fieberfrei, auch die Träume, in denen er Baron Humboldt erwürge, zerhacke, erschieße, anzünde, vergifte oder unter Steinen begrabe, würden seltener.” 2 likes
“Insa, cand au trecut de primele suburbii ale Berlinului si Humboldt si-a inchipuit cum Gauss a cercetat corpurile ceresti prin telescopul sau in tot acest timp - corpuri ceresti ale caror orbite pot fi descrise in formule simple -, n-a mai fost in stare sa spuna care dintre ei doi a ramas acasa si care a colindat lumea.” 2 likes
More quotes…