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The Ascent of Man

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  5,408 ratings  ·  199 reviews
Lauded by critics & devoured by readers, this companion to the BBC series traces the development of science as an expression of the special gifts that characterize humans & make us preeminent animals. Bronowski's exciting, illustrated investigation offers a perspective not just on science, but on civilization itself.
Lower than the angels
The harvest of the
Paperback, 520 pages
Published September 1st 1976 by Little Brown and Company (first published 1973)
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Richard Kolivoski One thing that Carl Sagan asserts is the wonders of the Cosmos and the comparative insignificance of mankind. Bronowski is not Sagan. He will…moreOne thing that Carl Sagan asserts is the wonders of the Cosmos and the comparative insignificance of mankind. Bronowski is not Sagan. He will demonstrate with equal vigor and insight, that mankind possesses the one thing that no other being or known force in the universe can-- the ability to change the environment through thought and action.

I agree with Sagan that mankind is not the pinnacle of all creation. We are not the center of the universe, nor was the universe designed for us. Bronowski, in contrast, reminds us that humans are still fascinating, inventive, beings capable great things.(less)

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Joshua Nomen-Mutatio
Nov 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Joshua Nomen-Mutatio by: Bobby Trigg
"It's said that science will dehumanize people and turn them into numbers. That's false, tragically false. Look for yourself. This is the concentration camp and crematorium at Auschwitz. This is where people were turned into numbers. Into this pond were flushed the ashes of some four million people. And that was not done by gas. It was done by arrogance, it was done by dogma, it was done by ignorance. When people believe that they have absolute knowledge, with no test in reality, this is how the ...more
Roy Lotz
Mar 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Fifty years from now, if an understanding of man’s origins, his evolution, his history, his progress is not in the common place of the school books, we shall not exist.

I watched this series right after finishing Kenneth Clark’s Civilisation, as I’d heard The Ascent of Man described as a companion piece. So like my review of Clark’s work, this review is about the documentary and not the book (though since the book is just a transcription of the series, I’m sure it applies to both).

The Ascent o
Nov 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science
THE ASCENT OF MAN. (1973; this ed. 2011). Jacob Bronowski. ****.
It’s hard to believe that almost forty years ago I was watching this series on PBS. I immediately went out and bought the companion book to the series and read it straight through. This edition, published by The Folio Society, is a reprint of that edition with a new foreword by Mervyn Bragg, and was one of the presentation volumes for 2012 members. After reading it again, I found that some of its contents were slightly dated, but o
Jason Estrin
Aug 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant. This book inspired me in a way that I've never been before. What is explained by the man, is nothing short of crystal clear descriptions of Humankind's physical, scientific, sociological and theological discoveries from the very first roaming tribes to our modern era. It is presented, stripped of the wordy, overly philosophical ramblings and data heavy meanderings found in other books that cover similar subject matter. Concise, endearing, earthy, genius. A must for anybody who needs a ...more
Paul Brogan
Aug 31, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: science
There are two things to remember about this book. First, it was published in 1973: it is surprising how, in the course of only 40 years, our knowledge of our evolutionary history has advanced. Second, it was originally a TV series made by the BBC: the book is arranged into 13 essays, I assume based on the original episodes.

The book starts logically enough at our roots in east Africa five million years ago. Bronowski doesn’t make nearly enough of how touch-and-go it was, not only then but at seve
Koen Crolla
May 09, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biology
I never thought I'd say this, but this book would be better if it had been written by an anthropologist rather than a mathematician.

The Ascent of Man is the companion book to the 1973 BBC documentary of the same name; I didn't realise this when I bought it (I haven't seen it), but I remembered I knew of its existence upon reading the introduction. It certainly reads like a BBC documentary, with a tediously slow and pompous prose that works better for television narration by David Attenborough or
Apr 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
التطور الحضاري الذي استغرق الانسان آلاف السنين حصره الرياضي جاكوب برونوفسكي في عدة فصول.
لم يتطور الانسان الا بالاستيطان لما بدأ يدجن بعض الحيوانات- الكلب أولها :) ثم الماعز و ما يؤكل لحمه، ثم حيوانات الجر- و يزرع بعض النباتات. و من هنا انطلقت المدنية فكانت أول مستوطنة هي أريحا، و كذلك كانت بداية الحروب، اذا غارت مجموعة من البدو الرحل لتسلب حاصدي القمح ما فاض عندهم من حنطه، و من ذلك يتضح أن الحروب ليست غريزية، بل هي شكل من أشكال السرقة و اللصوصية.
ثم يعرض ارتقاء الانسان بالاعمار و استخراجه للمعادن
Simon Hollway
Mar 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: anthropology, 2016
Powerful stuff...consistently sublime segues between chapters, historical periods and theories. At least a dozen phenomenal insights into several anthropological mainstays. A manner of metaphor and analogy that distills entire theses into a single, resonant sentence. Humility of expression and thought twinned with a generosity of spirit keep the subject in the spotlight throughout whilst the narrator discretely maintains the tempo unseen, offstage.

As suitable for the adept as it is for either th
أحمد فضيض

كان من الممكن أن استمع إلى كلمات هذا الكتاب بينما أشاهد لقطات طبيعية أخّاذة، أو توثيق لحياة قبائل بدائية، أو أشاهد مواقع الحفريات والآثار، أو إعادة تمثيل لأحداث تاريخية مرّت ببعض العلماء، أو حتى محاكاة مجسمة لعمل الخلايا والجزئيات، فالكتاب في الأصل هو نَص تعليقات برنامج وثائقي اسمه ارتقاء الإنسان، أعدّه المؤلف وعُرف به، وأذاعته قناة البي بي سي الوثائقية، ثم لما مرّت سنة على انتهاء حلقات البرنامج، مات صاحبه!، أو كما يقتبسون من الإنجيل في صفحة وفيات الأهرام: فلما انقضت أيام خدمته انصرف إلى بيته

Apr 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Okuması zaman aldı. Ancak bilinsel yayınlar zaten hep böyledir. Bu kitabı diğer bilinsel yayınlardan ayıran ise çok daha kolay anlaşılır dili.
Taaa ilk insandan başlamış ve kısa bir tarih özeti çıkarmış yazar. Oldukça faydalı. Kapaktan evrim anlaşılsa bile kitap sadece evrimle başlıyor ama süratle ilerlieyip sanayi devrimi iç savaşlar avrupa asya kadim medeniyetler ve her şeyden kısaca bahsediyor.
Jee Koh
Jul 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
Based on the BBC television series of the same name, The Ascent of Man charts the development of human civilization through the lens of scientific progress. Though clearly intended to be only an introduction to its subjects, the book is tremendously wide in scope, taking in paleontology, architecture, alchemy, industrialization, quantum physics and genetics; noticeably, it has little to say about psychology. It is organised in powerful thematic chapters that are also more or less chronological. ...more
Mohammed Alsalik

يتحدث الكتاب عن التطور الحضاري للإنسان والذي بدأ كما يقول الكتاب منذ عشرة الآف سنة فقط والذي بدأ عندما اتخذ الانسان قراره بالتوقف عن الترحال والإستقرار في مدينة ..منذ ذلك الوقت فقط بدأت مسيرة الحضارة
أكبر خطوة في ارتقاء الإنسان تكمن في انتقاله من مرحلة البداوة الى المرحلة الزراعية وتأسيس القرية

ثم ينتقل للحديث عن تطور العلوم وتقدمها ويبدأ بالرياضيات التي يعتبرها أكثر العلوم دقة وأعمقها فكرا وينتقل بعده لعلم الفلك ويروي قصة العالم غاليليو وصراعه مع الكنيسة ومحكمة التفتيش ويروي تفاصيل محاكمته
Seizure Romero
Jan 04, 2008 rated it really liked it
This book was assigned for a college course I took about a thousand years ago. The instructor was obsessed with Jacob Bronowski, so he played many, if not all of the documentary episodes that went along with the book, probably so he could sit in the corner and hide his boner (c'mon, the course was called "The Ascent of Man" fer chrissakes. It should have been called "The Life and Times of Jacob Bronowski Plus Some Stuff That Might Make You Ungrateful Wankers Appreciate Not Living in Mud Huts." T ...more
Joan Colby
Jan 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A marvelous study of man’s rise shown through the lens of scientific discoveries. Written for the intelligent layman, and the basis of the lauded TV series, this is an essential book for anyone interested in the evolution of science.
Feb 28, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: gave-up-on
I did not finish this book so I won't officially count it in my own stats as read. But there's no real way to indicate that here. They need an "abandoned" choice. The reason why I'm reviewing it is because there are numerous errors in the first chapter that make this a problematic read. That's as far as I got. These errors have to do with human evolution. This book was originally published in 1973 so that explains some of the mistakes, but not all. And the mistakes that would not be blamed on th ...more
Apr 09, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very good passages here and there and definitely worth reading. Still, most of the time a strange mix of philosophy and science in which neither gets to bloom the way that it could have. Probably better to watch it as the TV show (of which this book is the almost 1:1 transcript).
İnsandaki entelektüel arayış, uğraş devam ettiği sürece, insanın yükselişi de devam edecektir. Yazar, kitabı iki temel sorunun üzerine inşa etmiş:
1- Neden diğer türler değil de insan bu derece yükseldi?
2- Bu yükselmede lokomotifliği kim yaptı?

Kitap boyunca bu sorulara yanıtlar arıyoruz ve bunları tartışıyoruz. Yazarın görüşü, insanın diğer türlerden evrimsel olarak daha avantajlı olmasını sağlayan bazı özelliklerinin bulunmasıdır. Bunlar doğayı biçimlendirme ve bir uğraş amacıyla kullanma, doğay
Pejman Shojaeion
Nov 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
اگر در تمام زندگي ميونه خوبي با علم نداشتين و مي خواهيد در طول يك كتاب با علم و فلسفه علم به زبان ساده آشنا بشيد و خلاصه اي از سير تمدن بشر را مطالعه كنيد ، اين كتاب رو توصيه مي كنم
"عروج انسان اثر برونوسكي"
Dec 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'Knowledge is our destiny. Self-knowledge, at last bringing together the experience of the arts and the explanations of science, waits ahead of us.'

Copy found while wasting time in Bloomsbury's Skoob Books.
Daniel Gonçalves

Writing is a revitalizing experience. It changes your mind, and it turns your body into a magical soul. Although I don’t believe in spiritualisms, I am truly confident that the human condition is perpetuated by our own behaviours. In the end, it isn’t really important the way we lived, but why we lived. Did we populate the Earth to reproduce and eat, like 99 percent of all other species? Or were we born in order to shift the perspective of our universe? By reading the immensely significant writi
The Ascent of Man by Jacob Bronowski is a wonderful book about the beginnings of the human species and all of the fascinating and incredible leaps and bounds in knowledge and technology we have made.

There are 12 chapters and they touch upon so many different subjects. Our story begins in the savannas of Africa, where our ancestors were once tree dwellers and eventually began to walk upright. Humans transformed stones into tools and became hunter-gatherers, ultimately bringing forth the Neolithic
Todd Martin
Aug 30, 2008 rated it liked it
This book is based on a television documentary series produced in 1973 by the BBC in association with Time-Life Films. The title alludes to The Descent of Man by Charles Darwin. The book traces the development of human society through its understanding of science.

The book is written in a rather odd and stilted style which I found completely bizarre at times. Here's an example:
"The role of women in nomad tribes is narrowly defined. Above all, the function of women is to produce men-children; too
Simon Mcleish
Dec 19, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
Originally published on my blog here in August 2001.

Like Kenneth Clarke's Civilisation, The Ascent of Man is a series looked up to by every producer of factual, educational TV programmes. It probably wouldn't get made today, as its broad canvas is not really fashionable, and it is not about ordinary people. Its subject is the history of science, far removed from the pseudo-anthropology of "Reality TV".

The arrangement of material is a little unusual; it is basically thematic, each chapter trackin
Apr 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
El libro plantea ideas muy interesantes y creo que cumple con la labor divulgativa (aunque reconozco que no han faltado las partes en las que me he sentido terriblemente idiota por no comprender lo que el autor me estaba intentando explicar) Aun así, hay un par de cosas que me han escamado en la mayor parte del libro (a excepción, quizás, de los primeros capítulos).
La primera, esa especie de idolatría a «Los Grandes Hombres de la Ciencia»; entiendo el mérito que tiene lo que hicieron y entiendo
Dec 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Excellent book about the story of mankind not too dissimilar from Jared diamonds guns germs and steel. the book starts off with the evolution of man from basic mini monkey types like the Limur (king Julian!) through to homo erectus, Neanderthal and finally homo sapien around 100,000 years ago. Then the book really begins by exploring a whole whose of subjects like: food, nomad cultures, structures and architecture, fire, metals, numbers, islam and the rise of Europe through the renaissance and t ...more
May 02, 2009 rated it really liked it
I really liked this book.
It's full of fascinating facts and stories from our past. It consists of many episodes but it is essentially one long story. It's our story. How did we, human beings, rise from the animal world and become what we are today.
I will always remember the story about the appearance of first hybrid wheat in the Middle East and raise of agricultural societies.
There is also a lot of interesting stories about scientists. I’ve heard about all of them but I found so many amazing de
Jun 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Patricia Edie
Finished after 3 weeks of slogging through it. I took that long, not because it isn't interesting, but because it is. With a book like this one I like to read and give thought and analysis what I have read. It is just the way my thinking works, I guess I'm not that "quick".
The Ascent of Man is our scientific development from the start using small ancient hand tools and the emergence of our humanity through the development of quantum physics, DNA, cognitive science, artificial intelligence. and b
Ahlam al-jurdi
May 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
الكتاب عندي 257 صفحة فقط ..
بعد أن انتهيت وذهلت أستطيع أن أقول أنه نسخة أصغر فلسفياً وشمولاً لكنها أمتع أدبياً من كتاب كيف تغير العالم لجيمس بيرك .. عرض المؤلف بتسلسل ذكي خطوات ارتقاء الإنسان منذ أصوله الأقل بيولوجياً حتى عصره هو .. عصر ثورة العلم وإنجازاته .. مر على مستعمرات الصيد وحضارات كانت عامرة كالإنكا والإغريق عرّج على ديار الإسلام .. ثم عصر النهضة تناول قفزاته المذهلة بتركيز أكثر. كان ممتعاً فعلاً حس الكاتب العلمي أولاً ثم الأدبي والفلسفي مزج باقتدار .. في النهاية توصل إلى ذات النتيجة "م
Dick Edwards
Apr 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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Jul 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
A whirlwind tour of human history, the development of society and culture, and the importance of intellectual freedom. This is a great book if you're interested in the roles of science, art, and ingenuity in our world. The author's breadth of knowledge is unparalleled, and it shows through as he constructs themes that tie science and mathematics together with the arts to become one cohesive perspective on what it means to be human.
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Goodreads Librari...: Ascent of Man 2 36 Mar 30, 2012 10:31AM  

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Jacob Bronowski was a British mathematician and biologist of Polish-Jewish origin. He is best remembered as the presenter and writer of the 1973 BBC television documentary series, The Ascent of Man.

In 1950, Bronowski was given the Taung child's fossilized skull and asked to try, using his statistical skills, to combine a measure of the size of the skull's teeth with their shape in order to discrim
“It is important that students bring a certain ragamuffin, barefoot irreverence to their studies; they are not here to worship what is known, but to question it.” 333 likes
“There is no absolute knowledge. And those who claim it, whether they are scientists or dogmatists, open the door to tragedy.” 23 likes
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