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Measuring the World

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  11,410 ratings  ·  871 reviews
The young Austrian writer Daniel Kehlmann conjures a brilliant and gently comic novel from the lives of two geniuses of the Enlightenment.

Toward the end of the eighteenth century, two young Germans set out to measure the world. One of them, the Prussian aristocrat Alexander von Humboldt, negotiates savanna and jungle, travels down the Orinoco, tastes poisons, c
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Hardcover, 259 pages
Published November 7th 2006 by Pantheon (first published 2005)
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Ahmad Sharabiani
Die Vermessung der Welt = Measuring the World, Daniel Kehlmann
Measuring the World is a novel by German author Daniel Kehlmann, 2005 published by Rowohlt Verlag, Reinbek. The novel re-imagines the lives of German mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss and German geographer Alexander von Humboldt—who was accompanied on his journeys by Aimé Bonpland—and their many groundbreaking ways of taking the world's measure, as well as Humboldt's and Bonpland's travels in America and their meeting in 1828.
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Lisa
Jun 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
"I want to explore the world!"

That is a quite common answer if you ask a group of motivated preteen students what they want to do when they grow up. Hungry little caterpillars, they eat their way through a mixed diet of knowledge and skills over the course of their education before entering the strange teenage cocoon stage when they can't be bothered with anything but their own physical and social development.

As a teacher, you look at all these potential explorers, and their divers
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Mohammed  Ali
Oct 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
تخرج من الإمتحان بعد ثلاث ساعات كاملة .. آلام في الرأس .. آلام في الكتفين من الوضع المنحني على الورقة .. آلام في العينين .. تذهب إلى أقرب زاوية لتبتعد عن الكلام .. تريد أن تستعيد تواجدك في العالم الحقيقي تدريجيا .. بعد أن كنت متواجدا في عالم الأرقام والمعادلات .. تسترخي قليلا محاولا إبعاد نفسك عن التفكير في إحاباتك على الورقة .. خمس دقائق تمضي .. عشر دقائق .. الآن تتمشى قليلا لتعيد ضخ الدماء إلى رجليك اليابستين من أثر الجلوس لمدة طويلة .. تمر ببعض الأصدقاء .. تحييهم بابتسامة .. يردها بعضهم والبع ...more
BrokenTune
"It was both odd and injust, said Gauss, a real example of the pitiful arbitrariness of existence, that you were born into a particular time and held prisoner there whether you wanted it or not. It gave you an indecent advantage over the past and made you a clown vis-a-vis the future."

I'm not sure what to make of this one: I didn't love it, I didn't hate it. It certainly was not what I expected.

I do admire Kehlmann for trying a different angle on a historical novel about two eminen
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E8RaH!M
در یک کلام یک کتاب تفریحی که به نظر تعهدی را نسبت به دونابغهی آلمانی- کارل فردریش گاوس و الکساندر فوت هومبلت- به جا آورده.

نویسنده، خاطرات جسته گریختهی این دو دانشمند را در قالب داستانی با تمپوی بالا و جذاب روایت(بازسازی) کرده.

گاوس یک ریاضیدان و هومبلت کاشف سرزمینهای نو و جغرافی دان ، هر یک سرگذشت جذاب خودشان را دارند و در جایی از زندگی با هم ملاقات میکنند.

از نکات مثبتش همین که دونفر از مفاخر کشورشون روتونسته بود معرفی کنه. از طرفی هم سعی در بت سازی و تقدس گرایی مفاخر ندا
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Semjon
Diese Form der Doppelbiografie zweier herausragender deutscher Wissenschaftler hat mich hervorragend unterhalten. Daniel Kehlmann ist ein großartiger und vor allem humorvoller Erzähler. Die Lebenswege des Mathematikers Gauß und des Naturwissenschaftlers Humboldt sind von Beginn an sehr unterschiedlich. Durch das ständige Springen zwischen der Erzählsträngen lassen sich die Gemeinsamkeiten und Unterschiede der Beiden gut erkennen. Auf den ersten Blick sieht man nicht viel Übereinstimmung, aber le ...more
Giò
Aug 03, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gdl-reali
Non basta un’idea

Bella pensata ha fatto il filosofo Daniel Kehlmann decidendo di scrivere un doppio romanzo sulla vita di due eminenti scienziati tedeschi vissuti a cavallo del diciottesimo e diciannovesimo secolo! Sì, perché l’idea di raccontare due personalità antitetiche, e quindi complementari, sia dal punto di vista caratteriale che storico, è proprio accattivante.
Da un lato von Humboldt, geografo, naturalista ed esploratore, ricco aristocratico, eccentrico, curioso ed espansivo. Un
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Gypsy
اینقد درهم برهم بود که یه جاهایی داستان از زیر دستم در میرفت! ولی طنزش تو بعضی جمله ها و جریانات خیلی خوش نشسته بود. ریتم خوبش باعث میشد بتونی باهاش همراهی کنی. شخصیت ها ولی، نمدونم چرا جز یه سری چیزهای برجسته، نتونستن تو ذهنم بمونن.

" هر چیز مربوط به بدن، منبع واقعی تمام نکبت هاست."

K.D. Absolutely
Aug 03, 2010 rated it liked it
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., study, work, marry, raise
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Gumble's Yard
Apr 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Fictional account of the lives and meeting (towards the end of their lives at a scientific congress that Humboldt holds) of two great German scientists – the naturalist and geographer Alexander von Humboldt (whose brother was also a great politician and linguist) – who explored and opened up and the mathematician and physicist Gauss. The translated English is written in a simple and slightly stilting style but is easy to read and the range of ideas and concepts covered is what makes the book. ...more
Oceana2602
Feb 01, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  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
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Stef Smulders
Dec 05, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: did-not-finish
Don't like this book. The characters of the historical figures of Gauss and Von Humboldt are flat, like in a graphic novel. As a result it is even difficult to keep the two apart. I do not see the sense of using real people in a novel if you do not try to develop their psychology, not try to understand their motives, doubts, struggles. In this novel it remains superficial. There is some humor, yes, but again, what is this book meant to be? A satire? Of what? As a historical novel I cannot take i ...more
Sandra
Sep 02, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: narrativa
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
Alexandra
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.
Rebecca
“Whenever things were frightening, it was a good idea to measure them.” This is a delightful historical picaresque about two late-eighteenth-century German scientists: Alexander von Humboldt, who valiantly explored South America and the Russian steppes, and Carl Friedrich Gauss, a misanthropic mathematician whose true genius wasn’t fully realized in his surveying and astronomical work. Both difficult in their own way, the men represent different models for how to do science: an adventurous one w ...more
GiuseppeB
Nov 14, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Ormai l'ho letto, letto e finito e non posso più tornare indietro, quando ancora mi beavo nella mia ignoranza e pure ignoravo l'esitenza di questo libro e anche l'autore mi era sconosciuto.
Ormai è fatta, la mia vita sarà per sempre segnata da questa lettura, non è grave, mi riprenderò.
Come si dice: è stata un'esperienza, ho perso tempo, ma vuoi mettere il valore dell'esperienza.

"Niente di ciò che qualcuno aveva misurato una volta poteva mai più essere come prima" (p.227)
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Tijana
Ovo je treća knjiga Danijela Kelmana koju čitam, posle Malerovog vremena i neke zbirke eseja kojoj se ni naslova ne sećam, a te dve su bile dovoljno neupečatljive da baš dugo nisam osetila ni najmanju želju da konačno pročitam Kelmanov najveći hit.
Ispostavilo se da bi to baš bila greška. Premeravanje sveta je, naime, beskrajno zabavna i duhovita knjiga. Ok, smejanje nemačkom humoru je ajmo reći stečena dispozicija, ali Kelman se na jednom mestu i njemu podsmeva, kao što se u ovom romanu podsmev
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Elahe
Mar 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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 رو
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beloved books by Tine
jetzt weiß ich wieder, warum ich es noch nie zu Ende gelesen hatte. merkwürdiger inhalt, alles auseinander gerissen. kein wirklicher Anfang und kein wirkliches Ende und ständige Zeitsprünge, was nicht mal gesagt wird. wenn man es nicht merkt, Pech. dazu keine wörtliche Rede. naja es wird immer mehr, was nicht so toll ist.
aber ich bin stolz auf mich. ich habe es endlich geschafft zu beenden.
Nicola
Dec 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
I'm a Bill Bryson fan so I'm used to reading about the quirky characters that history throws up; men (and sometimes women) of vast and fascinating eccentricity, whose contribution to science and progress is given that extra soupçon of interest by their delightful battiness.

In Measuring the World we have exhibit A: Alexander von Humbold - a Prussian aristocrat with rampant OCD, determined to measure everything around him in an effort to quantify and so, understand, the world.

and exhibit B
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Shovelmonkey1
May 23, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  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
Beata
Oct 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I just wanted to take a short break from two extremely serious and depressing books I'm reading at the moment and thought that plunging into the worlds of two geniuses would be perfect. Re-reading this novel is as fascinating as it was while reading it for the first time.
GridGirl
Feb 08, 2019 rated it it was ok
“Whenever things were frightening, it was a good idea to measure them.”

I feel like things between me and “Measuring the World” could have gone so much better. The preconditions were good: A novel about two scientists, one being Alexander von Humboldt, the other one no less a figure than Carl Gauss himself.
I am the one to blame for how bad this went. I chose to read this as an audio book. As it turns out, this was a huge mistake. I realize now that I’m easily distracted when I’m listening
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Jelena
Jan 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bigass-real-shelf, de
“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 beau
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Cxr
Nov 19, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Un romanzo di divulgazione scientifica, ambientato all’inizio dell’ottocento con il matematico Gauss e il geografo Alexander Humboldt come protagonisti prometteva di essere interessante, soprattutto nel racconto del loro il loro incontro/confronto a Berlino nel 1828 promesso nella quarta di copertina.
E invece anche questo libro non sfugge ai cliché dello scienziato distratto, ai limiti dell’autistico, irascibile, egoista, avulso dalla realtà e socialmente incapace. Con l’aggravante che si parla
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Maria Clara
Es una buena lectura. Realmente he disfrutado leyendo la historia de estos dos genios. Por un lado tenemos al gruñón de Gauss, que me ha hecho entender mejor la mentalidad de un genio: las "pausas" que la gente normal utilizamos antes de contestar y que a él exaspera; el cómo cualquier cosa puede ser la respuesta o la pregunta de una incógnita; el hecho de que viva en una burbuja donde sólo es capaz de ver números, ni personas ni sentimientos. También he disfrutado con las aventuras de Thumboldt ...more
Haman
Jul 10, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: world-novel
وقتی یک چیزی دارد رو به شکست می رود ، باید رهایش کرد چون نمی شود جلوش را گرفت
Rosenkavalier
Vite parallele

Vite parallele di due grandi scienziati, il matematico Carl Gauss e il geografo Alexander von Humboldt.
Entrambi genii bambini, entrambi con un'infanzia anomala e famiglie disfunzionali (o forse così appaiono a noi, viste da qui).
Risultato: il primo diventa un adulto misantropo e un giudice molto sprezzante dell'intelligenza altrui (mai sufficiente). Il secondo diventa un adulto anaffettivo per quanto curioso di tutto, incluso degli altri esseri umani (che però osserva c
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Kathrin
Picking up the book I knew more about Alexander von Humboldt than Carl Friedrich Gauss. My lifelong love for museums confronted me a lot with Humboldt's expeditions while the only knowledge I had of Gauss goes back to my school days.

What intrigued me the most was a sole question - would the author be able to hold my interest. Reading (or listening to) a biographical novel can be frustrating when the author ventures too far into details. It's easy to be overwhelmed with too much information.
In
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Reading 1001: Measuring the World by Daniel Kehlmann 1 8 Feb 24, 2019 12:38PM  
Goodreads Librari...: translator omitted 2 21 Jun 07, 2016 10:09PM  
Eyes wide open: Daniel Kehlmann: Measuring the World 6 33 Nov 21, 2013 02:07AM  

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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 B
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“Whenever things were frightening, it was a good idea to measure them.” 5 likes
“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.” 3 likes
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