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The Cartoon Guide to Physics

(Cartoon Guides)

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  848 ratings  ·  67 reviews
If you think a negative charge is something that shows up on your credit card bill -- if you imagine that Ohm's Law dictates how long to meditate -- if you believe that Newtonian mechanics will fix your car -- you need The Cartoon Guide to Physics to set you straight.

You don't have to be a scientist to grasp these and many other complex ideas, because The Cartoon Guide to
Paperback, 224 pages
Published December 18th 1991 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published 1990)
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3.94  · 
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 ·  848 ratings  ·  67 reviews

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Feb 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
Well my first review was deleted by Goodreads, which is why you should always have a backup...but I digress.

So I have been on this knowledge quest lately. Mostly an attempt to make up for not really giving a damn in high school. Of course,I got fantastic grades in high school, but I usually just did it by going through the motions and writing crap my teachers wanted to hear. Now that I am no longer under that burden, I've been taking the time to actually make up for lost time and lost education
King Ævil
Apr 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
Did you do okay in high-school physics, but never felt you had a handle on what everything really meant? The Cartoon Guide to Physics is an excellent conceptual review of basic mechanics and electromagnetic theory, practically free of mathematics but rich in meaning and context. Even Maxwell's famous equations are explained without resort to higher maths. It also offers a very, very brief nontechnical explanation of relativity using electromagnetism as a basis (hence, "On the Electrodynamics of ...more
Jul 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science
Engaging and clearly explained.
Adhitya Polavaram
Jan 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 8-grade-books
The Cartoon Guide to Physics was a book that opened my eyes to a very interesting way of writing informative non-fiction books. The concepts are taught in a way that is humorous, which I have never seen in any other non-fiction books. Some of the concepts were taught in ways difficult for me to understand, so I think I would have better used this book in a years time. For those who have read the Cartoon Guide to Calculus, I would say that this book isn’t as interesting, but is still a great book ...more
Andrew B
Feb 12, 2018 rated it liked it
Nice quick read. Another book I should have gone through long ago. Almost all the jokes are too cheesy to really enjoy these days, but in that way it's also historically droll. Anyway, it covers a great deal of subjects and is a helluva lot better than reading any textbook. I'll probably come back to it to sharpen my general physics know-how in the future.
Julian Chow
Nov 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Cartoon Guide to Physics by Larry Gonick

An educational science book teaching physics in a fun way.

I recommend this for people who don't like reading textbooks to learn the basics of something.
Satyaki Banik
Nov 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Good for at most high school-goers, concise, fun to read, informative but entertaining at the same time.
Covers almost every basic concept of Physics in a very brief manner.
Connie Neil
Jan 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: brain-stretching
I've always regretted not studying physics in school, so I picked this up to rectify the situation. Then I realized that I couldn't make heads or tails of the equations and realized I had to re-learn algebra first.
Anthony Faber
Feb 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is as good as his other guides, so it's worth reading if you like that kind of stuff.
Brad Peterson
Dec 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
I though this was a delightful conceptual overview of physics with just enough math to show basic relationships without getting lost in the weeds. And it is presented in an entertaining way.
Nov 06, 2017 rated it it was ok
advanced terminology defeats the purpose
Michael P.
Jun 02, 2012 rated it liked it
I have a problem with the way that physics is taught. Regarding one of Newton’s laws, you generally read that if you push against a wall with 100 pounds of force, the wall pushes back with 100 pounds. Walls don’t push, can’t push, can not intend to push, or exert any muscles to push. Consequently, I have no idea what is meant. I tend to assume that resistance to the push is meant and that is why the wall does not move, but that is not what people write. Furthermore, if you push with 1000 pounds ...more
Sep 13, 2015 rated it liked it
I learned one solid thing about gravitational pull: neap tides and spring tides. I finally get it!

But everything else, especially E&M, continues to go over my head in the most frustrating of ways. For awhile, I thought what separated biology and physics was the fact that physics wasn't really telling you why, it was telling you what is. Biology has lots of definitions and things too, but I feel like I know at the core of the subject why a protein behaves a certain way. Here, I just fundamen
Jun 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed reading this book because it talked about a lot of interesting all physics around us. The book was set up in both entertainment and education. In addition, the book came in handy when I needed to look up something I still unclear about other concepts or terms of physic.

The author had done well on illustration and explanation of each topic in the book.The explanation was clear enough explained everything in the picture. Moreover, this book was recommended by one of my friends.

I would
John J.
Oct 26, 2009 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: 9 year olds
A mediocre but mildly entertaining introduction to physics. Unless you were a college physics major, you'll probably learn something - or be reminded of things forgotten long ago. Not nearly as witty or amusing as Gonick's cartoon histories, but it only takes about an hour to read, so why not?

In an effort to prevent our society's slide into ever-expanding scientific illiteracy, every grade school child should be encouraged to read this book - give them this Cartoon Guide as a coloring book (the
Jun 20, 2014 rated it liked it
I may not be smart enough to grasp physics even in cartoon form. The cartoon guide to genetics was just plain fun, but I stumbled a little with this one over equations with lots of letters in them. I learned a lot, even went ooo-ooo a couple of time when I got things just before they were explained. However, I think there was quite a bit went by me. Perhaps if I hadn't tried to do it at one sitting, my brain could have absorbed more.
Peter Kauffmann
I was at a party with Brad and Elaine hosted by two of the Econ professors and I got tired of hearing about people's research. So I picked this book up off of their shelf (because 1) one of the authors has a last name that is the same as Elaine's maiden name and 2) I thought it was a book about Cartoon Physics like hammerspace) and read the whole thing.
Jul 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
Much better than one would think, especially for physics novices. Part One is on mechanics, which I knew a little bit about. Part Two on electricity and magnetism I found more challenging, mostly because the equations were more unfamiliar to me. Still, if you never took a physics class, this is a good book to get you started.
Bradley Eylander
May 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
All the fun facts of physics without the complex math equations that confuse people who are trying to learn the concept. All the sections in this comic are interesting and practical, so most readers can understand it. The only missing thing in this book is more information, such as more explanation of Relativity and optics.
Jan 03, 2016 rated it liked it
I love cartoons of all kinds, and I have enjoyed this both in the style of the book itself and as a refresher of concepts I have studied (or I am studying) in more depth elsewhere.
I am not sure how well this would work for a reader without any knowledge of physics, which seems to be the target audience.
Jan 31, 2008 rated it really liked it
This one is much less dense than the 'Chemistry' volume and benefits from it. If you haven't picked it up from my other reviews, I never learned much math or science back when I was in school and so now I feel like I need to catch up at least a little following the great slacker tradition of sitting around reading comic books.
Jun 23, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reference
Completely entertaining guide to everything you forgot about physics, or never learned or never quite understood. You still might not quite understand it all, but this book will whet your appetite for more. If only the details of physics were as fun as this overview!
Many subject versions
Jia Yi
Feb 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Love this book; I understand physics easier with it
Jul 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
Definitely helped me understand physics better, and I feel confident in my AP summer assignment's quality thanks to the help of this book!
Kevin Xu
Dec 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
The best way to be introduced to the world and science of Physics.
Rike Jokanan
Aug 17, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all readers
If only this book had been published when I was a girl, I wuld have been working on new theories in physics ha ha ha...
Aug 26, 2015 rated it liked it
I found this comic amusing and very educational. It goes from very basic physics concepts to more advanced concepts.
Rida Ahmed Sajid
May 08, 2013 rated it liked it
i believe that it is a great piece of work. everyone can get a deep insight of physics with such a humorous book
Sep 14, 2007 rated it really liked it
Pretty good, although still only scratches the surface. Offers some useful real-world analogies for getting abstruse physics concepts.
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Larry Gonick (born 1946) is a cartoonist best known for The Cartoon History of the Universe, a history of the world in comic book form, which he has been publishing in installments since 1977. He has also written The Cartoon History of the United States, and he has adapted the format for a series of co-written guidebooks on other subjects, beginning with The Cartoon Guide to Genetics in 1983. The ...more

Other books in the series

Cartoon Guides (1 - 10 of 11 books)
  • The Cartoon Guide to Calculus
  • Cartoon Guide to Genetics
  • The Cartoon Guide to Statistics
  • The Cartoon Guide to Chemistry
  • Cartoon Guide to the Environment
  • The Cartoon Guide to Sex
  • The Cartoon Guide to the Computer
  • Kartun (Non) Komunikasi
  • The Cartoon History of the United States
  • The Cartoon Guide to Algebra