The Upright Thinkers: The Human Journey from Living in Trees to Understanding the Cosmos (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

I wish I breezed through every book like I did through this one. Admittedly, I picked it to feel smarter, but ended up honestly loving every page. Mlodinow manages to compress all of human existence into 300 pages and does so adequately and with charm. You won't feel like you're reading a bulky textbook. Evolution, major inventions, mathematics, chemistry, physics, biology, countless scientists (their perks, flaws, failures) -- all these subjects and many more are discussed with genuine fondness. Mlodinow writes about science with such great affection and tenderness, that you can't help but feel intense appreciation for devoted and passionate individuals like himself. If you have a soft spot for science, please read this book.

-- Stacy

— From Stacy T. Staff Picks


A few million years ago, our ancestors came down from the trees and began to stand upright, freeing our hands to create tools and our minds to grapple with the world around us.
Leonard Mlodinow takes us on a passionate and inspiring tour through the exciting history of human progress and the key events in the development of science. In the process, he presents a fascinating new look at the unique characteristics of our species and our society that helped propel us from stone tools to written language and through the birth of chemistry, biology, and modern physics to today's technological world.
Along the way he explores the cultural conditions that influenced scientific thought through the ages and the colorful personalities of some of the great philosophers, scientists, and thinkers: Galileo, who preferred painting and poetry to medicine and dropped out of university; Isaac Newton, who stuck needlelike bodkins into his eyes to better understand changes in light and color; and Antoine Lavoisier, who drank nothing but milk for two weeks to examine its effects on his body. Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein, Werner Heisenberg, and many lesser-known but equally brilliant minds also populate these pages, each of their stories showing how much of human achievement can be attributed to the stubborn pursuit of simple questions (why? how?), bravely asked.
The Upright Thinkers is a book for science lovers and for anyone interested in creative thinking and in our ongoing quest to understand our world. At once deeply informed, accessible, and infused with the author's trademark wit, this insightful work is a stunning tribute to humanity's intellectual curiosity.
(With black-and-white illustrations throughout.)

About the Author

LEONARD MLODINOW received his Ph.D. in theoretical physics from the University of California, Berkeley, was an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow at the Max Planck Institute, and was on the faculty of the California Institute of Technology. His previous books include the best sellers Subliminal (winner of the PEN/E. O. Wilson Award), War of the Worldviews (with Deepak Chopra), The Grand Design (with Stephen Hawking), and The Drunkard s Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives (a New York Times Notable Book), as well as Feynman s Rainbow and Euclid s Window. He also wrote for the television series MacGyver and Star Trek: The Next Generation."
Product Details
ISBN: 9780307908230
ISBN-10: 0307908232
Publisher: Pantheon Books
Publication Date: May 5th, 2015
Pages: 352
Language: English