• The Perfectionists

  • How Precision Engineers Created the Modern World
  • By: Simon Winchester
  • Narrated by: Simon Winchester
  • Length: 11 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 05-08-18
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: HarperAudio
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars 4.6 (348 ratings)

Regular price: $30.79

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Publisher's Summary

The revered New York Times best-selling author traces the development of technology from the Industrial Age to the Digital Age to explore the single component crucial to advancement - precision - in a superb history that is both an homage and a warning for our future.
The rise of manufacturing could not have happened without an attention to precision. At the dawn of the Industrial Revolution in 18th-century England, standards of measurement were established, giving way to the development of machine tools - machines that make machines. Eventually, the application of precision tools and methods resulted in the creation and mass production of items from guns and glass to mirrors, lenses, and cameras - and eventually gave way to further breakthroughs, including gene splicing, microchips, and the Hadron Collider.
Simon Winchester takes us back to origins of the Industrial Age, to England where he introduces the scientific minds that helped usher in modern production: John Wilkinson, Henry Maudslay, Joseph Bramah, Jesse Ramsden, and Joseph Whitworth. It was Thomas Jefferson who later exported their discoveries to the fledgling United States, setting the nation on its course to become a manufacturing titan. Winchester moves forward through time, to today’s cutting-edge developments occurring around the world, from America to Western Europe to Asia.
As he introduces the minds and methods that have changed the modern world, Winchester explores fundamental questions. Why is precision important? What are the different tools we use to measure it? Who has invented and perfected it? Has the pursuit of the ultra-precise in so many facets of human life blinded us to other things of equal value, such as an appreciation for the age-old traditions of craftsmanship, art, and high culture? Are we missing something that reflects the world as it is, rather than the world as we think we would wish it to be? And can the precise and the natural co-exist in society?
©2018 Simon Winchester (P)2018 HarperCollins Publishers
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Critic Reviews

"Winchester's writing style is straightforward, which makes it effective in audio. He spices his narrative with numerous interesting facts and ironies, which make listening even more pleasurable. He defines technical and scientific terms in a way that makes it easy for general listeners to understand them. Winchester also does the narration, adopting a conversational tone that is highly suited to the work." (AudioFile)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By enya keshet on 06-19-18

Somewhat less than perfect

Being a Simon Winchester addict, I am thrilled with every new release from this wonderful author. But I found this book less captivating then his other books, though fantastically informative and revealing. I missed the personal stories that so helped to make other books more lively. Perhaps my lesser affinity with precision (as opposed to my significant interest in geology and geography, for example), also played a role.

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6 of 6 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Chandler Bridges on 05-14-18

Inspiring stories about genius engineers.

The book is 100% readable by non-engineering types such as myself. Reading about the geniuses overcoming particular problems was exciting. I bought both the Kindle and the Audible editions and finished the book in about two and a half days. The book will probably inspire some people to go into the field of engineering.

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9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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