I love the idea of books like this: here in one book, we’re going to impart to you the principles behind everything you need to know to rebuild all the comforts of home from nothing. This one has a fun gimmick: it’s been found embedded deep within rocks, and it claims to be the repair manual for a time machine. Since you can’t repair the time machine, instead here’s how to create the comforts of civilisation that you’re used to by accelerating technological progress. To that end, it has some flowcharts for figuring out what time period you’ve ended up in, and technology trees to help you trace out what you need to do to get particular results.
It’s also packed with information, which it delivers in a pretty light style, keeping to the basics. It’s all easy to understand, and the unfortunate thing is that for me the jovial tone got old. Yes, I know, we need XYZ invention to eventually have pizza. I get it. The pizza joke is old now!
The lists for me were kind of… I didn’t like dipping in and out, but it’s also not a great experience to just sit and read it all the way through, either. (For one thing, I think that’s why I got sick of the jokes.)
It’s a really fun gimmick, and there’s a lot of information in here and plenty to pique your curiosity, if a) you know a bit less about science than I do and b) you’re a dip-in-and-out sort of reader. I am just a curmudgeon.