Faber Members get 10% off their first order

Beyond Measure: The Hidden History of Measurement (Hardback)

James Vincent

A revelatory and vibrant story of measurement which will make you look at the world around you anew.

17 in stock

£18.99£15.99
Format
Hardback
ISBN
9780571354214
Date Published
02.06.2022
Delivery
All orders are sent via Royal Mail and are tracked: choose from standard or premium delivery.
Summary

THE TIMES SCIENCE BOOK OF THE YEAR
NEW YORKER BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR
FINALIST FOR THE LOS ANGELES TIMES BOOK PRIZE FOR SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

A revelatory and vibrant story of measurement which will make you look at the world around you anew.

‘A wildly ambitious book by a formidably talented young writer.’
ROBERT MACFARLANE

‘Vivid, epic, and full of curiosities. This is a book to delight and fascinate.’
TIM HARFORD, bestselling author of How to Make the World Add Up

‘Beyond Measure offers, with much intellectual flair and style, a bracing new history: how the once innocent urge to quantification took over our lives, our sense of ourselves and the world.’
PANKAJ MISHRA

‘The exact value of this book is hard to quantify. Weighty, precise and satisfyingly obsessive, it’s also an absolute pleasure to read.’
SIMON GARFIELD, bestselling author of The Timekeepers

We measure rainfall and radiation, the depths of space and the emptiness of atoms, calories and steps, happiness and pain. But how did measurement become ubiquitous in modern life? When did humanity first take up scales and rulers, and why does this practice hold authority over so many aspects of our lives?

Written with vim and dazzling intelligence, James Vincent provides a fresh and original perspective on human history as he tracks our long search for dependable truths in a chaotic universe. Full of mavericks and visionaries, adventure and the unexpected, Beyond Measure shows that measurement has not only made the world we live in, it has made us too.

‘An epic story about humankind’s relationship with the physical world. Vincent is an erudite and perceptive guide, who with energy and skill weaves history, science and reportage into an enthralling tale.’
ALEX BELLOS

Telling the story of metrology is not easy [but] Vincent is equal to the task . . . this book is extremely good.’
THE TIMES

‘This quirky history is inch-perfect.’
FINANCIAL TIMES

‘Gripping.’ NEW SCIENTIST
‘Worth its weight in gold . . . Enlightening.’ OBSERVER
‘Fascinating . . . an erudiite and elegant read.’ MAIL ON SUNDAY

Critic Reviews

Worth its weight in gold. This enlightening book reveals the importance of scales and rulers to humanity’s survival and how measurement can be used for inhumane purposes . . . Vincent is a nimble storyteller and a sympathetic one: his sensibility to the human drama at work behind the grand theories is particularly visible in his treatment of the chaotic centuries before standardisation . . . [he] marries infectious enthusiasm for the science with healthy scepticism about the uses people put it to.

Observer
Critic Reviews

Beyond Measure documents humanity’s attempts to claw dependable truths from a chaotic universe . . . gripping.

New Scientist
Critic Reviews

Superb . . . Telling the story of metrology is not easy . . . [but] Vincent is equal to the task. He has a deft eye for the telling anecdote, but can also pull back elegantly from the minutiae to place that anecdote in the sweep of human progress . . . this book is extremely good.

The Times
Critic Reviews

Fascinating . . . a remarkable story of human endeavour, experiment and belief, and of the contribution made by a roll-call of extraordinary individuals . . . an erudite and elegant read, challenging in parts but highly accessible, and Vincent’s enthusiasm overcomes any difficulties in understanding such areas as relativity, thermodynamics and quantum physics. Delightful.

Mail on Sunday
Critic Reviews

Quietly thrilling . . . The story of humans measuring things is no less than the story of civilization-a claim that sounds like irritating hyperbole but in this case turns out to be true.

New York Times
Critic Reviews

Vincent’s quirky history of metrology offers a fascinating exploration of how our idiosyncratic systems of measurement have made us who we are . . . as an account of the lengths humanity has gone to in the name of measurement, this quirky history is inch-perfect.

Financial Times
JamesVincent

James Vincent is a journalist and writer from London who has worked and written for numerous publications, including The Independent, the Financial Times, the London Review of Books, Wired, New Statesman and others. He is currently a senior reporter for The Verge. Beyond Measure is his first book. @jjvincent

Read More
JamesVincent
James-Vincent.jpg