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Beyond Measure

James Vincent

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

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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.’

‘Vivid, epic, and full of curiosities. This is a book to delight and fascinate.’
TIM HARFORD, 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.’

‘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.’

‘Absolutely fascinating . . . vivid, charming and masterly.’
AMELIA HORGAN, author of Lost in Work

‘Delightful . . . one of those books that makes us look afresh at the whole of modern civilisation.’
GRAHAM FARMELO, author of The Universe Speaks in Numbers

‘I adored this provacative book.’
SUE PRIDEAUX, author of I Am Dynamite: A Life of Friedrich Nietzsche


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

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