What a Wonderful World

What a Wonderful World

Why do we breathe? What is money? How does the brain work? Why did life invent sex? How does capitalism work – or not? Does time really exist? How can something invisible that comes down a wire power our civilisation? How did an advanced breed of monkey like us get to dominate the Earth? Why is there something rather than nothing?

Marcus Chown applies his deep understanding of complex things to simple questions about the workings of our everyday lives. Lucid, witty and hugely entertaining, the book explains the essence of our existence, stopping along the way to show us how babies are powered by rocket fuel, how money permits trade to time travel, why the crucial advantage humans had over Neanderthals may have been sewing and why we could all be living in a giant hologram.

If everything in our information-overloaded society has passed you by in a high-speed blur, this book will bring you quickly and painlessly up to speed on how the world of the 21st century works.


  • Publisher: Faber
  • Publication date: October 3, 2013
  • ISBN: 9780571278398
  • A brilliant book that makes you realise how much you don’t know.

    Love Reading

  • A pretty wonderful book.

    Richard Dawkins

  • Reading a well-written popular science book is one of the great pleasures of modern times, and this guided tour through life, the universe and everything affords that pleasure in abundance.

    The Independent

  • Crammed with brain-boggling facts.

    The Mirror

  • In this thought-provoking book, Chown endeavours to deepen our understanding of the existence of a wide range of things including time, brain, civilisation, capitalism, communism and quantum theory… He succeeds marvelously… Lucidly written and hugely entertaining. A great read.

    Good Book Guide