Weblog on the Internet and public policy, journalism, virtual community, and more from David Brake, a Canadian academic, consultant and journalist
15 December 2004

Human: The Definitive Guide to Our Species

…is a 512 page, lavishly illustrated coffee table encyclopedia from Dorling Kindersley which attempts nothing less than a comprehensive overview of all aspects of being human:

  • Our origins
  • The body
  • The mind
  • The life cycle from birth to death
  • Society
  • Culture
  • Nations … and some speculation about
  • The Future

As you might expect with a book taking on a subject this large you can inevitably pick holes in any of the entries if you really know the subject but you can use the introductory text as a taster, and the pictures are often interesting. And it weighs about 2.5 kg so if you don’t like it you can keep it under the bed to throw at burglars…

Best of all, right in the middle of the “Culture” section (pp. 316-17) you’ll find a particularly insightful spread on the mass media. Which I wrote 😉 I don’t get a penny from any sales however.

As a side note, I am impressed that the economics of publishing have changed to the point that DK can print a hardcover book with more than 500 large pages with spot colour, photos and illustrations on every page, sell it for £18 (Amazon’s price which is admittedly 40% off retail) and still make a profit.

P.S. It’s $57.33 list price in the US but Amazon US which sells it for $36.12 can’t now ship in time for Xmas.


  1. I just read a book called “A Short History of Progress”. No pictures, but you might like it.

    Comment by Jeff K — 20 December 2004 @ 4:29 pm

  2. What a fantasticly interesting and well laid-out site! It’s amazing…

    Comment by Michael — 21 December 2004 @ 9:57 pm

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