The Perfectionists by Simon Winchester
How Precision Engineers Created the Modern World

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 1 Critic Review

“The Perfectionists” succeeds resoundingly in making us think more deeply about the everyday objects we take for granted. It challenges us to reflect on our progress as humans and what has made it possible. It is interesting, informative, exciting and emotional...
-NY Times

Synopsis

The revered New York Times bestselling author traces the development of technology from the Industrial Age to the Digital Age to explore the single component crucial to advancement—precision—in a superb history that is both an homage and a warning for our future.

The rise of manufacturing could not have happened without an attention to precision. At the dawn of the Industrial Revolution in eighteenth-century England, standards of measurement were established, giving way to the development of machine tools—machines that make machines. Eventually, the application of precision tools and methods resulted in the creation and mass production of items from guns and glass to mirrors, lenses, and cameras—and eventually gave way to further breakthroughs, including gene splicing, microchips, and the Hadron Collider.

Simon Winchester takes us back to origins of the Industrial Age, to England where he introduces the scientific minds that helped usher in modern production: John Wilkinson, Henry Maudslay, Joseph Bramah, Jesse Ramsden, and Joseph Whitworth. It was Thomas Jefferson who later exported their discoveries to the fledgling United States, setting the nation on its course to become a manufacturing titan. Winchester moves forward through time, to today’s cutting-edge developments occurring around the world, from America to Western Europe to Asia.

As he introduces the minds and methods that have changed the modern world, Winchester explores fundamental questions. Why is precision important? What are the different tools we use to measure it? Who has invented and perfected it? Has the pursuit of the ultra-precise in so many facets of human life blinded us to other things of equal value, such as an appreciation for the age-old traditions of craftsmanship, art, and high culture? Are we missing something that reflects the world as it is, rather than the world as we think we would wish it to be? And can the precise and the natural co-exist in society?

 

About Simon Winchester

See more books from this Author
Simon Winchester is the acclaimed author of many books, including the New York Times bestsellers The Professor and the Madman, Atlantic, The Man Who Loved China, A Crack in the Edge of the World, and Krakatoa. In 2006, he was made an officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) by her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. Now an American citizen, he resides in western Massachusetts.
 
Published May 8, 2018 by Harper. 411 pages
Genres: History, Computers & Technology, Education & Reference, Science & Math, Biographies & Memoirs. Non-fiction
Add Critic Review

Critic reviews for The Perfectionists
All: 1 | Positive: 1 | Negative: 0

NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Roma Agrawal on May 14 2018

“The Perfectionists” succeeds resoundingly in making us think more deeply about the everyday objects we take for granted. It challenges us to reflect on our progress as humans and what has made it possible. It is interesting, informative, exciting and emotional...

Read Full Review of The Perfectionists: How Preci... | See more reviews from NY Times

Reader Rating for The Perfectionists
92%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 19 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


Rate this book!

Add Review
×