The Way Things Work
- For the Unknown Instructors album, please refer to "The Way Things Work (album)"
|The Way Things Work|
Book cover for The Way Things Work
|Dewey Decimal||600 19|
|LC Classification||T47 .M18 1988|
The Way Things Work is a book by Neil Ardley, illustrated by David Macaulay. It is intended to serve as an entertaining introduction to everyday machines. It covers machines as simple as levers and gears and as complicated as radio telescopes and automatic transmissions. Its most notable feature is its illustrations: every page consists primarily of one or more large diagrams describing the operation of the relevant machine. These diagrams are informative but playful; most feature the internal workings of the machines being operated by woolly mammoths. The book's concept was later developed into a short-lived animated TV show (produced by Millimages and distributed by Schlessinger Media), a Dorling Kindersley interactive CD-ROM, and a board game. A family "ride" involving animatronics and a 3-D film based on the book was one of the original attractions at the San Francisco Metreon, but closed in 2001.
As stated above, the book contains fascinating revelations about the variety of everyday appliances and the principles that govern their operation, such as those of levers, electricity and the wheel. The book also contains notes of research apparantly made by a mysterious inventor who has observed machine experiments involving mammoths.
The New Way Things Work 
A newer version, The New Way Things Work, released on October 26, 1998, contains additional text on the workings of microchips. It also lacks two pages from the first edition; one page demonstrated the working of a mechanical coin-operated parking meter.
Table of Contents for The New Way Things Work 
Part One—The Mechanics of Movement
- The Inclined Plane
- The Wheel and Axle
- Gears and Belts
- Cams and Cranks
- Rotating Wheels
Part Two—Harnessing the Elements
Part Three—Working with Waves
Part Four—Electricity and Automation
Part Five—The Digital Domain
- Making Binary digits
- Storing Bits
- Processing Bits
- Sending Bits
- Using Bits/Digital Systems
Eureka!—The Invention of Machines
Publishing history