The Way Things Work

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The Way Things Work
Way things work.jpg
Book cover for The Way Things Work
AuthorDavid Macaulay
Neil Ardley
CountryUnited States
PublisherHoughton Mifflin
Publication date
600 19
LC ClassT47 .M18 1988

The Way Things Work is a 1988 children's book by David Macaulay with technical text by Neil Ardley. It is an entertaining introduction to everyday machines, describing machines as simple as levers and gears and as complicated as radio telescopes and automatic transmissions. Every page consists primarily of one or more large diagrams describing the operation of the relevant machine. These diagrams are informative but playful, in that most show the machines operated, used upon, or represented by woolly mammoths, and are accompanied by anecdotes of the mammoths' (fictive) role in the operation. The book's concept was later developed into a short-lived animated TV show (produced by Millimages[1] and distributed by Schlessinger Media), a Dorling Kindersley interactive CD-ROM (including a spin-off pinball game), 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.

The New Way Things Work[edit]

An updated version, The New Way Things Work, was released on October 26, 1998. It includes entries on the workings of computers and digital technology, but omits several entries included in the original version.

The Way Things Work Now[edit]

A substantially revised edition, The Way Things Work Now, was published in October 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Dorling Kindersley.

Table of Contents for The New Way Things Work[edit]

Publishing history[edit]


  1. ^ "Television - THE WAY THINGS WORK". 18 November 2008. Archived from the original on 18 November 2008.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)