** The Knowledge by Lewis Dartnell


The Knowledge: How to Rebuild Our World from Scratch is a very strange book, since its aim is to provide a compendium of what humanity would need to know if some cataclysm was to wipe off most of the work population, forcing us to rebuild civilization with a handful of people. Weird, right? And weirder yet, that it should be a particular kind of cataclysm, one that wipes out people but not things — after all, as the author points out, one supermarket could feed one of us for over 50 years (longer if we are willing to eat cat food). And in this new world, it seems to me that my first concern may not be weaving cloth. If I can live off the supermarket for 50 years, imagine what I can do with a Nordstrom (or Walmart) nearby!

In any case, in the new world I want to be close to a mechanical engineer, who would be able, presumably, to build the various machines (including a steel mill!) presented in the book. And I want a chemist to help me make soap without blowing up, and a biologist to re-invent penicillin. Sweet, my three kids are all accounted for.

(And of course, we will all have out this book in the bunker where we will be hiding, waiting for the end. And no word on how to rebuild the more important part of society like peacekeeping, education, and the like. Technology will be enough, presumably.)

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