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What three books would you take?

  1. Apr 20, 2013 #1

    Ivan Seeking

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    In The Time Machine, by HG Wells, George took three books with him when he returned to join Weena and the Eloi, to help rebuild civilization in the distant future.

    If you were in his position, which three books would you have taken?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 21, 2013 #2
    A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy in three copies, purely from fear of being moved in time but not in space. Oh, and I'll try to get a spacesuit along too, if possible. And a towel, of course, yes.

    edit: oh, the irony, I have 42 posts at the moment
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2013
  4. Apr 21, 2013 #3
    I'm guessing civ is pretty bad. Thinking apocalypse style, so we need to think practical.

    (We need to be able to build things) Back to Basics: A Complete Guide to Traditional Skills
    (We need a new moral code) Philosophy For Dummies
    (We need effective leaders) The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership
  5. Apr 21, 2013 #4


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    Brave New World - Aldous Huxley, 1984 - George Orwell, A Clockwork Orange - Anthony Burgess

    I'll rebuild the civilization off the cuff if I have to, I just can't live without having those 3 books to read :p
  6. Apr 21, 2013 #5
    You're going to model your society after those three books?? Not sure I want to live there...
  7. Apr 21, 2013 #6
    I used to watch the 1960's 'Time Machine' with my brother and Dad when we were small (before I was interested enough to actually read it), and he used to pose that question to us after we'd finish it. I never could come up with a definitive list, but here's to another transient shot;

    1) Feynman Lectures Vol. 1 (I know this sounds cheesy being on PhysicsForums and all, but it makes sense when you think about how child-like the Eloi were).

    2) The complete works of Shakespeare

    3) David Hume's 'A Treatise of Human Nature'

    (I would also try to slip a copy of 'The Hobbit' past whomever would be trying to enforce this simply for that fact that I love that book.)
  8. Apr 21, 2013 #7

    Vanadium 50

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    1. CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics
    2. Steam, by Babcock and Wilcox
    3. To Serve Morlock.
  9. Apr 26, 2013 #8

    Ivan Seeking

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    As an option to your third choice, :biggrin:, I was thinking of something like a physicians handbook, or some bible of pharmaceuticals and their use. But then a good book on classical dynamics would be useful, as would a book on materials science.
  10. Aug 4, 2013 #9
    Complete works of A.C. Doyle
    Einstein's ideas and opinions
    The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
  11. Aug 4, 2013 #10


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    Innocents Abroad, by Clemens would have to be the top choice. Insightful and entertaining.
  12. Apr 7, 2014 #11
  13. Apr 7, 2014 #12


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    Probably "The Lord of the Rings"
    Others can make the civilization around me. :smile:
  14. Apr 7, 2014 #13


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  15. Apr 7, 2014 #14

    jim hardy

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    Mark's Mechanical Engineer's Handbook
    CRC Handbook of Chemistry
    Asimov's "The Sensuous Dirty Old Man"
  16. Apr 8, 2014 #15
    Cosmos, by Carl Sagan
    Understanding Comics: By Scott McCloud.
  17. Jan 24, 2015 #16
    I'm a big believer in the idea that as long as you preserve the math the rest can be rebuilt from scratch over time. So maybe a nice math overview or focus on analysis like Tao's, Something more general going over the entire development of it like Penroses's The Road to Reality or A Brief History of Nearly Everything to get an idea of what we have to rebuild, and lastly a practical guide for survival and building the basics of society back like a survivalist guide of some kind.
  18. Feb 13, 2015 #17
    What a loaded question. A thorough dictionary, for starters. Preferably NW's 1828 or 1913 with an added section for the words complied since then.
  19. Feb 18, 2015 #18
    Jules Verne all books

  20. Feb 19, 2015 #19
    "The complete worst case scenario survival guide"
    "50 Shades of Gray"
    "Fluid Mechanics" by Granger
  21. Feb 20, 2015 #20
    "For them; The Living" by Robert A. Heinlein
    "On Liberty" by John Stuart Mill
    "The Science of Discworld" by Terry Pratchett
  22. Feb 20, 2015 #21
    Are you being serious?
  23. Feb 20, 2015 #22


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    Going back to a world of Morlock cannibals.

    "Basic blacksmithing" David harries
    "Basic gunsmithing" John Traister
    The Art of War Sun Tzu, any good translation
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2015
  24. Feb 20, 2015 #23
    Well, it was between 50 Shades and Twilight. I figure since I have no chance with Kristen Stewart, 50 Shades would jumpstart my marketability as a mate in this post apacolyptic world.
  25. Aug 14, 2016 #24
    Einsteins special and General relativity - because it would help in the future either this or a a compilation of physics
    Collins dictionary - if I was in the situation in the time machine then I'd want to educate the habitant
    Hitchhikers guide to the galaxy
  26. Aug 14, 2016 #25


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