Stuff Matters Book Summary - Stuff Matters Book explained in key points

Stuff Matters summary

Mark Miodownik

Exploring the Marvelous Materials That Shape Our Man-Made World

4.3 (19 ratings)
9 mins

Brief summary

Stuff Matters by Mark Miodownik explores the wonders of everyday materials and their impact on human history. Through engaging storytelling, the author uncovers the fascinating science behind materials, from the history of porcelain to the properties of steel.

Table of Contents

    Stuff Matters
    Summary of 5 key ideas

    Audio & text in the Blinkist app
    Key idea 1 of 5

    What are everyday objects made of? Depends on the scale at which you study them.

    From the pencils we write with to the steel utensils we use to eat, every day we encounter countless man-made items. But what are these objects actually made of? In fact, the answer depends on the scale at which you’re examining the object in.

    At first glance, they may seem like monolithic, single-piece units, but look a little closer and you’ll find that the material is usually made up of an intricate arrangement of smaller parts that interlock perfectly. A sweater is made of tightly woven threads, for example. And if you examine those smaller parts more closely, you’ll find that they too are made up of even smaller parts, much like a Russian nesting doll.

    Unfortunately, the naked eye cannot reveal more about your sweater, but a powerful microscope would show the individual fibers that make up these threads. Looking even deeper, you’d see that the fibers consist of hundreds of thousands of molecules, and, finally, atoms.

    These molecular and atomic levels of detail are important, because changes there can have a profound effect.

    For example, consider that though they look completely different, both diamonds and the graphite found in pencils are made up of carbon. The difference in appearance arises from the fact that on a molecular level, the carbon atoms are arranged differently in each material: graphite contains atoms arranged in sheets, whereas in diamonds they are in a cubic structure.

    So, as far as materials are concerned, remember that there’s much more to them than meets the eye.

    Want to see all full key ideas from Stuff Matters?

    Key ideas in Stuff Matters

    More knowledge in less time
    Read or listen
    Read or listen
    Get the key ideas from nonfiction bestsellers in minutes, not hours.
    Find your next read
    Find your next read
    Get book lists curated by experts and personalized recommendations.
    Shortcasts New
    We’ve teamed up with podcast creators to bring you key insights from podcasts.

    What is Stuff Matters about?

    Stuff Matters (2013) is an adventure into the seemingly humdrum stuff we encounter daily. Materials scientist Mark Miodownik delves into the true makeup of modern materials, and invites you to look at your surrounding world through new eyes.

    Stuff Matters Review

    Stuff Matters (2013) explores the fascinating world of materials and their impact on our daily lives. Here's why this book is definitely worth a read:

    • Through captivating stories and relatable examples, it reveals the hidden wonders behind everyday objects, deepening our appreciation for the materials that surround us.
    • Combining science, history, and personal anecdotes, it unravels the mysteries of materials in an accessible and engaging way, making complex concepts easy to grasp.
    • From the secrets of glass to the miracles of concrete, this book showcases the beauty and significance of materials, shattering any preconceived notions that science can be dull.

    Best quote from Stuff Matters

    Fact: By heating diamonds in a vacuum, you can turn them into pure graphite!

    —Mark Miodownik
    example alt text

    Who should read Stuff Matters?

    • Anyone who wants to see the world from a completely new perspective
    • Anyone interested in what makes up the everyday objects around us

    About the Author

    Mark Miodownik is a professor of materials and society at University College London, where he also works as the director of the Institute of Making – home to a library containing some of the rarest materials on Earth. He won the 2014 Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books for Stuff Matters, and he’s been invited to give the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures.

    Categories with Stuff Matters

    Book summaries like Stuff Matters

    People ❤️ Blinkist 
    Sven O.

    It's highly addictive to get core insights on personally relevant topics without repetition or triviality. Added to that the apps ability to suggest kindred interests opens up a foundation of knowledge.

    Thi Viet Quynh N.

    Great app. Good selection of book summaries you can read or listen to while commuting. Instead of scrolling through your social media news feed, this is a much better way to spend your spare time in my opinion.

    Jonathan A.

    Life changing. The concept of being able to grasp a book's main point in such a short time truly opens multiple opportunities to grow every area of your life at a faster rate.

    Renee D.

    Great app. Addicting. Perfect for wait times, morning coffee, evening before bed. Extremely well written, thorough, easy to use.

    People also liked these summaries

    4.7 Stars
    Average ratings on iOS and Google Play
    31 Million
    Downloads on all platforms
    10+ years
    Experience igniting personal growth
    Powerful ideas from top nonfiction

    Try Blinkist to get the key ideas from 7,000+ bestselling nonfiction titles and podcasts. Listen or read in just 15 minutes.

    Start your free trial

    Stuff Matters FAQs 

    What is the main message of Stuff Matters?

    Explore the hidden wonders of everyday materials in Stuff Matters.

    How long does it take to read Stuff Matters?

    Reading time for Stuff Matters varies. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Stuff Matters a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Stuff Matters is a fascinating book that unravels the science behind everyday materials. It's definitely worth reading!

    Who is the author of Stuff Matters?

    Mark Miodownik is the author of Stuff Matters.

    What to read after Stuff Matters?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Stuff Matters, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Saving Aziz by Chad Robichaux with David L. Thomas
    • Meaningful by Bernadette Jiwa
    • Workstyle by Lizzie Penny and Alex Hirst
    • Phaedo by Plato
    • The Moment of Lift by Melinda Gates
    • Either/Or by Soren Kierkegaard
    • Marriage Be Hard by Kevin and Melissa Fredericks
    • The Job-Ready Guide by Anastasia de Waal
    • A Passage to India by E. M. Forster
    • Adaptive Markets by Andrew W. Lo