100 Events that changed the world – essential reading

100 eventsMagazine reading (of the printed type) is a treat I indulge in when I am on holiday. Before a long road trip I stock up on a variety of magazines from current affairs and business, to women’s magazines and technology. I believe that reading widely is essential to providing context for one’s thinking. One of the publications that caught my eye recently was National Geographic’s 100 Events that Changed the World Special Issue. It provided some interesting insights and sparked some great conversation on our 2 500km trip this holiday season.

What’s inside

It is a brilliant, easy-to-read summary of the story of the human experience thus far. It covers historical events, discoveries and inventions that fundamentally shaped changed the world forever, from the first entry: Man Discovers the Use of Fire, to the last: Nobel Peace Prize Awarded for Youth Advocacy. Each entry is short, between 150 and 300 words in double line spacing, making it simple enough for anyone to read, even children from about 12 upwards will appreciate some of the entries. In true National Geographic style it is lavishly illustrated with exceptional images.

I think it is a must read for everyone, even those who are not history buffs, providing context and perspective to the world we live. This collector’s item will cost you R99.90. Go and grab your copy while they are still on the shelves and I, for one, will be encouraging my teens to give it a read.

National Geographics top 100 events

Here is the list of the 100 events contained in this special edition – as an author myself, I have so much respect for the process that leads an editorial team to decide what to leave in and what to leave out:

  1. Man discovers the use of fire
  2. The emergence of the “Wise Man”
  3. Invention of the bow and arrow
  4. The birth of agriculture
  5. Ḉatal Hüyük: the first city
  6. Man makes the round wheel
  7. The legendary Pyramids at Giza
  8. The code of Hammurabi
  9. Creation of the first alphabet
  10. An age forged in iron
  11. The first civilization in Mesoamerica
  12. The emergence of Greek culture
  13. The first use of coins
  14. The canonization of the Torah
  15. The Tiger of Qin unifies China
  16. Invention of concrete revolutionizes engineering
  17. Connecting East and West along the Silk Road
  18. The Roman Empire is born: becoming Augustus
  19. Ministry of Jesus: The foundation of Christianity
  20. White Horse Temple built, Buddhism spreads
  21. Modern medicine and the Hippocratic Oath
  22. St Augustine proposes Just War theory
  23. Mathematicians think up zero
  24. Boethius devises musical scales
  25. Allah’s Prophet Mohammed establishes Islam
  26. Charlemagne: Father of Europe
  27. Harnessing horses strengthens feudalism
  28. The fall of the Maya empire
  29. Eriksson, Columbus, Vespucci, and the search for America
  30. An amazing literary year
  31. Khmer’s Suryavarman II builds Angkor Wat
  32. Marco Polo links Asia and Europe
  33. New epidemics: the Black Death
  34. The beginning of modern printing
  35. The “Mona Lisa” exemplifies the Renaissance
  36. Slavery arrives in the New World
  37. Potatoes and the Columbian Exchange
  38. Martin Luther launches Reformation
  39. Copernicus introduces the Heliocentric solar system
  40. Discovery and rediscovery of pulmonary circulation
  41. Mercator’s Projections revolutionize navigation
  42. The English Renaissance and The Bard
  43. Counter Reformation brings New Art and Rembrandt
  44. Tea arrives in Europe and changes the world
  45. The royal roots of opera and ballet
  46. The Bible gets a new translation
  47. A monument to love: the Taj Mahal
  48. Catholic Church puts Galileo on trial
  49. Tasman explores the “Great South Land”
  50. Newton publishes his laws in Principia
  51. Steam engine launches the Industrial Revolution
  52. Chronometer brings safety to the high seas
  53. Old and New World burst into revolution
  54. Russian Decembrists threaten Tsarist power
  55. Cherokee Nation suffers on Trail of Tears
  56. Marx and Engels spread Communism
  57. Charles Darwin and the Theory of Evolution
  58. The World’s bloodiest civil war
  59. America molds the first plastic
  60. Alexander Graham Bell patents the telephone
  61. Women get the vote
  62. Athens holds the first Modern Olympics
  63. Freud, Jung and the Unconscious
  64. Flight at Kitty Hawk launches aviation
  65. Earthquake advances seismology
  66. Archduke’s assassination sparks World War I
  67. Einstein attempts to create a Theory of Everything
  68. Balfour Declaration creates Jewish homeland
  69. The invention of television
  70. Energy boom begins Iraqi oil strike
  71. Discovery of the wonder drug
  72. Roosevelt’s New Deal helps end Great Depression
  73. Mao takes over the Communist Party
  74. World War II claims more than 50 million lives
  75. From the ashes of war the United Nations is born
  76. Non-violent Ghandi is assassinated
  77. Sputnik ignites the space race
  78. Watson and Crick’s Helix unleashes genetic research
  79. Elvis becomes king of Rock-and-Roll
  80. Ray Crock opens the first fast-food joint
  81. Dalai Lama of Tibet goes into exile
  82. The Cold War and the Berlin Wall
  83. Kennedy assassination starts civil unrest
  84. Apartheid protestor enters prison
  85. First heart transplant success raises questions
  86. ATM takeover leads to a new way of banking
  87. Iranian Shah throws a bash for Ancient Monarchy
  88. Pong inventor launches video game craze
  89. The horror of Cambodia’s killing fields
  90. Build-it yourself kit starts PC revolution
  91. The birth of 24-hour news
  92. AIDS becomes a globally feared disease
  93. Glastnost brings Soviet Union to end
  94. World Wide Web and the Internet revolution
  95. 9/11 tragedy starts War on Terror
  96. Harvard social network turns into global phenomenon
  97. Katrina destruction points to climate change
  98. Real estate crumbles causing Great Recession
  99. Humble Jesuit elected Pope
  100. Nobel Peace Prize awarded to youth advocacy

For more about this National Geographic Special Issue click here.

For more about how some of the events on this list have impacted on parenting the next generation of talent, do read my book co-authored with futurist, Dr Graeme Codrington, Future-proof Your Child (Penguin, 2008).

What I’m reading

timeSome of my favourite magazines:

  • Time
  • The Economist
  • Braintainment
  • Stuff
  • Popular Mechanics
  • Destiny
  • National Geographic
  • Fair Lady
  • Food & Home
  • Fresh Living

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