The Thing Is
‘The Thing Is is that great rarity: a book so original that it resembles, not even slightly, any other book I’ve ever read. A book of such breadth and depth, such mystery, such lacerating beauty that I found myself putting it down occasionally because with every page I was that much closer to the end. It’s a remarkable accomplishment’
— Michael Cunningham, author of The Hours
‘Artful and illuminating, this meditative novel is a hugely enjoyable take on the risky business of being human’
— Salley Vickers, author of Miss Garnet’s Angel
‘A post-modern cabinet of wonders, an enigmatic, compulsive wander around the author’s remarkable head, in words wondrously streamed out of his conscious: poetic, chaotic, crazy, sublime . . . An often hilarious game of word association, there’s a little of Woolf and Joyce and Thomas Browne going on here – but a lot of whimsical fun too. The Thing Is is like being at the most fantastical cocktail party, and saying, or hearing, the most wonderful things’
— Philip Hoare, author of RISINGTIDEFALLINGSTAR
The Earth Gazers:
On Seeing Ourselves
'An elegantly written history of man's efforts to reach space ... [Potter] has taken a considered risk in retelling the tale of how we first came to see our planet from the outside. It pays off beautifully. The result is a fresh and elegantly wrought account of mankind's journey from firing lumps of jerry-rigged metal from cabbage fields to crunching around in the dust of another world ... The Earth Gazers is a terrific piece of writing'
— The Times.
'Well written and takes a different, more personal viewpoint than many others on the subject'
— BBC Sky at Night.
'Potter's history of the great adventure nicely catches the tension between the sublime escape represented by space travel and the hideous detail of getting there; the euphoria of great ambition and the bleak anticlimax of touchdown'
'Clearly illustrates the contrasts, contradictions and egos in those involved in the space race and is completely fascinating'
— Four Shires Magazine.
'An enthralling account of the golden age of manned space travel that emphasizes the transcendent experiences of everyone involved, and he makes a convincing case that America lost something vital when it ended'
How to Make a Human Being:
A Body of Evidence
`A clever, subtle, enjoyable book - and a deeply English one, full of idiosyncrasy and resistance to easy answers' — Sunday Times
`Sparky and fun... Auperb. Potter investigates what it is to be human, and his method is to investigate the history of human thought'
— Evening Standard
`Beautiful and profound ... Not only unlike any work of literature I've read, it comes closer than any new work I've read to doing full justice to the impossible complexity of living a life ... It concerns matters of mortality, and of grocery shopping. It is - I'll just say it - a significant book' — Michael Cunningham, author of `The Hours'
`A sort of commonplace book full of paradox and conflicting ideas, shocking facts and redemptive anecdotes, turbulent with two or three millennia of human thought ... The source material is wonderfully diverse ... Very enjoyable'
`Well-travelled imaginations will enjoy a jaunt with fiery polymath Christopher Potter; "How to Make a Human Being" is a quirky investigation into our deepest nature' — Hilary Mantel, Guardian
`Rich and wonderful ... A clever, subtle, enjoyable book. If we are a parliament of selves, this book is a parliament of explanations'
— Sunday Times
`Potter illuminates the human in all its manifestations from single cell to creator of culture ... The scattershot narrative somehow coalesces into a brilliant whole and compelling case for anti-reductionism'
— Nature Magazine
`Potter always has something interesting to say, even if you disagree ... this is a wonderful and unique book.'
— Lisa Randall, Professor of Physics at Harvard University
You Are Here:
A Portable History of the Universe
'A wonderful, miraculous book ... The whole universe bottled for your delight' — Stephen Fry
A sort of commonplace book full of paradox and conflicting ideas, shocking facts and redemptive anecdotes, turbulent with two or three millennia of human thought … by turns pessimistic and celebratory, mawkish and solemn … The source material is wonderfully diverse … [How To Make A Human Being] has great fun bringing the work of canonical writers together with a loose philosophical examination of some of the big existential questions … Very enjoyable.
Christopher Potter’s first book, “You Are Here”, was a dazzling introduction for non-scientists to cutting-edge physics … Potter now focuses inward, turning from physics to neuroscience, biology and philosophy. He asks not “where are we?”, but “who are we?” — and finds that science does not have half the answers it thinks. Still, science’s best efforts, as gathered here, feel pretty rich and wonderful … A clever, subtle, enjoyable book. If we are a parliament of selves, this book is a parliament of explanations — and a deeply English one, at that, full of idiosyncrasy and resistance to easy answers.
A quirky and effective way of managing material that has engaged and baffled the greatest minds since antiquity.
Potter illuminates the human in all its manifestations from single cell to creator of culture … The scattershot narrative somehow coalesces into a brilliant whole and a compelling case for anti-reductionism.
Master of the universe
Christopher Potter's history of the cosmos has been hailed as a popular science masterpiece. But as he tells Stuart Jeffries, it took a complete breakdown to spur him to write it