Hidden Systems

Water, Electricity, the Internet, and the Secrets Behind the Systems We Use Every Day

Paperback, 272 pages

English language

Published May 15, 2023 by Penguin Random House LLC, Random House Graphic.

Copied ISBN!

View on OpenLibrary

5 stars (4 reviews)

2 editions

Excellent graphic work telling the story of the internet, electrical, and water systems on which we depend.

5 stars

Wasn't actually sure what I was getting when I ordered this, but I'm no an infrastructure kick so this one came as a double-purchase with Deb Chachra's "How Infrastructure Works" (that one's a couple of books down the queue still).

"Hidden Systems" is a graphic telling of the stories of three things we depend upon utterly, but probably spend little time considering how they work in real-world concrete terms: the internet, electricity, and water.

Easy to read, beautifully, and simply designed, and providing a genuinely superb sense of both the scale of these systems and how their many parts inter-connect, "Hidden Systems" is very much worth your time (and it won't ask too much of it, though there's plenty here to look back over more than once).

Nott's explicit goal is to allow us to think in clear and honest terms about the physical and human efforts, costs, and outcomes …

Revealing the hidden side of these systems that we use in our daily lives.

4 stars

An interesting illustrated book that look that three things we take for granted: the Internet, electricity and water. It shows the history of how we created the Internet and how we now harness it and electricity and water to power our modern society. But the book doesn't shy away from showing the damaging effects all three have had on parts of society (like the underprivileged and marginalized).

On the internet, the book shows that our desires to use it to gather information and to broadcast our thoughts (yes, I'm aware that this review is part of that desire) lead to huge resource requirements to store and transmit the information.

The discovery and harnessing of electricity, from the initial small groups to the huge modern conglomerates that generate and distribute electricity, have damaged the environment and people whose lands are now gone (flooded by electricity generating dams, for example).

Water has …

Hope for sequels, but these 3 are important

5 stars

Takes three pervasive infrastructures and in a simple graphic treatment breaks them down in systematic detail, in historical and social context, and prompts questioning inequities and future reconsiderations of these built systems and their relationships to our global ecological society.