The Knowledge: How to Rebuild our World from Scratch

Maybe it was an asteroid impact, a nuclear war, or a viral pandemic. Whatever the cause, the world as we know it has ended and you and your community of survivors must start again. What key knowledge would you need to not only survive in the immediate post-apocalyptic aftermath, but avert another Dark Ages and accelerate the rebooting of civilisation from scratch? Living in the modern world, we have become disconnected from the basic processes that support our lives, as well as the beautiful fundamentals of science that enable you to relearn things for yourself. The Knowledge is a grand thought experiment on the behind-the-scenes fundamentals of how our world works, and what drove the progression of civilisation over the centuries.

This event is based on my book, The Knowledge, which is  a New York Times and Sunday Times bestseller, and was also awarded The Times ‘New Thinking’ Book of the Year. The event showcases a lot of artefacts and objects I made from scratch during the research for the book, and also features lots of demos and short videos of the processes involved.


If you would like to book this talk please email


Visit the main website for The Knowledge book:


“A glorious compendium of the knowledge we have lost in the living; the origins of the material fabric of our actual lives. This is the most inspiring book I’ve read in a long time”
— The Independent

“An extraordinary achievement. With lucidity and brevity, Dartnell explains the rudiments of a civilisation. It is a great read even if civilisation does not collapse. If it does, it will be the sacred text of the new world — and Dartnell that world’s first great prophet.”
— The Times

“The Knowledge is a fascinating look at the basic principles of the most important technologies undergirding modern society. It is a fun read full of optimism about human ingenuity”
— The Wall Street Journal

“The Knowledge is a stimulating read, a grand thought experiment on re-engineering every building block of civilisation”
— The New York Post

“A terrifically engrossing history of science and technology”
— The Guardian

“The ultimate do-it-yourself guide to ‘rebooting’ human civilisation”
— Nature

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