The encyclopaedia once shaped our understanding of the world. Created by thousands of scholars and the most obsessive of editors, a good set conveyed a sense of absolute wisdom on its reader. Contributions from Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud, Orville Wright, Alfred Hitchcock, Marie Curie and Indira Gandhi helped millions of children with their homework. But now these huge books gather dust, and sell for almost nothing on eBay, and we derive our information from our phones and computers, apparently for free. What have we lost in this transition? And how did we tell the progress of our lives in the past? This book presents a history and celebration of those who created the most ground-breaking and remarkable publishing phenomenon of any age. It tracks the story from Ancient Greece to Wikipedia, from modest single-volumes to the 11,000-volume Chinese manuscript that was too big to print.