I highly recommend the BBC series The Day the Universe Changed. James Burke chronicles the history of western perspective and the milestones that revolutionized it. His wry and sarcastic narration is truly enjoyable.
However the miniseries is incomplete, as it was published before the advent of the permanent coffee filter, arguably the single most important discovery since Homo habilis learned to harness fire.
Fuck, dude. This changes everything.
At quick calculation I have probably gone through about 700 coffee filters a year since I was ten. I had simply never dreamed there was any other way. Well, I have setup some makeshift coffee operations in my day with napkins or nylon stockings in place of coffee filters, but that was only out of desperation. I certainly never dreamed I'd live long enough to see a permanent coffee filter.
If you're curious as to what exactly I'm rambling on about, check this out. It's not some As-Seen-On-TV bullshit. It's the real deal. Mr. Coffee and all!
As I said, this changes everything.