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Summary

Kari Byron - former host of the wildly popular, iconic cult classic MythBusters - shows how to crash test your way through life, no lab coat required.

Kari Byron's story hasn't been a straight line. She started out as a broke artist living in San Francisco, writing poems on a crowded bus on the way to one of her three jobs. Many curveballs, unexpected twists, and yes, literal and figurative explosions later, and she's one of the world's most respected women in science entertainment, blowing stuff up on national television and getting paid for it! 

In Crash Test Girl, Kari reveals her fascinating life story on the set of MythBusters and beyond. With her signature gusto and roll-up-your-sleeves enthusiasm, she invites listeners behind the duct tape and the dynamite, to the unlikely friendships and low-budget sets that turned a crazy idea into a famously inventive show with a rabid fanbase.

The truth is, Mythbusters was never meant to be a science show. But attaching a rocket to a car, riding a motorcycle on water, or lighting 500 pounds of coffee creamer on fire requires a decent understanding of chemistry, physics, and engineering. 

Thus, the cast and crew brought in the scientific method to work through each problem: Question. Hypothesize. Analyze. Experiment. Conclude. 

And as Kari came to learn in her own life, not only is the scientific method the best approach for busting myths, it's also the perfect tool for solving everyday issues, including:

  • Career 
  • Love 
  • Creativity 
  • Setbacks 
  • Money 
  • Sexuality 
  • Depression 
  • Bravery 

Crash Test Girl reminds us that science is for everyone, as long as you're willing to strap in, put on your safety goggles, hit a few walls, and learn from the results. Using a combination of methodical experimentation and unconventional creativity, you'll come to the most important conclusion of all: In life, sometimes you crash and burn, but you can always crash and learn.

©2018 Kari Byron (P)2018 HarperAudio

What listeners say about Crash Test Girl

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love every single minute of this

I love watching mythbusters in my teenage years and I still watch then today. I love the funny stories she has told me makes me laugh all the time.

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Wonderful book wonderfully read by the author

Wonderful book wonderfully read by the author.

She brings life and laughter to the anecdotes, interweaving an interesting book that gives you tings to think on

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A reminder that life isn't a straight line.

I listened to this book while getting my allotted time of fresh air and exercise during the 2020 pandemic. This was shortly after the passing of Grant Imahara in July. As a fan who grew up with Mythbusters during my teenage years, I somewhat expected this to be a behind-the-scenes look at Kari's time on the show, and whilst there was a degree of chatter about the crew and experiences, the focus was largely on Kari's life in the lead up to her big break, and the various avenues and happenstances which resulted in her working at M5.

I listened to this book at an ideal point in my life; straight out of uni, in a global pandemic and unsure the direction my life was going. The book didn't solve all my problems and land me in a super-successful job or anything, but it reminded me that it was okay to not have a plan, and that often trying and failing was a necessary step en route to eventually succeeding.

I have recommended this book to a number of friends. Kari's narration of her past experiences really helped remind me that your life doesn't have to be all planned out, and that sometimes, the twists, turns and detours are often what makes life interesting. Thoroughly enjoyed!

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Different than expected, in a good way.

As a Mythbysters fan I was expecting a basic "this was my work life" which I would have been happy with. But at the end it had more to offer. I did get the behind the scenes information about Mythbysters but it did not end there. Beyond that, I found the authors life experiences to be extremely relatable which I think will help my personal development. Also she narrates the book with great enthusiasm.

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lack of scientific method.

If you are a maker or mythbuster fan this might not be for you, maybe try "everything is a hammer".
If you are a Kari Byron fan then this is a good look into her life.

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Repeats a bit at the end - but otherwise good.

Repeats a bit over the last couple of chapters. Great to hear about behind the scenes at Mythbusters - amazing what they put up with.

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  • JK
  • 26-03-19

Give this to your daughter to read !

As a father who named his daughter after a half Klingon chief engineer, I have always believed in empowering girls to do whatever their hearts desired. Crash Test Girl both warms my heart about the potential for girls in science, but also acts as a painful reminder that the work is unnecessarily harder for girls vs boys.

Crash Test Girl is everything you expect from the author, but a heck of a lot more. Kari does not hold back the rough times, and I think this is essential in telling her story, that working hard on something you love outweighs the bumps in the road.

Parts of this book I shared with my daughter, because I want her to know that women in Science, Technology, Arts, Engineering and or Math, is not a mountain, but more of a flight of stairs you take a step at a time.

Inspiring, thoughtful, and engaging. I came out the end of the book with a greater appreciation for the struggles faced by women in this field - and more importantly, vow to be part of the change that will make these struggles something of the past.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Espen Urkedal
  • 25-06-18

Fascinating and captivating

Loved the book.
The way Kari used different myths the process behind them to present different aspects of her life was great.
There was never a dull moment, and her presentation was full of nuance. My only complaint is that the book had to end.

Would definitely recommend buying this book.

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  • Darrin J. Lane
  • 15-06-18

Kari is amazing and so is this book!!!

Learning about Kari’s sometimes difficult and always inspiring life has been entertaining and thought provoking. I’ve loved watching her on TV and now I love her even more! Great job, Kari! I can’t wait to see what you do next!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Caleb
  • 11-05-18

Great book

This was a great book, and I love that it was read by Kari herself, it's like her sitting in your living room telling you her life story.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Kelly
  • 23-07-20

my favorite Mythbuster!

when I found out that kari had a audio book I was stoked to hurry up and buy it and listen to it. Got me through two days of work. thank you kari for sharing your story.

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  • Photo and Music Guy
  • 13-07-20

Good, but wished it had focused more on her work.

It's a good book, Kari is certainly an interesting person, who has a pretty eventful life story. She's a classic success story by taking chances, and making the most out of what she could. She has some great insight as well.

However, I would have liked more stories from her shows, and behind the scenes information. Much of the book is her regular life, which we all have, and isn't that different from everyone else. Typical of biographies, she focuses a lot on parts that aren't as interesting, while not putting a ton of her interesting work stories.

Not bad, and her reading it herself is great!

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  • Jamie
  • 06-12-21

Good book

Lost a star because I like foxes. F that Toyota ha ha ha ha

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  • Adam Paswaters
  • 18-01-21

what a bad ass!

Kari Byron is an inspiration to for all you find their inner bad ass. the stories are great, the advice incredible, and the inspiration priceless.

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  • Leigh Sampson
  • 30-12-20

Engaging

Listened start to finish in one sitting very engaging. Back story about the show was interesting, although not as interesting as her personal life

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  • S. Shock
  • 26-11-20

good book

good book, perforamce was good, the story was well done. i would recommend this book.