Thursday, August 1, 2013

This Will Make You Smarter- ed. John Brockman

This Will Make You Smarter- ed. John Brockman

the facts
satisfaction: up
pages: 397
gender: mixed
nationality: mixed
year: 2012
Non fiction presents brilliant, accessible, cutting-edge ideas to improve our decision-making skills and improve our cognitive toolkits, with contributions by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Richard Dawkins, Brian Eno, Steven Pinker, and more. Featuring a foreword by New York Times columnist David Brooks and edited by John Brockman, This Will Make You Smarter presents some of the best wisdom from today’s leading thinkers—to make better thinkers out of the leaders of tomorrow.

Well,it doesn't really say anything new and unexpected if you've ever had and absorbed a sciency theory background and many of the short snapshots of thought repeat each other but if you are an unquestioning sort or someone who feels uneasy with sciency concepts, this might be the book for you. I realized that I was probably not the targeted audience from the preface-these scientists were asked, "what scientific concept needs to be incorporated into people's lives?" but I read on to surprise myself by quite enjoying it all. So it goes from the mediocrity principle and grander concepts of chronology to the idea of life as experimentation: nothing new to my life. You get a bit of philosophy with the pessimistic meta induction phrase and why it's not pessimistic and delve into the wonderful world of biases-self serving, nominal, and a great side trip into the uses and perceptions of uncertainty and how we suck at probability. There's a lovely debunk of causality from Nigel Goldenfeld. And if that seems like a lot of ground, I've barely taken you through 60 pages.

I enjoyed this collection nonetheless. Most of the essays are clear and well reasoned for the layman. I was surprised at how many of the names I recognized. This is a good, rich primer of many of the dominant discourses in today's world across the many disciplines of science which includes archaeology, curation, and architecture as well as quantum mechanics, mathematics, and astronomy. Thanks to the short bursts and skillful editing the ideas flow from one to the other making this a surprisingly quick read.

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