This Will Make You Smarter: New Scientific Concepts to Improve Your Thinking
What scientific concept would improve everybody’s cognitive toolkit? This is the question John Brockman, publisher of Edge.org, posed to the world’s most influential thinkers. Their visionary answers flow from the frontiers of psychology, philosophy ...more
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The founder and publisher of the online science salon, Edge.org, John Brockman, does a great job editing this collection, turning more than 100 essays on a wide range of topics into a coherent manuscript that works its way across the spectrum. You start ou ...more
It's somewhat ironic that although the book is a collection of the ideas of "great minds," many of the essays emphasize the importance of not trusting authority.
Debates over climate change and creationism were mentioned often enough to beco ...more
In bundling the answers, the editor made one unfortunate mistake. He grouped them thematically. Since many researchers promote the same concep ...more
No, in all seriousness, I think this book would have been quite good for me about five years ago - many of the cognitive tools they bring up are indeed very useful. But this book suffers from having too many authors - so for one thing there is quite a lot of redundancy, as multiple people advocate very similar principles, which often overlap with the essays of others, and for another thing everyone was limited to an average of two pages, so there isn't enough room to say anything with ...more
. . .the new cranium must have helped because I can discuss collective intelligence, defeasibilty, and Black Swan technologies with some modicum of confidence. The cover's secondary title is "New Scientific Co ...more
It's neat to scan, but the staggering insights you were looking for are not here.
The idea intrigued me; from each successful, "famous" person, what single thing is it important for people to know? It seemed like the book would be full of good advice.
However, I didn't enjoy reading it. I suppose all the concepts were scientific ones, which didn't interest me. None of the writers (I only read a few. I didn't read the whole book.) spoke about why or how their particular co ...more
Anyway. He's cranking out these little essay books and they're all really good. The way it works is he periodically asks all of his crew to write short (usually o ...more
"This Will Make You Smarter" is a thought-provoking book of scientific essays brought to you by The Edge that provides readers with better tools to think about the world. The Edge is an organization that presents original ideas by today's leading thinkers from a wide spectrum of scientific fields. The 2011 Edge question is, "What Scientific Concept Would Improve Everybody's Cognitive Toolkit?" This w ...more
Like most of these Edge ...more
This is a book to be read in short bursts and digested. Since most of the 'chapters' are from one to three pages in length, that's easy. You will definitely want to savor each, since they can really challenge your assumptions, and give you a lot to consider.
The speakers/writers are notable scientists and thinkers and their ideas range from changes in national policy to simple things the ...more
The book is pretty interesting. If you're already a scientific thinker, then you will be familiar with many of the ideas. I found it to be ...more
A few themes come up over and over again - complexity, unpredictability, evolutionary biology, cognitive biases. While these subjects are certainly intellectually stimulating and while i like other longer works by a handful of the participating authors , readi ...more
There more than 150 bits of very valuable knowledge in this book. There are reflections on time; space science; physics; ethics; death; knowledge; learning; perspective; perception; etc. I liked that every articla was maximum two pages; and that the authors of each article made a real effort to be as clear as possible. I would like to have read a book with more quality in the printing or the quality of the ...more
The essays are all really short, most are not longer than a typical blogpost. For many topics a bit more background to the ideas would have been a good thing. If you want a crash course in modern scientific ideas (without actually learni ...more
Major focuses: using data in everyday life, how your brain works, ...more
It is a very good read for short periods of waiting, like my daily ~12 minute ride on the subway, when I could read ~2 essays per ride.
Not every essay is good, but most of them were good enough. About 40 of them are top notch and marked for future rereading. My favorite on was Kakonomics by Gloria Origgi.
Well, if knowing the words Copernican principle, gedankenexperiment, or nexus causality will make you sound smarter, er, smarter, then grab it. The book offers a wide array of answers to the Edge Question 2011: "What scientific concept would improve everybody's cognitive toolkit?"
The essays are grouped topically. Two flaws of putting into a book a number of different field specialists: (1) some authors basically repeat what the other authors have said (2) some aut ...more
There are a few small advisories and suggestions I'd have for this book:
1. While great ...more
Some common themes (full post ,a href="http://assemblingimaginations.blogspo...
1. Doubt and Experimentation. Instead of treating what we're told as a given, we should see for ourselves the results of actions.
2. Statistics and Probability. A better understanding of risk, probability, uncertainty, would help us worry about the right things--the small, constant dangers (like carbon emissions)--rather than the headline-grabbing but unlikely perils (terroris ...more
This book will make you smarter because you have to look up at least one word per page, in the dictionary.
I gave up on page 33 when I read "nexus causality, moral warfare and misattribution arbitrage".
Upon flipping a few pages simply to get past that chapter I found myself asking, myself, what is the point of this book. So I flipped to the beginning and found the basic sentence that fueled this book: "what scientific concept would improve everybody's cognitive toolkit?".
And found the inability