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The Brain Is Wider Than the Sky: Why Simple Solutions Don't Work in a Complex World
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The Brain Is Wider Than the Sky: Why Simple Solutions Don't Work in a Complex World

3.6  ·  Rating Details ·  55 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
Bryan Appleyard uses a combination of memoir, reportage and cultural analysis to examine a critical moment in our history. Drawing on his experience as an acclaimed writer on science, new technology and the arts, he charts the tantalising choices we now face and the questions we should be asking ourselves.
Hardcover, 280 pages
Published November 1st 2011 by George Weidenfeld & Nicholson
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M.G. Harris
Oct 18, 2012 M.G. Harris rated it it was amazing
I bought this book after becoming acquainted with the author's writing via Twitter. His early morning tweets of news articles make terrific reading, cutting across areas of education, philosophy, science, religion, technology and humour. You get a sense of a genuine 'renaissance man', and that's very much the delivery of 'The Brain Is Wider Than The Sky'.

"The Brain Is Wider Than The Sky" has a simple concept at its heart too; that simple solutions don't work for a complex world. Anyone who's spe
Nov 23, 2012 Paul rated it liked it
Shelves: books-read-2013
In lots of ways this is an interesting book, as it looks at the links between art, culture, artificial intelligence, humanity and the power of the mind.

In a series of chapters Appleyard looks at the promises of advertising that offer a solution to your complicated life. To see how his brain works he undergoes a fMRI scan and analysis by the doctors,, he speaks to doctors who look at people with brain damage to see how they relate to normal people. He meets with a series of influential people; B
Dec 15, 2011 Amy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Appleyard has articulated and fleshed out exactly what I have been thinking about on a basic level for months. As Appleyard states in the prologue: "This book is about, in roughly this order, neuroscience, machines, and art." It is primarily a passionate response to our technology-loving culture's over-simplification of ourselves. He doesn't condemn technology, but he patiently spells out the dangers of being seduced by our simple gadgets and scientific achievements so much that we throw away ou ...more
Andrew Langridge
May 14, 2012 Andrew Langridge rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This is a fascinating book whose multidisciplinary attack on scientific reductionism and technological determinism is subtle and well executed. Appelyard is a perceptive cultural critic, who seems as at home in the world of science and technology as in the world of art and literature. His subject matter is timely. A profound unease about all-embracing technology is widespread and necessary to articulate.
My only reservation is the lack of an overarching thesis. The subtitle "why simple solutions
Jun 12, 2012 Vicky rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It was a great book! I had to stop reading and think about some of the ideas, to open my mind, to try to understand. It is my first book by Appleyard and I found only one more in my library. But there is a great website, with many of his articles and I plan to read a lot of his work. Appleyard analyses the contemporary culture, looks at modern life from multiple angles, be it neuroscience, finances, technology or art. Chapters on creativity and genius, and others on where we are all moving in co ...more
David Cheshire
Dec 27, 2011 David Cheshire rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As always this author takes the reader on a heady journey into exciting realms, here how digital media affect our consciousness and sensibilty. He touches on insight, the two modern states (on or off line), the birth of cybernetics (good to see Alan Turing staking get another claim to be the Newton of our age) and other stuff like art, being human and creativity. I loved "vuja de" and also the importance of disciplining yourself to get off line, read something extended and hard (a book, say), an ...more
Karan Singh
Fabulous! And again: fabulous! A clarion call against the pitfalls of myopic, break-it-down thinking. Using examples from, among others, anthropology (rice farming in Bali), art (David Hockney), poetry (Emily Dickinson), mathematics (Paul Wilmott), Appleyard incessantly champions the more-ness that makes us human. Complexity, interiority, originality, imagination: there is so much to being human that machines can neither replicate nor replace. If you read one book before the end of 2011, make it ...more
Oct 23, 2012 Daniel rated it really liked it

Wonderfully warm and informed argument against the dangers of reductionism, over simplification and technological utopianism. The author is at home discussing the arts as he is the sciences makes for a well rounded and thought-provoking discussion of complexity, humanity and creativity.
John Kaye
A wrapping round a good few of his recent journalistic pieces. In the end I'm not sure if there really was a thesis. But a decent read.
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