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Curious: The Desire to Know and Why Your Future Depends On It

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  2,060 ratings  ·  265 reviews
Everyone is born curious. But only some retain the habits of exploring, learning and discovering as they grow older. Which side of the ’curiosity divide’ are you on?

In Curious Ian Leslie makes a passionate case for the cultivation of our desire to know. Curious people tend to be smarter, more creative and more successful. But at the very moment when the rewards of curiosit
...more
Paperback, 310 pages
Published May 2014 by Quercus Books (first published April 30th 2014)
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Average rating 4.02  · 
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 ·  2,060 ratings  ·  265 reviews


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Lisa
Jul 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Curiosity made me buy this book!

Browsing the shelves in a bookstore, it caught my eye and I spontaneously bought it, probably as a subconscious reaction to the fact that I have heard that I tend to be too curious about everything ever since I was very little. It is a topic that has followed me from early childhood over my academic studies and into motherhood and teaching.

As a literary phenomenon, it has a negative connotation, starting with Eve, who could not resist the temptation to know more
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Daniel
Mar 04, 2015 rated it liked it
# Takeaway: Curious

## Motivation

I was motivated to read _Curious_ because my girlfriend and I were interested in understanding the difference in our relative levels of curiosity. We observed that I demonstrate particularly more curiosity than she does. For example, I regularly struggle to not compulsively, and rudely, take out my phone during dinner to search for an answer to some unknown question that arises during dinner conversation. I am also often distracted by the exploration of some rando
...more
Ian
Aug 18, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Dumb literature review for a buzzword. This is the shallow dive you were looking for. Drivel like "curiosity is underwritten by love" confirms that Leslie has nothing to add to the discussion. He quotes the authors and studies you've read about elsewhere, but where they had better context, and name drops every book and entity from The Odyssey to Google. As someone who takes curiosity seriously, and has studied the scientific literature, I found this a trivialization of an important idea. ...more
Joy D
The author combines the results of research with anecdotes to provide an illuminating volume on why curiosity is so important to lifelong learning and our advancement as a global society. He examines the risks inherent in some current technological trends, such as smart phones and internet searches, and how to overcome them. He looks at what arouses curiosity and what quenches it.

Topics include:
- Three primary types of curiosity (diversive, epistemic, and empathic)
- The differences between puzz
...more
Eric
Jan 18, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who have not previously thought about thought, but now are suddenly interested post-stroke
Shelves: information
I'm starting to get a little tired of the "journalist writes about some vague topic" genre of popular non-fiction. It's a tried and true formula; anecdote, brief statement of some academic's viewpoint, historical reference, review of some study, story about Benjamin Franklin/Mark Twain/Isaac Newton/Winston Churchill, and concluded mercifully by some overstated thesis presenting something obvious as though it's novel. The cycle repeats itself a couple dozen times over this thin volume. The storie ...more
Charlene
Dec 03, 2015 rated it did not like it
Really strong start. As I began to read, I grew more and more excited that someone has written a book about curiosity. With over 500, mostly positive, reviews on goodreads, it seemed to me a really worth while book. Of course it would appeal to readers. Why else do we crack open a book, if not for curiosity.

But then he began his long focus on baby studies. Many of the studies themselves were fine, even enjoyable, but by the time he got to attachment theory, I felt like, "Come on already." At th
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Philippe
In this book, author Ian Leslie has a number of interesting points to make:

* Curiosity has always constituted an evolutionary advantage. In a complex world that’s even more true as it’s impossible to know what might be useful in the future. Hence it’s important to spread our cognitive bets, i.e. to be curious. Curiosity as a personality trait is a solid predictor of academic and professional success.

* There are different types of curiosity: (shallow) diversive curiosity, (deeper, more disciplin
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Jerome Jewell
Jan 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
We hear the term “intellectual curiosity” bantered about so often these days. Ian Leslie goes beyond the rhetoric to remove any ambiguity about what this term really means and why it’s something that we need to embrace. He does so without preaching and also shows the reader HOW to accomplish the embrace.

After reading the first 20 pages, I sensed that “Curious” would be an especially-memorable reading experience. But it turns out that I under-estimated. This is possibly the most meaningful book I
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Angie Reisetter
Jan 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is a great summary of our current understanding of curiosity and the important role it plays in individual lives and the society built by those individuals. I see in some of the other reviews that it is dismissed as popular fluff. In a sense, that's fair, since it's a summary, and Leslie doesn't add any new scientific evidence to the academic field of curiosity and learning. But those who do define the field have produced works that are a lot less fun to read than this -- they're not popula ...more
Mark
Dec 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
In this relatively short exploration of one of humanity's most distinguishing traits, Ian Leslie quickly formulates a definite point of view, but backs it up with good studies, strong interviews and a clear, winning writing style.

His basic contention is that curiosity is what has driven scientific and cultural advancement, and that that this powerful impulse in humans may be under threat by the Internet and certain ill-founded educational philosophies.

Unlike some other Internet alarmists, thoug
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Lorrie
Apr 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
We read this book as a group project/study group at work; hence, it took a while to get through it since we divided it into 3 readings for 3 different meetings. I intensely read the 2nd section since I was the moderator & wanted good notes to refer to. I’m really glad I paid such close attention to it because out of my own curiosity for being a conscientious leader at work, I instead felt intrinsically rewarded for being a faithful grandmother. A child is pretty much loaded with life’s tools by ...more
Marcia
Jan 20, 2015 rated it liked it
had to skim lots of this book, was hoping for something similar to Malcolm Gladwell.
many interesting facts - just not interesting enough as a whole
Anant
Feb 21, 2021 rated it really liked it
This was a 3-star until the last chapter when I came to questioning my teaspoons and discovered the Boring Conference, Georges Perec, and Henry James. I think I want to go back and listen to that part before returning this.

I've been slow-reading this, and remember the era of the first few chapters when the two main types of curiosity are discussed - Diversive (shallow/fleeting) and Epistemic (deep/effortful). There is also Empathic curiosity.

I related that to Geeks vs Nerds, but that's another s
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Raz Pirata
“It's only people, as far as we know, who look up at the stars and wonder what they are.”

Do you remember when you were young and put everything you touched in your mouth? Endlessly annoyed the living hell out of every adult within earshot with a barrage of ‘but whys’? And flat out just refused to accept, ‘because I said so”, as a suitable or worthy response. Well Ian Leslie, the author of Curious - The Desire to Know and Why Your Future Depends On It, is hoping you have not left that precocious
...more
Elena
Oct 04, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.4 stars. Nice easy read, the type that i enjoy. Did not collect too much memorabilia, though (perhaps because it is getting colder and i am reluctant to stop my iPhone's audiobook app and take some notes) when i am walking. A couple. Culture is a technology for storing knowledge and building on previous "storage" gradually. Hitchcock was an information sadist (knew how to torture viewers with hooking hints and postponing the reveal). ...more
Dima Yousef Jadaan
In Curious, author Ian Leslie puts together research, anecdotes and knowledge from various fields including history, psychology, education, and science to explain the nature of curiosity, how it works, and how to cultivate it.⁣

The book is divided into 3 parts. In the first part the author discusses curiosity early in life, types of curiosity, and the difference between puzzles and mysteries. The second part explores the history of curiosity and the importance of questions and knowledge. The thi
...more
Kelli Boling
Feb 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
I loved this book on a personal level as well as an academic level. I read it as part of a study on how to incorporate curiosity in the college classroom, and I fell in love with the idea of becoming more curious in my own life. Great perspective, very accessible writing.
Kirsten
Enjoyable read, and I learned a few things which is always nice. Still, I found the argument that modernity's abundant and easy-to-access information is a threat to curiosity to be pretty weak (I often imagined an old man shaking his fist at "things these days", and the phrase "first world problems" crossed my mind more than once). I think it's clear that people intrinsically interested in a topic will take off their gloves and delve into it no matter whether the answers they're looking for are ...more
James Lang
Sep 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Outstanding book. Fascinating, well-researched, and well-written. Artful mix of research, historical and contemporary examples, and journalism. A pleasure to read and learn from.
Guilherme Ximenes
Feb 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
I took quite a long time to finish reading this book because I was always postponing the reading in order to do more important stuff. Anyway, I really liked how the author relates knowledge, curiosity and creativity, this definitely makes this book worth reading. The accumulation of facts and how your brain put them all together in order to create something new and give you insights, that's a pretty interesting perspective in understanding creativity.
The book also breaks some "modern education"
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Nick Quenga
May 20, 2021 rated it really liked it
This reaches deep into what makes us human. A quick read and can rekindle wonder about the world.

There are 3 types of curiosity: diversive (looking for distraction), empathic (emotional intelligence and how other people think), and epistemic. The last covers things hard to learn and deep thinking to understand. It is what can become obsessions or drag us out of depressions.

With the internet, vast stores of information are available. Modern education philosophy holds that memorization is bad or
...more
Evelyn Petschek
Sep 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
A very readable book, the author makes a number of interesting points. I think the two that will stick with me the longest are that curiosity is a choice and that just about anything can be interesting if you just pay close enough attention. He also raises interesting questions about the easy accessibility to information provided by the internet and how that may be impacting curiosity and creativity. Audio narrator was only so so.
David Msomba
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Marrije
May 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book challenged one of my most dearly held beliefs: that progressive education (like Montessori) is a Good Things. Well, it's not, that is, not for everybody: only for people who already have the parents with enough money, time and education to give their kids a solid base of factual cultural knowledge. We need *facts* to use as a base/scaffolding to kindle curiousity and to hang new knowledge on. It's infuriating, but we need to give young people a solid grounding in dates and times tables ...more
Paula
Jan 08, 2021 rated it really liked it
Nine basic ideas for greater curiosity, telling you how to stay curious. (Never stop asking questions. Questions make your mind hungry; make an effort to gather knowledge; anything can be interesting with the right perspective.)

Curiosity can be thought of a cognitive muscle that has to be nurtured with new knowledge in order for it to grow. If you can master this art then you will have a greater chance of being more fulfilled in life.
Cheryl Fennewald
Feb 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Thoughtful, informative, and validating for anyone interested in inquiry learning or instruction!
Caren
Nov 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult-nonfiction
As someone who has been accused of (ahem) asking too many questions, I really enjoyed a book that encourages more asking. Actually, I think most Goodreads folks are probably curious sorts. Isn't that one reason we reach for books? The author says, "Curiosity rises in tandem with knowledge. The intensity of our curiosity is affected by whether we think the information that we're missing is likely to provide insight." (page 70) He also talked a bit about the strengths of reading print sources: "Th ...more
Harry Jordan
Oct 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: top-100
Some people are contented to remain blissfully ignorant and others just give up trying to learn. On the other extreme of the bell curve, there are some who think they know everything, unaware of the blindspot of confusing content masterly with the deeper "why". In the middle, there are some with a passion for the process. Ian Leslie labels these folks "Foxhogs." His book is a delightful review of what it takes to be a better one of these. ...more
Max
Aug 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is an engaging and very readable book about why it pays to nurture your curiosity.

Leslie gives an interesting account of how different cultures have regarded curiosity throughout history, and goes on to consider how the internet is affecting our tendency to be curious. He also discusses the role of education in raising children with a deep interest in the world. In the final part of the book he offers advice on how to 'stay curious', giving case studies of various successful business peopl
...more
Nelson Zagalo
This book touches an highly relevant topic, the human curiosity, and it does a good job in promoting science being done in domains relevant to understand it.
The first part of the book is highly charged with new findings and an overall understanding of the subject, but then the book starts declining in interest, when Leslie tries to enlarge the scope, and discuss the overall topic impact, touching different human activities and characteristics, presenting studies and theories from older and plent
...more
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London-based author who writes ideas-based non-fiction. He also writes and performs in the comedy show Before They Were Famous for BBC Radio 4. Ian appears as a commentator on current affairs and culture for the BBC, Sky, and NPR.

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