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What Is Your Dangerous Idea? : Today's Leading Thinkers on the Unthinkable

(Edge Question )

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  951 ratings  ·  86 reviews
Düşünülmeyeni Düşünen Günümüzün Önde Gelen Düşünürleri
Kopernik'ten darwin'e, rıchard dawkıns'den jared dıamond, danıel c. Dennett,
Brıan greene, matt rıdley ve howard gardner'a tehlikeli fikirler
Dünyanın önde gelen bilim adamı ve düşünürleri hayatlarımızı daha iyi ya da daha kötü yönde değiştirecek cesur, dikkat çekici, tehlikeli fikirleri keşfediyorlar.

Tıbbi yöntemlerden,
Paperback, 301 pages
Published July 29th 2014 by Harper Perennial (first published November 6th 2006)
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Jul 25, 2007 rated it it was ok
Turns out today's leading thinkers are all scientists and all their dangerous ideas are only dangerous in the sense that other scientists might snub them at university cocktail parties.
Jan 24, 2009 rated it really liked it
This volume reprints material from, one of the most consistently stimulating sites on the Web. Tasty, bite-sized, and challenging essays that are pretty much guaranteed to get any reader annoyed...and thinking.
Sidik Fofana
Oct 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
SIX WORD REVIEW: God, war, disease, technology, the universe.
A mixed bag, but well worth reading. This is a collection of over 100 short-to-very-short essays by leading thinkers in a variety of fields, about both their interpretations of what would constitute a dangerous idea and what specific ideas they think qualify.
Quite a few were intriguing and seemed dead on as far as their potential impact on society in general or on subsets such as scientific disciplines, politics, or industries. There were a number that I thought didn't deserve inclusion because
Dennis Littrell
Jul 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A treasure of ideas from 108 of our most creative minds

(Plus Richard Dawkins, who writes an Afterword.)

I’ll give you some dangerous ideas. Take steps to reduce the human population worldwide to around a billion people and keep it there. Take the biological desire of people to play house and be mothers and fathers, and redirect it into responsible stewardship of the planet.

Don’t like that one? Seems too draconian? How about this? End all tax exempt status for churches, mosques, etc. (Resounding
Kirsty Darbyshire
Dec 10, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: library-book
A collection of short essays about the next "dangerous idea". Copernicus's idea that the earth went round the moon and Darwin's idea of evolution are given as the stock examples of ideas that were dangerous in the past. What will be proved true in the future that we would find difficult to believe today?

I found the articles to be very hit and miss. They variously seemed too obvious, too esoteric or barely worth mentioning. And too many were of the navel gazing "the idea of a dangerous idea is
Matt Heavner
Dec 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
A really good collection to enjoy the "dangerous ideas" from 108 leading thinkers. It is a wide range, roughly and well grouped. It is definitely a good "meta-thinking" exercise - exploring the ideas themselves, then thinking about "What makes an idea dangerous" and even "If an idea is dangerous, is there some responsibility to do something about/with that idea?" (and is that a dangerous idea?) I found some of them very compelling, a few boring/tautological, and some off-the-mark or boring. But ...more
Aug 06, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: math-and-science
Little New Under the Sun

Cue ominous organ music - there are some things Man Is Not Meant To Know!

(But we'd be better off if we did!)

As a long time SF buff I have to say that very few of the ideas expressed were that unusual or dangerous, and some were somewhat predictable. The book consists of 110 visions (including the forward by Stephen Pinker and afterword by Richard Dawkins) that the various authors consider to be disruptive or game changing. The "guest list" is fairly impressive, however
Dena Burnett
May 24, 2017 rated it liked it
I have mixed feelings about this book, and similar compilations.
The Good: This was an easy read. I do appreciate how the multiple authors made their ideas accessible, easy to digest, and uncomplicated enough to be thought-provoking.
The Bad: There's a lot of navel-gazing and mental masturbation in here. This is my biggest gripe with this series. Yes, it's a set of ideas, but few provoke action and an urgency to problem-solve. If you're going to bring "the best thinkers in the world"
Sep 22, 2018 rated it liked it
I am a bit disappointed with this book. I was expecting the ideas to be more radical. The ideas that we don’t have a soul or that the difference between animals and us is more in degree than in kind for example are not new or thought provoking anymore to me. Also, some of the authors delivered barely a snippet. It felt like getting a bunch of appetizers but no main course. One positive though is that I will be following up on some of the authors’ other books. They were the ones who seemed to ...more
Timothy Burbage
Jun 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
This book is a collection of 108 short essays from working scientists with the simple question "What is your dangerous idea?"

This leads to a range of topics covering religion, free will, our place in the universe, and lots of other topics. It is ended by a good afterword by Richard Dawkins.

As with all collections some I really liked and some I didn't. I found it interesting to read and I learnt a lot. The Edge magazine seem to do these kind of books every year and I will keep an eye out for them
Sean Hagey
Jan 14, 2019 rated it it was ok
Some of the essays are interesting, some are thought-provoking, but very few are "dangerous" or daring to venture into the "unthinkable." A handful of the writers use their space to rant against religion or other ideas that might have been dangerous to say in a different era but aren't dangerous now.
May 09, 2018 rated it liked it
Such a great concept to read about and particularly good a decade and change after the fact where I could see some of these ideas had reached a larger society. Three stars primarily because some of the science essays were so academic and specific as to be nearly unreadable. But, this is a series of essays that I really enjoy and I'm looking forward to reading the next one.
Sarah Rigg
Nov 20, 2018 rated it liked it
As other reviewers have said, it's a mixed bag. Some pieces are better than others. It's difficult to have a book like this be both cutting-edge but able to stand the test of time. I expect it's somewhat outdated by now. It's certainly thought-provoking, though.
May 31, 2019 rated it it was ok
Too short to have useful thoughts. Lots of unimportant cliches. Interesting people to read separately would be Daniel Goleman, David Gelernter, and Helen Fisher.
Oct 02, 2019 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kari Mccrory
Interesting essays. Some of them are more true today than when the book was published.
Dec 14, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: get-again
from the library

I was mostly bored. I read with great anticipation because I was wating for something dangerous or at least really new. I only got to p192 out of 301pages so maybe there is still something there.

from the library computer:
Book News

This provocative compilation includes responses to the annual question on the Edge Web site regarding ideas that might be considered dangerous. Contributors include the human genome's decoder, a physicist on reducing global climate change via
Jul 21, 2009 rated it really liked it
One hundred eight writers, most of them scientists and academics, contributed to this book. There are well-known people like Steven Pinker, Richard Dawkins, Helen Fisher, and Jared Diamond and lesser-know people. As can be expected, the short essays, ranging from one to five pages each, vary in interest. But many of the essays examine fascinating ideas that may challenge our beliefs and the status quo (hence, their danger).
Daniel Golman, for instance, notes the difference between having a
Oct 30, 2008 rated it liked it
Despite the lame name, this book is pretty rad. A bunch of scientists/"thinkers" talking about the things they think about that society is not prepared to think about because they are too politically or morally charged, or because the ramifications (or perceived ramifications) of accepting the theories are too scary. For example, the idea that women in general are innately less adept at maths and sciences might be true, but people would rather reject it for fear that acceptance might lead to ...more
Mar 28, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: informative, science
A great toilet-side tome to dip into as you defecate. Each pundit has about 2 pages to get their 'dangerous idea' out. Some are dull some are striking- most you have heard before; some regurgitate ancient philosophical conundrums.

The ones that are most enjoyable are generally by the best writers; who may not be the most original thinkers. As a Sam Harris fan I place his contribution higher than most of the others simply on the merit of his prose; he is always interesting even when going over
Jun 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Do you like ideas? Cause I do and, boy, have I found a few in this book. My curiosity was more than entertained by ideas of influence that parents have on children, unconscious on free will and anti-depressants on love. How neatly, by the way, was this edition framed by a combined erudition of Richard Dawkins and Steven Pinker that encaptured well the essence of many essays in this book.

When it comes to danger of these ideas, entertaining as they are, I couldn't say I got scared all that much by
James Ottaway
Dec 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favourites
This book is an amazing collection of 108 responses to the question "What is your dangerous idea?". The question was posed to a collection of very impressive names, and the goal I had in reading the book of being mentally stimulated and challenged was certainly met.

There are some incredibly interesting excerpts from responses touching on topics such as whether the concept of the soul is a valid one, and whether the notion of free will even exists.

Of course the science vs. religion debate makes
Jul 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
From Copernicus to Darwin, to current-day thinkers, scientists have always promoted theories and unveiled discoveries that challenge everything society holds dear; ideas with both positive and dire consequences. Many thoughts that resonate today are dangerous not because they are assumed to be false, but because they might turn out to be true.

What do the world's leading scientists and thinkers consider to be their most dangerous idea? Through the leading online forum Edge (, the
Mar 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
If you want thought-provoking ideas, this book surely delivers them magnificently; in fact, some ideas can be downright mind-boggling and even incomprehensible. Some do not seem dangerous at all, and some will certainly raise a lot of eyebrows. Some are explained almost in scientific rigour, and some are dispensed in just a short paragraph.

All in all, this book is a very good one to get you thinking about ideas that you did not realize are even able to be imagined - provided that you are an
John Kaufmann
Jul 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science
Excellent. Contributions from 108 pre-eminent scientists and thinkers, 1-4 pages each, relating an idea that, if either (1) true but not currently widely known or accepted by society, or (2) eventually found to be true, would have significant implications. A glance at the Table of Contents can give you a taste of the breadth of the ideas: We Have No Souls; The Genetic Basis of Human Behavior; The Fight Against Global Warming is Lost; Mind is a Universally Distributed Quality; When Will the ...more
Aug 03, 2010 rated it liked it
A “dangerous” idea is not meant to be dangerous literally. Dangerous meaning that the idea is not self-evidently wrong, but by being proven right, or even just by being discussed, it may upset the accepted norms or the current way of thinking or the existing moral order. An example (Steven Pinker’s dangerous idea): What if different groups of people differ genetically in their average talents and temperaments?

The question was put to a bunch of “leading thinkers and scientists.” The result is
Graham Polando
Apr 05, 2014 rated it liked it
Very hit or miss, but more hits than misses. Some authors didn't really seem to get the question, which, at least as Steven Pinker introduced it, was about ideas thought to be disruptive, but which the moral order can, at least in theory, accommodate: Pinker cites heliocentrism as a historical example.

A disconcerting number of the essays even focus on what to do about those rubes in the Midwest who maintain a semblance of theology; no one seems to appreciate that the apparent universal
Jun 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
I am quite happy to have recently discovered the online forum, Edge, and then the printed collection of responses to the annual question from this forum. This edition/collection gave me a lot to think about -- some of which was predictable in terms of subject matter(lots of discussion about physics, creation, and human consciousness), but unpredictable in terms of what these "scientists and thinkers" consider the idea connected to these topics. One of my favorites came from David Lykken, whose ...more
Mar 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Every year the thinkers of Edge write a short essay in response to an annual question, which has resulted in a series of thought provoking collections. But this one question may be the most important to push the edge of human knowledge; ideas that were once deemed provocative, immoral, even dangerous, have since been accepted by society at large. In our time, they have been supplanted by other ideas we might deem dangerous, some of which could possibly be harmful to mankind. Should such ideas be ...more
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With a broad career spanning the fields of art, science, books, software and the Internet. In 1960 he established the bases for "intermedia kinetic environments" in art, theatre and commerce, while consulting for clients such as General Electric, Columbia Pictures, The Pentagon, The White House... In 1973 he formed his own literary and software agency. He is founder of the Edge Foundation and ...more

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