The Connoisseur's Guide to the Mind: How We Think, How We Learn, and What It Means to Be Intelligent
 
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The Connoisseur's Guide to the Mind: How We Think, How We Learn, and What It Means to Be Intelligent [Hardcover]

Roger C. Schank
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)


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Book Description

October 1991 0671678558 978-0671678555 English Language
Dust jacket notes: "Roger Schank loves to eat and drink. He also loves to think about eating and drinking. Most of all, he loves to think about thinking about eating and drinking. And in The Connoisseur's Guide to the Mind he takes us on an idiosyncratic tour of restaurants and wineries in order to explain how we think and how we learn. By showing what we do when we read a menu, select a wine, sample a dish, argue with a waiter, or recall a favorite meal, this fascinating and accessible book illustrates what kinds of mental operations we perform, why we do what we do, and how we remember - in general, what it means to be intelligent. With wit and insight, Schank reveals the importance of stereotypes in learning, the role of stories in explanation, the significance of 'default fillers,' the problem of 'interence explosion,' and the relationship of expectations and predictions to understanding. Through lively anecdotes on topics ranging from three-star restaurants to Burger King, from vintage champagnes to jug wine, The Connoisseur's Guide to the Mind helps us comprehend the mental processes we have used throughout our lives without ever really thinking about them. Along the way, we learn where to find the best ham in Spain, how McDonald's differs from Lutece, what it means to be an expert, how to get by in a Korean restaurant without English menus, and how to learn by doing. Provocative, instructive, and amusing, The Connoisseur's Guide to the Mind is an adventure in learning for diners, drinkers, and readers."

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

As artificial intelligence authority Schank tries crab sushi in Tokyo, sips champagne in France and samples the cuisines of Denver, Barcelona, Atlanta and Korea, he uses his culinary experiences to explain short- and long-term memory, the mind's tendency to fill in blanks, how people rely on stereotypes, and such mental processes as inference, expectation, learning and generalization. In an ingenious, gourmandizing romp of a book, Schank, director of Northwestern University's Institute for Learning Sciences, takes hungry minds deep inside the mind's workings. Along the way he offers amusing commentary on the Michelin restaurant guide, Japanese food and "wildly overpriced" wines in fancy U.S. restaurants. Readers meet CHEF, a computer program that creates recipes; FRUMP, a program that reads and summarizes newspaper stories; and JUDGE, a program that metes out judicial sentences for crimes.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

A connoisseur of food and wine, Schank is also director of Northwestern University's Institute for Learning Sciences and author of Tell Me a Story: A New Look at Real and Artificial Memory ( LJ 12/90). The pursuit of his gustatory pastime serves as a paradigm to illustrate a very credible theory of how the mind works, how we understand, remember, and think. This intriguing model of the thought process involves such elements as prediction, expectation failure, case-based reasoning, and wondering. Readers who can overlook a tendency to ramble and a certain amount of arrogance on the part of the author will be rewarded with a lucid and fascinating theory of intelligence. Schank's highly unusual yet effective approach should encourage thought, lively discussion, and perhaps the sampling of a few bottles of old Bordeaux.
- Laurie Bartolini, Lincoln Lib., Springfield, Ill.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Summit Books; English Language edition (October 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671678558
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671678555
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.8 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,117,898 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wondering starts the process of learning. January 26, 2007
Format:Hardcover
In the Connoisseur's Guide to the Mind, Roger Shank uses his love of great food to teach us about how human beings learn and think, primarily through the process of remembering and indexing. I think the best way to learn what a non-fiction book is about is through a series of quotes taken from the book.

If everything happens the way you expected it to happen, you may well be happy, but you won't learn a thing. To learn we need expectation failure. Further, we need expectation failure we can cope with. The failures have to be small rather than large. (p.153)

All important knowledge is in the form of expectations. (p.50)

Expectations come from prior generalizations. (p.155)

"We must evaluate our experiences in terms of what we can learn from them in order to learn from them. Remembering everything actually prevents you from concentrating on what can be learned...

We have a major problem, therefore, when we begin to learn something new. We must alter our knowledge base by adding what we are now processing to what we already know. But where exactly do we add the new information? Where does a new episode belong?

This question is not frivolous, although it is not one that any of us is prepared to answer consciously. To give you a sense of the problem imagine that I have been presented with a long-forgotten Minnesota establishment as a remembrance of the evening, and that, it so happened, I have a copy of the menu of every meal that I have ever eaten. Imagine that I live in a house full of menus. Where should I put the Minnesota menu?

I could choose to file all my menus by date. In that case, the filing would be easy, but the retrieval would be difficult.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
One time when I mentioned to a fellow homeschooling mom that I had enjoyed Roger Schank's Coloring Outside the Lines, she recommended this book. I finally got around to reading it, and I have to say that it was a disappointment. The premise sounded intriguing as I both love to cook and am interested in cognitive psychology. But while I really enjoyed certain chapters, I found the author's food & wine snobbery very tedious. He went on and on ad nauseum about how much of a gourmand he is, to the point where he insists on ordering for his dining companions because of his allegedly superior knowledge. I kept having the urge to smack him and tell him to get over himself. I got to the point after 4 chapters of this where I couldn't stomach wading through any more conceited anecdotes that I started skimming (something I hardly ever do) until I got to the final chapter, which I enjoyed.

Skip this one unless you have a high tolerance for hearing how great the author thinks he is.
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