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This Will Make You Smarter: 150 New Scientific Concepts to Improve Your Thinking [Kindle Edition]

John Brockman
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (148 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $15.99
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Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers

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Book Description

Edge.org presents brilliant, accessible, cutting-edge ideas to improve our decision-making skills and improve our cognitive toolkits, with contributions by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Richard Dawkins, Brian Eno, Steven Pinker, and more. Featuring a foreword by New York Times columnist David Brooks and edited by John Brockman, This Will Make You Smarter presents some of the best wisdom from today’s leading thinkers—to make better thinkers out of the leaders of tomorrow.


Editorial Reviews

Review

This Will Make You Smarter gives us better tools to think about the world and is eminently practical for life day to day. The people in this book lead some of the hottest fields.” (DAVID BROOKS, from the Foreword)

“The world’s smartest website ... Edge is a salon for the world’s finest minds” (The Guardian)

“Edge.org has become an epicenter of bleeding-edge insight across science, technology and beyond, hosting conversations with some of our era’s greatest thinkers” (Atlantic Monthly)

“A winning combination of good writers, good science and serious broader concerns.” (KIRKUS REVIEWS (starred review))

Review

"The world's smartest website ... Edge is a salon for the world's finest minds"--The Guardian

Product Details

  • File Size: 1252 KB
  • Print Length: 451 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0062109391
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; Original edition (February 14, 2012)
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005LC1OR0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #59,119 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
100 of 106 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Bucket of Pearls April 25, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The origin of this book is a simple one: The editor, John Brockman, tossed out the question "What scientific concept would improve everybody's cognitive toolkit?" to over 150 contemporary thought leaders, and recorded the results. Brockman has worked for decades to bring thinkers together, under the premise that great things happen when cross-disciplinary exchanges of brilliant thinking take place. Bacteria, because they are so profligate in exchanging genetic information across species, are astoundingly capable of arriving at new and adaptive solutions to environmental (including antibiotics) challenges. Brockman, I'm guessing, would be comfortable with the notion that in posing annual questions to leaders in the fields of many different disciplines he is increasing the adaptability, creativity, and problem solving capabilities of the human race. This Will Make You Smarter is excellent evidence that he may well be correct. Bacteria have something to teach us.

Almost everyone gets a say here: astrophysicists, sociologists, environmentalists, historians, microbiologists, newspaper columnists, particle physicists, philosophers, and a host of notables in other disciplines. The result is a truly provocative treasure heap of notions that just might do what the title of the book claims. The book is a bucket of pearls: succinct (for the most part!) notions with real punch are the order of the day. John Brockman's website, Edge.org, aims to represent cutting edge ideas, and the included authors often are forced to create neologisms or resurrect arcane vocabulary (e.g. Interbeing and apophenia) to express their thoughts fully.

This book is not a quick read.
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74 of 79 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Quick texts, quick reading April 18, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Description of the book doesn't make clear that it comprises over 100 small texts, all available for free on Edge.org.

In spite of that, texts are interesting and may help you on your life (or make you "smarter", as the title suggests). The book would be more useful if it contained suggestions on how to apply those concepts on daily life, or if texts were grouped in categories. They indeed follow a logic order, but grouping chapters could help organize content into blocks.

I'm just not sure if they are truly "New" scientific concepts as the subtitle suggests. But it's sure a good general guide on what some of the world's most important thinkers are focusing on their researches right now.
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100 of 116 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Cognitive Reference Guide for the Masses February 27, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Just got this book today, so perhaps I'm breaking a rule by posting a review before finishing the book. However, I love this book's structure and breadth of topics. If you like TED, you'll love this book since both distill topics to their essence by leading experts and both leave the audience more informed but wanting more. That and the price is a bargain.

First off the structure of this book is great. 397 pages of short essays ranging from one to several pages. The table of contents (all 24 pages of it) at the beginning gives you the essay titles, authors, and a short phrase describing the essay. There's also an index in the back if you prefer more topical browsing. This structure makes this book very accessible since you can pick it up and read as much or as little as you have time for.

Each essay is self-contained and distills topics which are easy to get out into the weeds on. As the book's title suggests, rather than just factual essays, the authors try to show how elements from their field of study can be used to alter your thinking or better understand the world around you. Each essay presents its own kind of mini world view, a single data point describing not not what to think but how to think.

The range of topics is amazing as well. From the back cover, topics include:
* cognitive illusions/delusions
* experimentation
* fear of the unknown
* biases
* negotiation
* culture
* paradigm shifts
* the natural world
* technology
* biology
* uncertainty & randomness
* time
* science
* and lots more

I highly recommend this book.
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104 of 126 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What is wrong with this picture....??? March 6, 2012
Format:Paperback
I am enjoying the concise and stimulating essays gathered together in This Will Make You Smarter. There are a number of positive reviews that paint a clear picture of this book, but the skewed one-star review by Open Sesame dated March 6, 2012 compels a rebuttal. This reviewer is apparently knowledgeable enough to judge the book to be devoid of new ideas, yet I expect most readers will find, as I have, an ample number of fresh ideas within their experience to stimulate thinking in new directions. Open Sesame is miffed to have purchased the book upon later discovering that the contents are available for free at the Edge web site, but this information is available through Amazon's "look inside" feature which displays a substantial amount of the book contents and the introduction describes how it was developed through the dialogue at the Edge web site. I find a touch of irony in such a smart individual broadcasting their own blunders. There is also a derisive implication that with the book contents being available online that it would be foolish to order the book; this doesn't recognize the perspective of many people who prefer the format and convenience of reading a physical book over that of reading online. Secret agent Maxwell Smart had a favored phrase that sums up the perspective of Closed Sesame: "He missed it by that much....."
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Bringing the public up to date
Great book for those who have an interest in the development of and the general philosophy of science from noted leaders.
Published 4 days ago by rick
5.0 out of 5 stars " This collection of short essays is a delight for anyone who likes to...
In the foreword to this collection David Brooks writes: "If there's gpoing to be a vibrant intellectual life, somebody has to drag reserchers out of their ghettos, and Brockman... Read more
Published 15 days ago by Alan M. Towers
5.0 out of 5 stars Useful Book
I fully recommended for digital marketers
Published 22 days ago by kiklio
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 stars are not enough.
This collection of essays by some of the greatest minds of our era should be required reading for all. Read more
Published 23 days ago by shaney
4.0 out of 5 stars Smarter Book
It won't make you a genius but its a good read.
Published 28 days ago by Richard P
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Some of the short essays are thought provoking, others are just so-so. I doubt this will make you smarter.
Published 1 month ago by s. berger
5.0 out of 5 stars Extraordinary
Not for everyone, but I love it. I think I will be re-reading it regularly.
Published 1 month ago by David Ritchie
4.0 out of 5 stars Some ideas worth chewing on
Buzz words are useful because they let you express a complex idea briefly, but it is easy to use them without thinking about what they actually mean. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Jordan Bell
5.0 out of 5 stars Challenging
These days most of what we find around seems packaged to make life easier, less demanding and intellectually pleasing but not challenging. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Lilly Roth
3.0 out of 5 stars Tends toward turgid.
I thought that several of the articles needed editing for continuity and attention to the subject at hand. Perhaps written for another audience?
Published 2 months ago by Joseph E. Beamon
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