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Hit on all the pertinent points with mastery. Makes the compelling case that there are no absolutes in science. Understanding that science is about constructing models rather than revealing reality.

Jonah Lehrer's "Control Your Spotlight. Kevin Kelly's "Failure Liberates Success. Steven Pinker's "Positive-Sum Games. Explains what is behind the power of science. Donald Hoffman's "Our Sensory Desktop. Terrence Sejnowski's "Powers of Guilio Boccaletti's "Scale Analysis. Sam Harris's "We are Lost in Thought. Sue Blackmore's "Correlation is not a Cause. Mathew Ritchie's "Systematic Equilibrium.

Scott D. Sampson's "Interbeing. Satyajit Das's "Parallelism in Art and Commerce. Vinod Khosla's "Black Swan Technologies. Fiery Cushman's "Understanding Confabulation. Negatives: 1. Some essays were not worthy of this book. It's not my intent to denigrate any of these great minds so I'm not going to mention them by name. Thankfully just a few received zero or one stars. Some of my favorite authors let me down while others flourished.

It requires an investment of time. In summary, I enjoy these kinds of books.

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The Edge does a wonderful job of selecting a thought-provoking question and an even better job of bringing in intellectuals from a wide range of fields to answer it. The search for knowledge is a fun and satisfying pursuit. Pick up this book and enjoy the ride. Mar 09, Menglong Youk rated it really liked it Shelves: nonfiction , science , psychology , inspirational. The perspectives of the essays are ranging from biology, sociology, astronomy, technology, all the way to psychology.

Personally, during the first tens pages of the book, I enjoyed cramming the new in 3. Personally, during the first tens pages of the book, I enjoyed cramming the new information into my thought, but I must admit that the further I read, the more challenging it became; it's not because those answers are uninformative or boring, but because they seemed not to catch my interest since my poor brain couldn't comprehend those words.

However, the book still provides me some considerable ideas to improve my future thinking skill. Finally, I will leave you with a small part of Michael Shermer's essay titled "Think Bottom Up, Not Top Down": Most people, however, see the world from the top down instead of the bottom up. The reason is that our brains evolved to find design in the world, and our experience with designed objects is that they have a designer us , whom we consider to be intelligent.

So most people intuitively sense that anything in nature that looks designed must be so from the top down, not the bottom up.


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Bottom-up reasoning is counterintuitive. This is why so many people believe that life was designed from the top down, and why so many think that economies must be designed and that countries should be ruled from the top down. Feb 09, Morgan Blackledge rated it really liked it. Brockman is the prince of nurd pimps. He's got all the big brained studs in his stable. He's a rock star of science lit agents who even knew you could be that.

I fuckin hate dinner parties and that kind of stuff. But I would love to attend one of Brockman's wing dings. He's bros with the smartest, most interesting people in the world. He's cranking out these little essay books and they're all really good. The way it works is he periodically asks all of his crew to write short usually o Brockman is the prince of nurd pimps.

The way it works is he periodically asks all of his crew to write short usually one or two paragraph long pieces about different subjects. Since they're the smartest, most interesting people in the world, the results tend to be pretty smart and interesting. A SHA is like a word or phrase that describes some complex phenomenon in a way that enables people to more easily think about complex, abstract issues.

They're like tools for your cognitive tool kit. And as indicated by the books title, they make you smarter. Some notable SHAs are natural selection, placebo etc. This book is loaded with cool lesser know SHAs and interesting reframed of some old standards, all in bite sized portions. Good stuff.

Jan 16, Peter Gelfan rated it really liked it. This is a small-plates restaurant for the brain. Each dish runs anything from one to four pages. Occasionally I could gobble up ten in a sitting, but often one would be so delicious and filling that I would need to stop reading and ponder its ramificatio This is a small-plates restaurant for the brain. Occasionally I could gobble up ten in a sitting, but often one would be so delicious and filling that I would need to stop reading and ponder its ramifications.

The editor implicitly grouped the pieces by similarity, but he must have had a hard time deciding which went best with which others because of the wealth of interconnections amongst them. Dec 12, Michael Zhang rated it really liked it. Ugly name, beautiful content. Jan 13, Sebastian rated it did not like it.


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May 25, Ryan rated it liked it. This will make you smarter. Well, if knowing the words Copernican principle, gedankenexperiment, or nexus causality will make you sound smarter, er, smarter, then grab it. The book offers a wide array of answers to the Edge Question "What scientific concept would improve everybody's cognitive toolkit?

Two flaws of putting into a book a number of different field specialists: 1 some authors basically repeat what the other authors have said 2 some aut This will make you smarter. Two flaws of putting into a book a number of different field specialists: 1 some authors basically repeat what the other authors have said 2 some authors contradict what the other authors have said. The book is also reflective of what is there in the current scene of modern science, philosophy, and psychology.

Most authors, instead of giving a straight answer for the question, used this as a platform for their ideas such as P. Myers' "man as an accident," Sean Carroll's "pointless universe," Richard Dawkins' "use of experimentation," and Lawrence Krauss' "uncertainty principle. I appreciate some of authors who really got into the heart of the matter. The discussion about the focusing illusion Daniel Kahneman and shorthand abstraction Richard Nisbett gave me that "aha" moment. I find Nicholas Carr's essay on cognitive load very practical. When our cognitive load exceeds the capacity of our working memory, our intellectual abilities take a hit.

Information zips into and out of our mind so quickly that we never gain a good mental grip on it.

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The information vanishes before we've had an opportunity to transfer it into our long-term memory and weave it into knowledge. Monitor and manage your cognitive load. Turn the info faucet down to a trickle. Somewhat, this book is worth the time Jun 13, Zack Ward rated it it was ok. I was disappointed at both the redundancy and inapplicability of the answers.

This Will Make You Smarter: New Scientific Concepts to Improve Your Thinking

There were several discussions about the asymmetrical nature of top-down and bottom-up manners of investigation, the subjectivity of observation, the need for replicability, the imperfect but well-intentioned nature of t "This will Make You Smarter" is a compilation of short essays from scientists of every discipline imaginable designed to illuminate scientific concepts that would improve everybody's cognitive toolkit.

There were several discussions about the asymmetrical nature of top-down and bottom-up manners of investigation, the subjectivity of observation, the need for replicability, the imperfect but well-intentioned nature of the scientific method, the tendency we have as humans to attribute one cause to one effect when the two are only correlated or there are other causes at work, the fact that being human skews our ability to perceive the world in an objective way, and science is never sure of anything, etc.

I consider this type of answer to be only relevant to people that deal with theory-theory on a regular basis: i. To be fair there were some other answers that were practical. Overall, there are some gems worth reading about in this book, but you have to pick through a lot of theory-theory in order to do so. I was hoping for some life-hacks, and what I got was some scientists complaining about other scientists. Jan 01, Cynthia Ryan rated it really liked it.

I approached this book with some caution - but fortunately, using Kindle preview, you can try before you buy. This is a book to be read in short bursts and digested. Since most of the 'chapters' are from one to three pages in length, that's easy. You will definitely want to savor each, since they can really challenge your assumptions, and give you a lot to consider. I think this book is very accessible and should be in every family's library - virtual or otherwise. And, I particularly wanted to mention that this is a book that could benefit students and kids from the age of 12 and up.

Aug 04, Karl Nordstrom rated it liked it. This book has a pretentious title. If you would like to read it for free, you can find their answers on Edge. The book is pretty interesting. If you're already a scientific thinker, then you will be familiar with many of the ideas. I found it to be This book has a pretentious title. I found it to be worth reading for the handful of ideas that were not familiar to me.

Dec 31, Bastian Greshake Tzovaras rated it liked it Shelves: non-fiction. I guess I expected too much from this book, given its not so humble title. The selection of topics is okay. The essays are all really short, most are not longer than a typical blogpost. For many topics a bit more background to the ideas would have been a good thing.

If you want a crash course in modern scientific ideas without actually learni I guess I expected too much from this book, given its not so humble title. If you want a crash course in modern scientific ideas without actually learning much besides the general existence of those ideas the book may be nice. Otherwise you can safely skip this one. Jul 31, Z rated it it was amazing. I am proud of myself that I already knew many of these scientific concepts, thanks to intense reading and audiobooking over the course of years The vast majority of the essays are VERY accessible, and each one could be a spur for much further research.

I think this book could be used as a sort of secular devotional, reading one of the short essays each day Feb 27, Ariadna73 rated it it was amazing Shelves: hands-on-books , brain-and-mind. There more than bits of very valuable knowledge in this book. There are reflections on time; space science; physics; ethics; death; knowledge; learning; perspective; perception; etc. I liked that every articla was maximum two pages; and that the authors of each article made a real effort to be as clear as possible.

I would like to have read a book with more quality in the printing or the quality of the paper; because that would make me have a stronger desire to have it on my shelf; but it is definitely worth a reading. Dec 06, Arminius rated it it was ok Shelves: science , nook-book. The book is a collection of articles written by scientists who explain how to improve our cognitive toolkits. Rather than improve my cognitive tool kit I just want to point out what I found of interest in the book. Strangers apparently find people more likable and form good first impressions if they are holding a cup of hot coffee.

Rainy weather makes us introspective and thoughtful which improves our memory. It also drives down the stock market which loves sunny days. A salient point in the book The book is a collection of articles written by scientists who explain how to improve our cognitive toolkits. Stability and consistency are only illusions. Jan 17, Alicia rated it liked it. This book did make me smarter, but then again Don't all books do that in some way? Overall, the essays were well organized and flowed from one topic to the next.

There were some fantastic essays too, and I think the book could have been shortened to focus on those ideas. Major focuses: using data in everyday life, how your brain works, This book did make me smarter, but then again Major focuses: using data in everyday life, how your brain works, evolution, cause and effect Apr 02, Becky Roper rated it it was ok Shelves: non-fiction. I'm not sure what I was hoping for here, but this was a collection of very short pieces by a variety of authors, mostly scientific experts of one kind or another. They each give a short description of a concept they feel could make you think better.

Since the authros are almost exclusively academics, the ideas they share are long on concepts but very short on practical application. A few were too obtuse to even comprehend, and a few others were quite thought-provoking. All in all it was a long w I'm not sure what I was hoping for here, but this was a collection of very short pieces by a variety of authors, mostly scientific experts of one kind or another.

All in all it was a long way to go for a few new ways to look at how you see things and make decisions. John Brockman apparently loves releasing compilation books on some topic. The title is very misleading. Knowing that Brockman loves scientific topics, this book is one of the lesser quality. It has bunch of short thesis-type statements about various things but without any deep arguments.

We just have to simply believe it because some scientist hypothesized that idea. Not my cup of tea in science department Aug 18, Bruno Santiago rated it really liked it Shelves: science. Very nice collection of essays. I recommend for anyone with background in sciences or those who likes sciences overall. Not every essay is good, but most of them were good enough. About 40 of them are top notch and marked for future rereading.

My favorite on was Kakonomics by Gloria Origgi. A must read. Maybe will not make you smarter but will equip you with tools to understand things better, be more compassionate and at the same time more rational about every thought that comes to the mind. Contains great insights about the universe, consciousness, probability, evolution, anthropology, psychology, philosophy, organisation, complex systems and what not. There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Readers also enjoyed. Self Help. About John Brockman.

John Brockman. With a broad career spanning the fields of art, science, books, software and the Internet. In 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 he formed his own literary and software agency. Your childhood games; your family's interests and values; how people in your community express love and hate; what relatives and friends regard as courteous or perilous; how those around you worship; what they sing; when they laugh; how they make a living and relax: innumerable cultural forces build your unique set of character traits.

The balance of your personality is your temperament, all the biologically based tendencies that contribute to your consistent patterns of feeling, thinking, and behaving. Wrongologist Kathryn Schulz, whose recent talk on the psychology of regret you might recall, finds optimism in "the pessimistic meta-induction from the history of science" -- the idea that, because we now know scientific theories of yore have often been wrong, it's safe to assume our own present-day theories are quite possibly wrong as well.

At best, we nurture the fantasy that knowledge is always cumulative, and therefore concede that future eras will know more than we do. But we ignore or resist the fact that knowledge collapses as often as it accretes, that our own most cherished beliefs might appear patently false to posterity. That fact is the essence of the meta-induction -- and yet, despite its name, this idea is not pessimistic. Or rather, it is only pessimistic if you hate being wrong. If, by contrast, you think that uncovering your mistakes is one of the best ways to revise and improve your understanding of the world, then this is actually a highly optimistic insight.

In fact, this seems to be one of the anthology's bigger running themes -- the idea that error, failure, and uncertainty are not only common to both the scientific method and the human condition, but also essential. Futurist and Wired founder Kevin Kelly joins the ranks of famous creators admonishing against the fear of failure :. We can learn nearly as much from an experiment that does not work as from one that does. Failure is not something to be avoided but rather something to be cultivated. That's a lesson from science that benefits not only laboratory research, but design, sport, engineering, art, entrepreneurship, and even daily life itself.

All creative avenues yield the maximum when failures are embraced. The chief innovation that science brought to the state of defeat is a way to manage mishaps. Blunders are kept small, manageable, constant, and trackable. Flops are not quite deliberate, but they are channeled so that something is learned each time things fell. It becomes a matter of failing forward. And theoretical physicist Carlo Rovelli reminds us uncertainty and the willingness to be proven wrong are a vital part of intellectual, and I dare add personal, growth:.

The very foundation of science is to keep the door open to doubt. Precisely because we keep questioning everything, especially our own premises, we are always ready to improve our knowledge. Therefore a good scientist is never 'certain. Therefore certainty is not only something of no use, but is in fact damaging, if we value reliability. But my favorite, for obvious reasons, comes from curator extraordinaire Hans-Ulrich Obrist :. Lately, the word curate seems to be used in an greater variety of contexts than ever before, in reference to everything from a exhibitions of prints by Old Masters to the contents of a concept store.

The risk, of course, is that the definition may expand beyond functional usability. But I believe curate finds ever-wider application because of a feature of modern life that is impossible to ignore: the incredible proliferation of ideas, information, images, disciplinary knowledge, and material products that we all witnessing today. Such proliferation makes the activities of filtering, enabling, synthesizing, framing, and remembering more and more important as basic navigational tools for 21st century life.

These are the tasks of the curator, who is no longer understood as simply the person who fills a space with objects but as the person who brings different cultural spheres into contact, invents new display features, and makes junctions that allow unexpected encounters and results. To curate, in this sense, is to refuse static arrangements and permanent alignments and instead to enable conversations and relations. Generating these kinds of links is an essential part of what it means to curate, as is disseminating new knowledge, new thinking, and new artworks in a way that can seed future cross-disciplinary inspirations.

But there is another case for curating as a vanguard activity for the 21st century.