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19 August 2013

We Recommend: This will Make you Smarter

Estimated reading time Time 2 to read

Over 150 leaders in scientific, artistic and intellectual thought meet to answer a single question: What scientific concept would improve the set of cognitive tools throughout the world?

They have been chosen to respond to the Edge 2011 challenge, formulated by Steven Pinker and presented by the Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kanheman. The editor of the website and founder of the Edge Foundation,  John Brockman, is also the editor of this book, which compiles the answers by some of the world’s most brilliant minds.

This is not a science book. The term “scientific” should be understood as the most reliable way of acquiring knowledge in any discipline, from the humanistic field to quantum physics. The idea is to define a conceptual tool that can be summed up briefly: a SHA (short hand abstraction), but which in turn can be widely applied to understand different aspects of our world.

Image from La Ciencia es Bella

These are some of the examples included in the book:

  • Scientific methods are not for science only, by Mark Henderson (The Times Science Editor). The compilation of information and its conclusions are based on facts, not opinions. It is the best way of thinking.
  • Promoting a scientific way of life, by Max Tegmak (MIT Physicist). Making decisions based on experiments, not opinions, on common sense, on consensus, on seniority.
  • Failure liberates success, by Kevin Kelly (Wired Magazine). Science is a way of learning from things that do not work.
  • Collective intelligence, by Matt Ridley (The International Centre for Life, author). Human achievement is entirely a networking phenomenon.
  • The Einstellung effect, by Evgeny Morozov (author). In order to solve a problem we apply solutions that have worked for us in the past, and we are unable to face new problems.

A total of 397 pages with over 150 short articles, with a great diversity of subject matter, that will help you optimize your thought processes. From deliberately witty cases to  deeply scientific theories. Will reading this book make you smarter? This is the idea proposed by John Brockman, a literary agent specializing in scientific literature who coined the term “the third culture”: the group of scientists and thinkers of the empirical world who through their work and expository writing are taking the place of the traditional intellectual, redefining who and what we are.

By Dory Gascueña for OpenMind


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