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  • File Size: 1468 KB
  • Print Length: 451 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; Original edition (February 14, 2012)
  • Publication Date: February 14, 2012
  • Language: English

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one hundred fifty short essays. Some of them worth 10 stars, some - only of 1. If you are willing to invest some time and effort to be able to search for real jewels, then definitely read this book!

The most useful ideas/concepts for me:
1) a keener awareness that for the Universe "far more time lies ahead than has elapsed until now. inch "There is abundant time for posthuman evolution, here on Earth or far beyond, organic and natural or inorganic, to give rise to much more diversity and even greater qualitative changes than those which have led from single-celled organisms to humans. " "So humans are surely not the fatal branch of an major tree but a species that emerged early in cosmic history, with special promise for diverse development. " [Martin Rees]
2) "the history of life on the planet doesn't support this evolution in the direction of intelligence [... ] Perform the movie differently and we wouldn't be here [... ]" [Marcelo Gleiser]
3) "No matter the domain of life, one's generation's verities so often become the next generation's falsehoods that we might as well have a pessimistic meta-induction from the history of everything. Great scientists understand this. They recognize that these are part of a long process of approximation. They know these are constructing models instead than revealing reality. [... ] Typically the idea behind the meta-induction is that all of our ideas are fundamentally provisional and quite possibly wrong. If we can add that idea to our cognitive toolkit, we will be in a position to listen closely with curiosity and accord to those whose ideas contradict our own. We all will be better able to pay attention to counterevidence - those anomalous bits of data that make our picture of the world slightly weirder, more mysterious, less clean, less done. inch [Kathryn Shulz]
4) "Cognitive machinery guides us to consider in terms of TYPICALLY THE cause - of an outcome's using a single cause. Yet for enlarged understanding, it is far more accurate to represent outcomes as brought on by an intersection, or nexus, of factors (including the absence of precluding conditions. ) [... ] "The intricacy and noise permeating any real causal nexus generates a fog of uncertainty. Slight biases in causal attribution or in blameworthiness allow a stable specialized niche for extracting undeserved credit or targeting undeserved fault. If the patient recovers, it was due to my heroic efforts; otherwise, the underlying disease was too severe. If it weren't for my macroeconomic policy, our economy would be even worse. The abandonment of moral warfare and a wider appreciation of nexus causality and misattribution arbitrage would help all of us shed at least some of the destructive delusions that cost humanity so much. " [John Tooby]
5) Technologies have biases. "Soft technologies, from main money to psychotherapy, are prejudiced in their construction as much as their execution. No matter how we spend U. S. bucks, we have been nonetheless fortifying bank and the centralization of capital. Put a psychotherapist on his own couch and a patient in the seat and the therapist will commence to indicate treatable pathologies. It's create that way, just as Facebook is to establish to make us think of ourselves in terms of our "likes". [Douglas Rushkoff. ]
6) "But without our biases to focus our attention, we would be lost in that endless and unlimited expanse. W[... ] Biases mediate between our intellect and feelings to help congeal belief into opinion, judgment, class, metaphor, analogy, theory, and ideology, which frame how we see the world. Tendency is tentative. Bias sets since the facts change. Tendency is a provisional Hypothesis. Bias is normal. [... ] Fact need continually to be validated against all proof that challenges it pretty and honestly. [.. ] Like the words in a multimensional crossworld puzzle, it has to fit together with all the other pieces already in place, The better and more elaborate the fit, the more certain the fact, Science permits no exceptions. It is inexorably revisionary, learning from its faults, erasing and rewriting even its most sacred text messaging, until the puzzle is complete. " [Gerald Smallberg]
7) The focusing illusion. "Income is a crucial determinant of householder's satisfaction with their lives, but it is far less important than most people think. If everyone had the same income, the variations among people in every area of your life satifaction would be reduced by less than 5 percent. " "Paraplegics are often unhappy, but they are not unhappy all the time, because they spend most of time experiencing and thinking about things other than their impairment. When we think of what it is prefer to be a paraplegic, or sightless, or a lottery winner, or a resident of California, we focus on the distinctive aspects of each of these conditions. Typically the mismatch in the allowance of attention between considering a bout a life condition and actually living it is the cause of focusing illusion. inch "People can be made to assume that school uniforms will significantly improve educational outcomes, or that health care change will hugely change the standard of living in the United States - either for the higher or for the worse. " [Daniel Kahneman]
8) "[... ] When it comes to understanding probability, people basically suck. [... ] When a state government requires its citizens to buy car insurance, it does so because it figures, rightly, that folks are underestimating the chances of your accident. " [Seth Lloyd]
9) Shifting Primary Syndrome. "it forces you to continually ask what is normal. Are these claims? Was that? And, at least as important, it requests how we "know" that it's normal. " [Paul Kedrosky]
10) "[... ] Not all explanations are created equal; some are objectively better than others. [... ] It's inference to the beast description that gives science the power to expand our ontology, giving us reasons to believe in things that we can't directly see, from subatomic particles - or maybe strings - to the dark issue and dark energy of cosmology. It's inference to the best explanation that allows us to know something of what it can prefer to be other people on the basis of their behavior. " [Rebecca Newberger Goldstein].
11) "attention is highly selective. " "Although there are billions of neurons in our brains firing all the time, we'd never be able to put one feet in front of the other if we were unable to ignore almost all of that hyperabundant seite an seite processing taking place in the background. [... ]" [Douglas Capital t. Kenrick]
12) "The small subsection, subdivision, subgroup, subcategory, subclass of the world that an animal is able to identify is its umwelt. Typically the bigger reality, whatever which may mean, is called the umgebung. The interesting part is the fact that each organism presumably assumes its umwelt to be the entire objective actuality "out there". Why would any of us stop to feel that there exists more beyond what we can sense? [... ] Truman show [... ] An excellent illustration of our unawareness of the limits of our milieu is that of color-blind people: Right up until they learn that others are able to see hues they are not able to, the thought of extra colors do not hit their radar screen. inch [David Eagleman]
13) "While most of us go through life feeling that we are the thinker of our thoughts and the experiencer of our experience, from the perspective of science we know that this is a distorted view. Right now there is no discrete self or ego lurking like a Minotaur in the labyrinth of the brain. There is no region of cortex or path of neural processing that occupies a privileged position with respect to our personhood. Right now there is no unchanging "center of narrative gravity". Within subjective terms, yet , there SEEMS to be one - to most of us all, most of the time. inch [Sam Harris]
14) "Supervenience explains, for instance , why physics is the most fundamental science and why the things which physicists study are the most fundamental things. To many people, this seems like value judgement, but it's not, or will not need to be. Physics is fundamental because everything in the universe, from your pancreas to Ottawa, supervenes on physical stuff. " [Joshua Greene]
15) A intellectual toolkit full of garbage. "Is there a pragmatic way out, besides to significantly get rid of mental garbage? Yes, perhaps: Simply not using the key shorthand abstractions explicitly in one's toolkit. Working on consciousness, don't use the SHA "consciousness. " If you work on the "self", never refer explicitly to self. Going through one's own garbage, one finds out many misleading SHAs. inch [Ernst Poppel], Brockman's books extracted from Edge. org are really hubs, that through their spokes (the essays they group together under one question) consent someone to reach out and grab, experience, explore the often difficult to follow modern day thought in many scientific disciplines. Otherwise we could define them as toolkits from which to extract the necessary tool that helps us out to better understand our changing world. The 2012 "This will make you smarter" are 153 essays that answer the question "What scientific concept would improve everybody's cognitive toolkit? inch
The information very concise, that can be extracted from this book, is that a big part of recent scientific though is about metacognition. About the way we think. Naturally also this may be one of the many biases, because the question that was posed was thought up by Pinker and Kahneman, who themselves are the ideologist of cognitive biases.
Personal suggestion: this book is what was once the Reader's Digest: an instrument to know things, or what was proceeding on, without having to really dig through all the books one was supposed to have read. Very useful in our hectic world. However, inadequate to actually explore modern medical thought. So read it, let it sparkle your attention, but go out and get the texts, explore the profiles of the authors, look up the words and concepts you like most. This is the best way to get the best out of this gyvas magnum and probably what Brockman wants you to do.
When the interest in these matters is sincere I believe Daniel Kahnemans "Thinking fast, considering slow" must be the first read., The concept and the idea behind this book (and the other similar editions) is sound and interesting. Obtain a sizable number of relevant thinkers to give a short " taste" from their field and some kind of prediction.

And as a web site online where you might simply click ten or so, it is wonderful. But in a book collecting all 150? Zero so much.

First off a lot of the post don't really speak about principles as such - more along the " wow it would be kinda cool... " Lines of late night discussions. Of those that do, some just tease it in less than a page, whilst others seem on a mini mission and go on into minutiae of their pet job.

So, a book bringing the 10/25/50 best or most popular or most questionable might be a whole lot better. Leaving the sleep of the " thanks for taking the time" online. Then I'd have understood the " edited by" on the cover.

But nevertheless four stars?

Indeed, because here are a lot of nuggets here, and a lot of books to look into and people to explore further. I have a. Sensation I might have crept near the max figures if highlights in one kindle book. And, as a time capsule it will be fun to have a look at in 20+ years time.

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This Will Make You Smarter
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