On Looking: A Walker's Guide to the Art of Observation

On Looking: A Walker's Guide to the Art of Observation

3.0 3
by Alexandra Horowitz
     
 

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From the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Inside of a Dog, this “elegant and entertaining” (The Boston Globe) explanation of how humans perceive their environments “does more than open our eyes...opens our hearts and minds, too, gently awakening us to a world—in fact, many worlds—we’ve been

Overview

From the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Inside of a Dog, this “elegant and entertaining” (The Boston Globe) explanation of how humans perceive their environments “does more than open our eyes...opens our hearts and minds, too, gently awakening us to a world—in fact, many worlds—we’ve been missing” (USA TODAY).

Alexandra Horowitz shows us how to see the spectacle of the ordinary—to practice, as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle put it, “the observation of trifles.” Structured around a series of eleven walks the author takes, mostly in her Manhattan neighborhood, On Looking features experts on a diverse range of subjects, including an urban sociologist, the well-known artist Maira Kalman, a geologist, a physician, and a sound designer. Horowitz also walks with a child and a dog to see the world as they perceive it. What they see, how they see it, and why most of us do not see the same things reveal the startling power of human attention and the cognitive aspects of what it means to be an expert observer.

Page by page, Horowitz shows how much more there is to see—if only we would really look. Trained as a cognitive scientist, she discovers a feast of fascinating detail, all explained with her generous humor and self-deprecating tone. So turn off the phone and other electronic devices and be in the real world—where strangers communicate by geometry as they walk toward one another, where sounds reveal shadows, where posture can display humility, and the underside of a leaf unveils a Lilliputian universe—where, indeed, there are worlds within worlds within worlds.

Editorial Reviews

Maria Popova
“Undoubtedly one of the most stimulating books of the year, if not the decade, and the most enchanting thing I’ve read in ages.”
Chicago Tribune
"A refreshing celebration of the rewards of trying to see the world through the eyes of others.”
USA Today
"Alexandra Horowitz does more than open our eyes in On Looking: Eleven Walks with Expert Eyes. She opens our hearts and minds, too, gently awakening us to a world — in fact, many worlds — we've been missing...The pages hum and shine as a result, warmly reflecting the author's genuine enthusiasm for her work and its revelations."
Booklist
“Engaging, amusing, and relatable…”

Boston Globe
"Elegant and entertaining."
author of Beak of the Finch - Jonathan Weiner
"Alexandra Horowitz's new book is as wonderful as her first. Inside of a Dog helped us to imagine the worlds of our beagles, collies, greyhounds and mutts. On Looking teaches us that the world is just as rich, strange and charmed when seen through the eyes of our local artists, doctors, architects and toddlers. On Looking also teaches us that Alexandra Horowitz is a writer to watch."
author of The Map that Changed the World - Simon Winchester
"These eleven exquisite, clever and and tenderly recounted small adventures remind me of something I learned back when I lived in India: the need to perceive "the scent behind the smell." Alexandra Horowitz has attempted much the same thing with her eyes - much aided by the seeing of others - and has in consequence become increasingly successful in perceiving what one might call "the sight behind the scene." Her resulting epiphanies are available to us all, if we take care to learn from her, in this lovely book, just how it is done."
author of Rin Tin Tin - Susan Orlean
“Horowitz writes like a poet, thinks like a scientist, and ventures like an explorer. Her book will have you looking in a new way at the world around you, and make you glad you did.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781439191279
Publisher:
Scribner
Publication date:
01/08/2013
Sold by:
SIMON & SCHUSTER
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
253,529
File size:
7 MB

Meet the Author

Alexandra Horowitz is the author of the bestselling Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know and On Looking: A Walker’s Guide to the Art of Observation. She teaches psychology, animal behavior, and canine cognition at Barnard College, Columbia University. In New York City, Alexandra walks with her husband, the writer Ammon Shea, her son, and two large, non-heeling dogs.

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On Looking: Eleven Walks with Expert Eyes 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
readerJH More than 1 year ago
I was disappointed in this book. First, I expected the same walk through many different eyes. This is not the case. These are different walks around the city with various partners. It doesn't quite work as well. Also, the author is far too romantic for my taste. Finally, the quality from chapter to chapter varies greatly. I found the second chapter, in which the author walks with her toddler son, to be quite pointless. This chapter does nothing but make the case for how extremely inattentive the author is and how incredibly oblivious she is to the world around her. I doubt there are many who have lived in a neighborhood as long as she has and is surprised by as much as she is. Perhaps I'm overly attentive to my neighborhood, but I know how many streetlights there are on my block; the circles the leaves make when they drop from the trees each autumn; the slight ups and downs of the sidewalk and how they changed when the city took out a couple of old trees and reconstructed the pavement.