This Explains Everything: Deep, Beautiful, and Elegant Theories of How the World Works by John Brockman, Audiobook (MP3 on CD) | Barnes & Noble
This Explains Everything: Deep, Beautiful, and Elegant Theories of How the World Works

This Explains Everything: Deep, Beautiful, and Elegant Theories of How the World Works

4.8 27
by John Brockman, Michelle Ford, Peter Berkrot, Antony Ferguson
     
 

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In This Explains Everything, John Brockman, founder and publisher of Edge.org, asked experts in numerous fields and disciplines to come up with their favorite explanations for everyday occurrences. Why do we recognize patterns? Is there such a thing as positive stress? Are we genetically programmed to be in conflict with each other? Those are just some of the 150

Overview

In This Explains Everything, John Brockman, founder and publisher of Edge.org, asked experts in numerous fields and disciplines to come up with their favorite explanations for everyday occurrences. Why do we recognize patterns? Is there such a thing as positive stress? Are we genetically programmed to be in conflict with each other? Those are just some of the 150 questions that the world's best scientific minds answer with elegant simplicity. With contributions from Jared Diamond, Richard Dawkins, Nassim Taleb, Brian Eno, Steven Pinker, and more, everything is explained in fun, uncomplicated terms that make the most complex concepts easy to comprehend.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Offers a rare chance to discover big ideas before they hit the mainstream." New York Times Book Review
Publishers Weekly
In this latest volume of erudition from Edge.com founder John Brockman (This Will Make You Smarter), the question "What is your favorite deep, elegant, or beautiful explanation?" serves as the prompt for over a hundred concise essays. The topics cover the gamut of the sciences while also including answers from other realms including economics and the arts. Darwin and Einstein, while not the precise subject of many answers, feature prominently as do ideas of human consciousness and cognition. As with other collections of this ilk, the essays widely vary in ease of comprehension and level of profundity. While there is no structure beyond the individual essays, occasionally a few essays in close proximity will touch on similar matters, as when Nicholas Christakis's essay on why the sky is blue is followed by Philip Campbell's on "The Beauty in a Sunrise", each referencing the work of Lord Rayleigh on the scattering of light. A few entries border on gimmicks, such as Ernst Pöppel's series of haiku on trust or Katinka Matson's single sentence on "Occam's Razor": "Keep it simple." Still, this collection will satisfy anyone who is looking to stretch his thinking.
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Brain Pickings
“Characteristically thought-provoking and reliably cross-disciplinary, This Explains Everything is a must-read in its entirety.”
New York Times Book Review
“Offers a rare chance to discover big ideas before they hit the mainstream.”
FAREED ZAKARIA
“A collection that reads like the best TED talks ever. It’s an absolute pleasure to read.”
Pop Matters
“Rich in mental fodder. ... An indispensable way to sample thinking from many corners of the intellectual spectrum.”
The Canberra Times
“The most stimulating English-language reading to be had from anywhere in the world.”
New York Journal of Books
“Delivers an intellectual mélange you can dip into and savor. ... The reader gets something new at each turn of the page.”
New Scientist
“A collection of essays by big thinkers answering big questions [should be] deeply satisfying. And This Explains Everything delivers.”
Library Journal - Audio
04/15/2014
Experts in a variety of disciplines were asked for explanations for everyday happenings, and the result is this collection of 150 brief answers to questions such as why the sky is blue or why humans recognize patterns. Read by seasoned narrators Peter Berkrot, Michelle Ford, Antony Ferguson, and Ann Marie Lee, the volume is a bit uneven from one explanation to the next, but there is definitely something for everyone here. Admittedly, some questions and answers are complex and difficult to grasp, while others will give listeners an "I knew that" satisfaction. VERDICT Listeners will want to play this one more than once. ["This engaging collection can be read from cover to cover or browsed as interest dictates, but all inquisitive readers will enjoy it," read the review of the Harper Perennial hc, LJ 2/1/13.]—Cheryl Youse, Moultrie, GA
Library Journal
This fun and inspirational collection of brief essays started with a question posed to the readers of Edge.org, founded by Brockman (This Will Make You Smarter: New Scientific Concepts To Improve Your Thinking): What is your favorite deep, elegant, or beautiful explanation? The result is 150 brief essays that present wonderful explanations of the world around us. The authors include Richard Dawkins, Eric Kandel, Alan Alda, and Brian Eno; all have something worthwhile to contribute. VERDICT This engaging collection can be read from cover to cover or browsed as interest dictates, but all inquisitive readers will enjoy it. Highly recommended for its content, though buyers should be aware that the contents are available for free on Edge.org.—Eric D. Albright, Tufts Univ. Lib., Boston
Kirkus Reviews
From a broad array of thinkers come answers to the question: "What is your favorite deep, elegant, or beautiful explanation?" Every year, Brockman, a literary agent who presides over the online salon Edge, poses a challenging question to the diverse community of Edge contributors. The question posed in 2012, which asked responders to identify some simple, nonobvious idea that explains a complex set of phenomena, was suggested by Steven Pinker. The replies come from such familiar names as Jared Diamond, Richard Dawkins, Matt Ridley and Eric Kandel; a few surprising ones, such as Brian Eno and Alan Alda; and many who are lesser known or unknown to the public but are established and influential in their fields. What remains unclear is why these particular answers were selected for publication. All answers are brief, most just two or three pages. Some of the respondents' choices seem obvious--Darwin on the theory of evolution by natural selection and Freud on the unconscious--while others--the double-helix structure of DNA, the germ theory of disease, the Gaia hypothesis of planet Earth, the law of unintended consequences--will also already be familiar to many readers. Perhaps most surprising is neuroscientist Ernst Pöppel's contribution: 20 linked haikus ("What is my problem? / I don't need explanations! / I'm happy without!"). Not all are as entertaining, however, and general readers may struggle with the vocabulary of special fields--e.g., "Metarepresentations Explain Human Uniqueness" or "Hormesis Is Redundancy." The sheer number of contributors and the broad scope of the book ensure that most readers will find topics to pique their interest, but that same feature means that many will find themselves flipping pages quickly. Other notable contributors include Sean Carroll, George Dyson, Clay Shirky, Stewart Brand, A.C. Grayling and Katinka Matson. A smorgasbord of ideas, best when judiciously sampled.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781452669144
Publisher:
Tantor Media, Inc.
Publication date:
02/05/2014
Edition description:
MP3 - Unabridged CD
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 7.40(h) x 0.60(d)

Meet the Author

The founder and publisher of the influential online science salon Edge.org, John Brockman is the editor of This Will Make You Smarter, What We Believe but Cannot Prove, What Is Your Dangerous Idea?, and other volumes. He is also the CEO of the literary agency Brockman, Inc. John lives in New York City.

Michelle Ford is a native Brit and professional voice actor who has narrated in a wide variety of genres, including contemporary fiction, historical romance, biography, science fiction, and business. Michelle lives in New York.

A veteran of stage and screen, Peter Berkrot's career spans four decades, and his voice can be heard on television, radio, video games, and documentaries. He has been nominated for an Audie Award and has received a number of AudioFile Earphones Awards and starred reviews.

AudioFile Earphones Award winner Antony Ferguson is a native of London, England. He is a classically trained actor and has appeared in numerous productions in London, Off-Broadway, and regional theater. As a voice actor, he has over fifty audiobooks to his credit. Antony lives in Los Angeles.

Ann Marie Lee has worked extensively as an actress in the theater, as well as on television and film. She has recorded numerous audiobooks and has received several AudioFile Earphones Awards and a Publishers Weekly Listen-Up Award.

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This Explains Everything: Deep, Beautiful, and Elegant Theories of How the World Works 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 27 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
For the average intelligence reader,like me, it's nice to be able to finally understand complex things I had been wonderong about and some I didn't !
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Back
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sits under a tree lonley
Farellemoon More than 1 year ago
This book is a wonderful read. I would and have recommend it to everyone I know.
sfc53 More than 1 year ago
Too broad and too deep.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Watched scarletfeather
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Jk. But . . . <p>WHAT DOES THE FOX SAY?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She wakes up and looks around. "Huh?"
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lets have a debate.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Nightshade looks at them "i could mentor one." Holleyleaf came back with the herbs needed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hello im stormpaw i would like a moter and can i have a mentor?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Blackfeather the assassin at assassin kill res one
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Muffinpaw
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
-he pads in- Yo.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
He limped in and asked if anyone remembered him
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
*nips on muffin* hey whats going on
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Will die without help (HONESTLY GIVE ME SOME ATTENTION!!!)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Waht times it?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Slowly pads into camp and stops when he hears the noise he russes over to help kill the rabbid monkey.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
((I know how you guys feel. Practically my whole school hates me. Gtgtb))
JackBurbank More than 1 year ago
If you're not into evolution, this book will have little value to you. It's a great idea and well researched as far as tapping into a variety of "experts" and celebrities, but it is definitely weighted in the direction of evolution. Somewhere along the line, science seems to have been forgotten: Science, the search for true knowledge. True knowledge is attained by 1.) observation, 2.) postulation and 3.) prediction and duplication. Evolution has come through the first two steps but never the third. Most entries in this collection of explanations are based on the theory of evolution as if it were fact. Sorry, until a simple one-celled form of life can be duplicated or predicted to come into existence, I'll wait for explanations that are based on facts. Nice verbiage though. I certainly don't intend to disparage the intelligence of any of these contributors. Eloquently expressed, just no meat.