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Always Doing

Escapist reading for those who are always doing.

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Mari Fujimura, 藤村真理
This Explains Everything: Deep, Beautiful, and Elegant Theories of How the World Works - John Brockman, Susan Blackmore, Rebecca Goldstein, James J. O'Donnell, Paul Steinhardt, Shing-Tung Yau, Frank Wilczek, Thomas Metzinger, Sean Carroll, Steven Pinker, Jonathan Gottschall, David G. Myers, Matt Ridley, Armand Marie Leroi, Gerd Gigerenzer, Martin J. Rees, Ri This book of collected essays asks the question, "What is your favorite deep, elegant, or beautiful explanation?" Many people, from Richard Dawkins to Brian Eno to professors you've never heard of (but are amazingly cool), contribute their ideas and theories.The essays are lovingly ordered so that you flow from biology to physics to neuroscience to psychology in a way that never feels forced or jarring. One writer will expound about, say, the Pigeonhole Theory and the next will use it as a jumping off point for a completely different explanation. With 150 different contributors there's bound to be dull bits, uneven spots, and a few oddities. Overall, however, the writing quality is high and the content gave me a lot to think about. This is a book to read slowly, maybe five essays a day, so you can ruminate over each idea. A few of my favorite essays are:- Group Polarization by David G. Myers- Dirt is Matter Out of Place by Christine Finn (the title gives it away, but hey)- How Do You Get from a Lobster to a Cat? by John McWhorter- Lemons are Fast by Barry C. Smith- Why We Feel Pressed for Time by Elizabeth DunnAfter reading this book I have a healthy store of dinner party chatter and my mind has been opened. If you like a particular writer you can pick up other work they've done, as many are published authors. Even if you don't you'll enjoy the feeling of your mind being tickled by the interesting, elegant theories.