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Curious?

September 10th, 2015 Comments off

Image1Not very often does a book come along that I feel is about me until I read Ian Leslie’s book “Curious: The Desire to Know and Why Your Future Depends on It.” I shouldn’t be writing this review because I am biased, which a reporter should never be. However, within six-pages, “Curious,” it made me feel as if I had discovered myself.

I think you already know that I found the book interesting and worthy of five stars and as you can already see, my favoritism may come through making for a terrible review, but since I am reporter I’m going to appraise the book as if I were unfamiliar with it.

“Curious” is a book that explains the vital role inquisitiveness plays in making the world a better place. If the book has any weaknesses they appear in the latter portion chapters of the book where explanations become quite technical and anyone unfamiliar with the works of Einstein, Augustine or Galileo might find them challenging.

Nevertheless, “Curious” is a book well worth the read. The first few chapters in the book reveal that not everyone appreciated the benefits of “curiosity.” Religion played a major role in discouraging inquisitiveness and religion still plays a big role in stifling such things as stem cell research as this quote from the initial chapter attests.

“Our oldest stories about curiosity are warnings: Adam and Eve and apple of knowledge, Icarus and sun, Pandora’s Box, Early Christian theologians railed against Curiosity: St. Augustine claimed that “God fashioned hell for the inquisitive.” Even humanist philosopher Erasmus suggested that curiosity was greed by a different name. For most of Western history, it has been regarded as at best a distraction, at worst a poison, corrosive to the soul and to society.

There’s a reason for this. Curiosity is unruly. It doesn’t like rules, or, at least, it assumes that all rules are provisional, subject to the laceration of a smart question nobody has yet thought to ask. It disdains the approved the approved pathways, preferring diversions, unplanned excursions, impulsive left turns. In short, curiosity is deviant. Pursuing it is liable to bring you into conflict with authority at some point, as everyone from Galileo to Charles Darwin to Steve Jobs could have attested.”

Acknowledging I am biased, I believe the technical jargon in the last chapters takes away from the readability of the first chapters. Because of the switch I can only rate the book as four stars. If “Consider” wanted to capture the eyes of those most affected by it, the technical ramblings near the end kills a portion of that interest it generated in the earlier chapters.

If you’ve been listed as a troublemaker because you had the audacity to question authority, this book is for you. It is an easy read and only becomes a bit difficult in the last three chapters. Nevertheless, “Curious” is indeed a positive read for the uninitiated, but it is even a better read for those wondering why some people ask so many questions and are never satisfied with the answers. Those who come away knowing how curiosity can be of service to their endeavors, this read will give them a head start.

However, for me, I immediately saw where I fit in this world. Yes, I am a troublemaker only in the idea of seeking information and being unsatisfied with the half answers I received. Be it the boss, teacher or priest their inability to answer questions only made me more curious. Sometimes, all I wanted was—to know.

Even now “why” and “how” are two of my favorite questions. ”Curious” is a great book for those wondering why they and others are so inquisitive. “Curious” is a serious read for those that want to know about other curious people they come in contact with and how to make use of a small treasure.

My recommendations to all who haven’t read “Curious,” get a copy. Why? Just because.

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