The latest from Ian Leslie, the author of Born Liars, a Globe and Mail Top 100 Book, is a fascinating look at the human characteristic of curiosity — our extraordinary capacity to take pleasure in discovering, learning, and understanding.Curious shows how the practice of “deep curiosity” — persistent, self-reflective seeking of knowledge and insight — is key to the success of our careers, the happiness of our children, the strength of our relationships, and the progress of societies. But it also argues that it is a fragile quality, which wanes and waxes over time, and that we take it for granted at our peril. Ian Leslie proposes that the Internet is opening up a “curiosity gap,” by exacerbating the divide between those with a large cognitive appetite, and those happy knowing no more than they have to know; between the curious and the incurious. He draws on many sources and stories to illustrate his points: Benjamin Franklin at Portsmouth Harbour studying the effect of oil on choppy waters; a bored Galileo distracting himself in a Pisa cathedral by observing the swinging of a recently lit lamp; Leonardo da Vinci doodling ideas in his notebook; Google co-founder Larry Page’s thoughts on the perfect search engine; the invention of the microwave oven; the advantages of your local bookseller over Amazon’s algorithms; a reassessment of Donald Rumsfeld’s defense strategy, and many more.Rich, textured, and exciting, Curious is a new take on the most absorbing human trait of all.
Curiosity — that elusive, mysterious state — seems always to slide away when writers attempt to dissect it. Ian Leslie not only offers a compelling analysis of how curiosity works, he tells us how to prompt it in our children our employees, and ourselves. Both fascinating and eminently practical, Curious is a book to be relished.
— Daniel Willingham, author of Why Don’t Students Like School, May 2014
Ian Leslie argues that true curiosity is in decline. This book is a beautiful and fascinating tribute to one of mankind's most important virtues.
— Tyler Cowen, professor of economics at George Mason University, May 2014
I would never have guessed that so slim a volume could so richly pique my curiosity about curiosity. Stuffed with facts, ideas, questions, quotes, musings, findings, puzzles, mysteries, and stories, this is a book, as Montaigne said of travel, with which to 'rub and polish' one’s brain. It's the most delightful thing I’ve read about the mind in quite some time.
— David Dobbs, author of My Mother's Lover, June 2014
With this enthralling manifesto on the power of curiosity, Ian Leslie has written a book that displays all the key characteristics of its subject matter: an inquisitive, open-minded, and ultimately deeply rewarding exploration of the human mind's appetite for new ideas.
— Steven Johnson, author of Future Perfect: The Case for Progress in a Networked Age, June 2014
About the Authors:
Ian Leslie is the critically acclaimed author of Born Liars: Why We Can’t Live Without Deceit, which was a Globe and Mail Top 100 Book. He has written about politics, culture, marketing, and psychology for the Guardian, The Times, Prospect, and the BBC. He lives in London, England.