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I have no special talents,” said Albert Einstein. I am only passionately curious.”
Everyone is born curious. But only some retain the habits of exploring, learning, and discovering as they grow older. Those who do so tend to be smarter, more creative, and more successful. So why are many of us allowing our curiosity to wane?
In Curious, Ian Leslie makes a passionate case for the cultivation of our desire to know.” Just when the rewards of curiosity have never been higher, it is misunderstood, undervalued, and increasingly monopolized by a cognitive elite. A curiosity divide” is opening up.
This divide is being exacerbated by the way we use the Internet. Thanks to smartphones and tools such as Google and Wikipedia, we can answer almost any question instantly. But does this easy access to information guarantee the growth of curiosity? No quite the opposite. Leslie argues that true curiosity the sustained quest for understanding that begets insight and innovation is in fact at risk in a wired world.
Drawing on fascinating research from psychology, economics, education, and business, Curious looks at what feeds curiosity and what starves it, and finds surprising answers. Curiosity isn't, as we're encouraged to think, a gift that keeps on giving. It is a mental muscle that atrophies without regular exercise and a habit that parents, schools, and workplaces need to nurture.
Filled with inspiring stories, case studies, and practical advice, Curious will change the way you think about your own mental habits, and those of your family, friends, and colleagues.
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Ian Leslie writes on psychology, social trends, and politics for publications in the UK and US, including Slate, The Economist, NPR, Bloomberg.com, The Guardian, Daily Mail, The Times, Daily Telegraph, and Granta.
If you weren't the curious sort, you'd likely never even crack this book. But then you'd be missing out on a world of interesting science exploring just why humans find the urge to learn and know so utterly irresistible.”
The Christian Century
Leslie evokes wonder at the world around us.”
Inside Higher Ed
Ian Leslie's fine new book Curious constitutes an excellent bridge between the two sides of the facts vs. experiences learning debate.”
With heavy implications for the future of education, the author makes a strong case for a more inquiry-based approach. Highly recommended for educators of all kinds. Leslie reaches to the true heart of education turning students into 21st-century learners by bringing back that curiosity.”
A searching examination of information technology's impact on the innovative potential of our culture.”
Steven Johnson, author of Future Perfect: The Case for Progress in a Networked Age
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.”
New York Times Book Review
Leslie delineates the various types of curiosity and what might be lost as we lean on search engines and offload our memories to cloud storage. He's at his best when considering how socioeconomic conditions impede curiosity.”
Scientific American Mind
Leslie's book is engaging, moving fluidly from one idea to the next. He provides a refreshingly commonsensical voice in the ongoing argument over how to best mold human minds.”
San Francisco Book Review
Rich with insight and answers. Leslie writes with conviction and authority, illuminating issues in psychology, social trends, and politics.... A delightful read.”
Yohuru Williams, Huffington Post
Captivating.... Leslie explores the troubling prospects of a world where curiosity has taken a back seat to standardization and vision-less acceptance.”
Stephen L. Carter, Bloomberg View
Enjoyable.... Leslie presents considerable evidence for the proposition that the society as a whole is growing less curious.”
Wall Street Journal
Leslie...writes convincingly about the human need and desire to learn deeply and develop expertise.”
Rory Sutherland, Vice Chairman of Ogilvy Group
David Ogilvy believed that the best advertising writers were marked out by an insatiable curiosity about every subject under the sun.' Nowadays, as Ian has spotted, the same high level of curiosity is a requirement for progress in more and more jobs in business and government. In this excellent book Ian Leslie explains why: the obvious ideas have mostly been done; what progress there is left now happens obliquely.”
Oliver Burkeman, author of The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking
In this important and hugely enjoyable book, Ian Leslie shows why it's more important than ever that we find new ways to cultivate curiosity because our careers, our happiness, and our children's flourishing all depend upon it. Curious is, appropriately enough, a deeply fascinating exploration of the human capacity for being deeply fascinated, as well as a practical guide for becoming more curious yourself.”
David Dobbs, feature writer for National Geographic, Atlantic, Slate, and other major publications
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.”
Tyler Cowen, professor of economics at George Mason University
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."
Maria Konnikova, author of the New York Times bestseller Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes
A beautiful and important exploration of the need to nurture, develop, and explore our curiosity even when we've long left our childhood behind. Ian Leslie reminds us of those essential life lessons that we tend to forget in our quest to be busy and productive: that sometimes, it's ok to waste time; and often, the most productive mind ends up being the mind most open to indulging its most childish impulses.”
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