‘This Will Make You Smarter’ lists 150 concepts considered key by leading thinkers


At his online science salon, John Brockman asked: What scientific concept would improve everybody’s cognitive tool kit? He packed 150 answers from Steven Pinker, Richard Dawkins, and other leading thinkers into “This Will Make You Smarter: New Scientific Concepts to Improve Your Thinking’’ (Harper Perennial). What’s great about it is that in two to four pages a reader can learn a new concept, such as the Pareto Principle (the inevitable tendency for wealth and a variety of other things to be concentrated among the few), kakonomics (the widespread unconscious preference for mediocre outcomes), and apophenia (incorrectly finding patterns or connections in data that is actually random).

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