• This Idea Is Brilliant

  • Lost, Overlooked, and Underappreciated Scientific Concepts Everyone Should Know
  • By: John Brockman
  • Narrated by: Cassandra Campbell, Charles Constant
  • Length: 16 hrs and 11 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (128 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The latest volume in the best-selling series from Edge.org - dubbed "the world's smartest website" by The Guardian - brings together 206 of the world's most innovative thinkers to discuss the scientific concepts that everyone should know.

As science informs public policy, decision making, and so many aspects of our everyday lives, a scientifically literate society is crucial. In that spirit, Edge.org publisher and author of Know This, John Brockman, asks 206 of the world's most brilliant minds the 2017 Edge Question: What scientific term or concept ought to be more widely known?

Contributors include: author of The God Delusion Richard Dawkins on using animals' "Genetic Book of the Dead" to reconstruct ecological history; MacArthur Fellow Rebecca Newberger Goldstein on "scientific realism", the idea that scientific theories explain phenomena beyond what we can see and touch; author of Seven Brief Lessons on Physics Carlo Rovelli on "relative information", which governs the physical world around us; theoretical physicist Lawrence M. Krauss on the hidden blessings of "uncertainty"; cognitive scientist and author of The Language Instinct Steven Pinker on "The Second Law of Thermodynamics"; biogerontologist Aubrey De Grey on why "maladaptive traits" have been conserved evolutionarily; musician Brian Eno on "confirmation bias" in the Internet age; Man Booker-winning author of Atonement Ian Mcewan on the "Navier-Stokes Equations", which govern everything from weather prediction to aircraft design and blood flow; plus pieces from Richard Thaler, Jared Diamond, Nicholas Carr, Janna Levin, Lisa Randall, Kevin Kelly, Daniel Coleman, Frank Wilczek, Rory Sutherland, Nina Jablonski, Martin Rees, Alison Gopnik, and many, many others.

©2018 Edge Foundation, Inc. (P)2018 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about This Idea Is Brilliant

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Condensed Brilliance in Digestable Chunks

This Idea is Brilliant blew me away with the depth, creativity, and pure intelligence behind many of the ideas presented. I am a binge listener but the concepts and implications were just so thought provoking I found myself constantly having to pause just to process the ~5 minutes of the last essay. As a scientist, I am often disappointed with science and technology books being "pop science" or written by non-experts making exaggerated claims an honest scientist would not, that was rare in this book.

This audiobook, as the description explains, is a collection of essays grouped generally by a topic or theme. This allows for the clarification of overlapping concepts and sometimes a new perspective. The manuscripts for all these essays are freely available on the Edge website but I still strongly recommend the audio format. The over 206 essays from every type of science cover a wide variety of topics so there will be at least a few world-changing concepts for you even if you have a narrow scientific interest.

Absolutely fantastic, one of the my best spent credits in a long time!

12 people found this helpful

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Pretentious and superficial!!!

Way to superficial and holds itself too high. Some statements are just put out and neither explained nor founded. Biased statements are left unchallenged. Especially in the part about biases. I agree, much should be know, but this format is just contra productive. Less would have been much more! Just the more important ones that open the mind and help understanding in the future. This way it's neither for someone with no scientific knowledge nor for one that wants to deepen his.

3 people found this helpful

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Better to read this book.

The production quality is sub-par. There are changes in tone, levels, voice quaility between chapters/sections. Additionally there seems to be 'corrections' or something of that sort peppered throughout the recording. The narration is stiff at some points and overly ennunciated, hard to listen to at times.

2 people found this helpful

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Learned a lot, but don’t expect an easy read

I recommend this book for anyone who wants to learn more about fields like science, math, psychology, etc. My only two complaints are that the female narrator’s voice/manner of speaking didn’t suit the content (in my opinion), and that many of the authors of the individual sections clearly aren’t used to writing to lay people outside their fields... which means not only that some of the sections are slightly hard to follow from a substantive perspective but also that some of them aren’t terribly well written because they’re written by people who aren’t professional writers. Still, I’m glad I read this, and I learned some interesting things.

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Very easy listening. Highly recommended.

This book covers a wide and varied number of topics in bite sized pieces. Highly recommended.

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Stimulating Scientific Morsels, 2 Great Readers

This is the perfect audiobook for transit. Many of the chapters will change the way you look at the world. The variety of male/ female narration keeps things fresh.

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Wonderful Compilation of Current Science

A buffet of theory, method, and controversy in current science. No section will completely satisfy. But many of the numerous contributors will answer some questions that you didn’t think to ask and will have you filling informational gaps that you didn’t know existed.

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Great idea for a book

Some very interesting essays from a wide variety of fields. I enjoyed the whole book, but only flagged about 10% for re-review, your mileage may vary.

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  • slipperychimp
  • 09-12-19

206 Chapters!!

As the description states, there are 206 contributors, what I didn't appreciate was that each individual contributor highlights an idea in an extremely brief 5 minute chapter, then it's on to the next one. It's an interesting presentation that could work very well as toilet reading, perhaps it just doesn't translate to an audiobook very well. I found one chapter blurred into the next and looking back I can recall very few of the 'ideas' presented. I would personally find a less broad, but deeper discussion of each item more worthwhile, especially since none of the Chapters engaged me enough to want to research anything further.

On the positive side, the narration is spot on, and the topics covered have a really good range. I personally found the subject areas I don't have a day to day interest in were the most worthwhile listening to, since the information was totally new. The chapters also flow every well, with the ideas additionally grouped by subject.

If you're someone who listens for 15-20 minutes at a time then you might get more from this book than I did, as someone who tends to listen for a few hours at a time it was information overload.

1 person found this helpful

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