The Man of the Moment

During the past decade or so, a number of intellectuals have made names and fortunes for themselves by taking academic pursuits to the masses. All have taken somewhat difficult, or at least obscure concepts and, no not dumbed them down, but made them more accessible.

It is a winning formula for sales to those book buyers who have a desire to be both timely and smart for their dinner parties; reading a bestseller which increases knowledge kills those two birds with one stone. The names in this genre are familiar; James Surowiecki, Malcolm Gladwell, Levitt and Dubner...all have taken ideas which used to be the province of academics and brought them to coffee tables across the US.

The next name which seems destined for the list above is Jonah Lehrer. Already an author twice over before the recent publication of Imagine: How Creativity Works, Lehrer is a 30-something American who hopes to bring some difficult scientific material to the broader public via the example method a la Freakonomics.

Before Twitter told us what the trends of the day were, they needed to be identified by personal surveillance of print and televised media. It is in the former medium where I have seen sparkling reviews of Imagine quite frequently lately. With time constraints I have not had the pleasure of reading Lehrer's work yet. However I plan to, and at that time I will try my hand at a quick review exclusively for our readers.

Update: Not all of the reviews are good...for the flip side of the discussion, check out Steven Poole of The Guardian here.

No comments:

Post a Comment