This Explains Everything: 150 Deep, Beautiful, and Elegant Theories of How the World Works

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Harper Collins, Jan 22, 2013 - Science - 432 pages
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In This Explains Everything, John Brockman, founder and publisher of, asked experts in numerous fields and disciplines to come up with their favorite explanations for everyday occurrences. Why do we recognize patterns? Is there such a thing as positive stress? Are we genetically programmed to be in conflict with each other? Those are just some of the 150 questions that the world's best scientific minds answer with elegant simplicity.

With contributions from Jared Diamond, Richard Dawkins, Nassim Taleb, Brian Eno, Steven Pinker, and more, everything is explained in fun, uncomplicated terms that make the most complex concepts easy to comprehend.


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This Explains Everything: Deep, Beautiful, and Elegant Theories of How the World Works

User Review  - Eric D. Albright - Book Verdict

This fun and inspirational collection of brief essays started with a question posed to the readers of, founded by Brockman (This Will Make You Smarter: New Scientific Concepts To Improve Your ... Read full review

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Very similar to Brockman's The Universe (one of my favorites). Once again, Brockman gathers all the greats and puts their ideas into one book. There were ~150 essays. Each answered the question, "What do you consider to be the most beautiful, deep, and elegant theory ?" The book got off to a rough start. Sadly Brockman began with essays from scientists who have become science deniers. For example, epigenetiphobe Dawkins was prominently featured early on and set the tone for the reader. I usually picture Brockman as progressive and existing on the cutting Edge. Starting with Dawkins made me wonder if the world was perhaps ready for a newer, younger, and more edgy editor than John Brockman (how long do we have to pay homage to people like Dawkins who work so hard at keeping other scientists down? Stop treating him like a king and make room for more progressive minds).
Despite initially setting the wrong tone, Brockman managed to wow his reader yet again with great summaries of the most important theories known to humans. Zimbardo's essay was laughable. His essay should have been titled, "The size of my ego is bigger than the size of the universe." At least Brockman shoved it in the middle, allowing the reader to brush it off and move on to better ideas. The majority of this book was filled with extremely passionate people discussing the most meaningful ideas the human brain can comprehend. Essay topics included information theory, the creation of the universe (John Mather's essay was my personal favorite), epigenetics, various psychological phenomenon, evolution, and so on. Very wide scope. Very enjoyable. A must read.


Ican answer the question but am I bright enough toask it?Welook for questions that inspire unpredictable answersthat provoke people into thinking t...

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About the author (2013)

The publisher of the online science salon, John Brockman is the editor of Know This, This Idea Must Die, This Explains Everything, This Will Make You Smarter, and other volumes.

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