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Simon & Schuster (2017-07-11)
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What Makes Us Curious

by Livio, Mario

Mario Livio’s new book WHY? investigates the human need for curiosity – and the innate desire to know why. Livio demonstrates that one of the most distinguishing characteristics of human beings is our insatiable desire to know things. Even if we don't actually ask why, we are curious to know why.

Livio interviewed experts in psychology, neuroscience, and other scientific fields in his exploration of curiosity. He also interviewed people who have mastered several disciplines: the superstar rock guitarist who is also an astrophysicist; the astronaut who has degrees in computer science, biology, literature, and medicine (M.D). Livio investigates what drives a person to be curious about so many subjects.

Mario Livio is an internationally known astrophysicist, a bestselling author, and a popular speaker. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Dr. Livio is the author of The Golden Ratio, a highly acclaimed book for which he received the International Pythagoras Prize and the Peano Prize; The Equation That Couldn’t Be Solved; Is God A Mathematician?; the bestseller Brilliant Blunders; and The Accelerating Universe.

Praise For Mario Livio

Brilliant Blunders
"Mr. Livio is a gifted storyteller. . . .[He] shows how science works partly by feeding on past mistakes. An incorrect view of the world is not simply a mistake; it's a catalyst that leads to better understanding." (Wall Street Journal)

"Thoughtful, well-researched and beautifully written,Brilliant Blundersoffers a distinctive — and far more truthful — perspective on the journey to scientific discovery." (The Washington Post)

“Enlightening. . . . For many people, being a great scientist means being above error. . . . Livio’s book is a valuable antidote to this skewed picture. . . . Thanks to his deep curiosity, Livio turnsBrilliant Blundersinto a thoughtful meditation on the course of science itself." (New York Times Book Review)

“Entertaining accounts of how five celebrated scientists went wrong. . . . An absorbing, persuasive reminder that science is not a direct march to the truth.” (Kirkus Reviews)

"Astrophysicist Livio unmasks the flaws in the work of some of our greatest scientific minds in this meditation on the winding, unpredictable path of discovery." (Scientific American)

The Equation That Couldn’t Be Solved
"A wide-ranging exploration of the phenomenon of symmetry....There's math, yes, but there are also tales of love, violence, history -- and the whole, in this case, turns out to be greater than the sum of those parts." (Newsweek)

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Have you ever wondered why we wonder why? Mario Livio has, and he takes you ona fascinating quest to understand the origin and mechanisms of our curiosity. I thoroughly recommend it.

Quote: Adam Riess, Nobel Prize Winner in Physics, 2011

Whether in science or art, curiosity is essential to progress—but what is it, exactly? Mixing historical narratives with interviews, and throwing in a dash of neuroscience, Mario Livio explores whether we are inquisitive because curiosity feels good in itself or because finding out something new removes an irritation. It can be both, he concludes, and different types of curiosity serve different purposes. Livio's book doesn't pretend to have all the answers, but it might well spur your own curiosity.

Quote: David Lindley, author of Uncertainty

Filled with fascinating stories, tidbits, and psychological insights, Why? is a delightful romp through every aspect of human curiosity. It will surprise you, make you smarter, and put a spring in your step.

Quote: Steven Strogatz, Schurman Professor of Applied Mathematics, Cornell University

It’s impossible to imagine creativity or invention without curiosity, and one could hardly ask for a richer or more engaging exploration of human curiosity than the one provided by Mario Livio in Why?. This book is an intellectual feast for any curious person.

Quote: Jeffrey M. Schwartz MD, Research Psychiatrist UCLA, author

A colorful, engaging and yet thorough examination of curiosity in its many forms, Why? illustrates how having an inquisitive mind is crucial to creative output in the arts, sciences and business and explains WHY you should encourage curiosity in yourself and your children. Both a fascinating and fun read!

Quote: Gail Saltz, M.D., Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry

Leonardo da Vinci has been called ‘the most relentlessly curious man in history.’ In his fascinating book Why?, Mario Livio investigates Leonardo’s curiosity in the broader context of the nature of human curiosity and the mind/brain mechanisms that drive it. This is a spellbinding journey through the latest findings on curiosity in psychology and neuroscience. Anybody who is curious about curiosity will want to read this book.

Quote: Francesca Fiorani, creator of the digital archive Leonardo da Vinci

Livio accessibly addresses some of the basic psychological and neurobiological underpinnings of curiosity.

Review: Publishers Weekly

Chinese (SI): Citic; Hebrew: Aryeh Nir Publishers; Romanian: Humanitas; Spanish (W): Ariel/Planeta ; Chinese (CC): Marco Polo Press ; Italian: Rizzoli ; Portuguese (B): Record ; Turkish: Altin Kitaplar

Quote: Simon & Schuster

In Why?, astrophysicist Mario Livio argues that humans are the only species to ask not just what, where or who, but also why. . . . [He} includes some fascinating tidbits along the way.

Review: The Washington Post

This cogent book presents the scientific research on curiosity in understandable ways without too much jargon. It answers many (although not all) of our potential questions about curiosity—including what many originally believed killed the cat.

Review: Science

Lively. . . . Provocative.

Review: USA Today

Bestselling author Livio...delivers a lively, expert, and definitely not dumbed-down account of why we're curious and what scientists have discovered.

Review: Kirkus Reviews

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