Sunday, February 8, 2015

Curious Minds by John Brockman - A Review

I borrowed this book from a friend recently, my curiosity kindled by the title, Curious Minds - How a Child becomes a scientist.

This book is more of a biographical essays by scientists like Richard Dawkins ( author of the Selfish Gene ), Murray Gell Mann ( The Quark Man) , Philospher Dan Dennet ,  Mathematician Steven Strogatz, Howard Gardener ( author of the multiple intelligence theory ), V S Ramachandran ( author of  Phanthoms in the Brain),  Theoretical Physicist and Mathematician Freeman Dyson and Steven Pinker, an experimental psychologist. The names are just representative. 

The book is not a series of steps to make a scientist out of your kid. So people who take it like that and want to read the book need to be aware of this. But it contains lot of anecdotes and makes the book interesting

Best essay was Steven Pinker's where turns the idea of the book upside down. He says rather than the childhood experiences deciding what we become, who we are decides our childhood experiences. I am not giving away anything more and suggest people to read the book.

The book has a few lessons for parents.

#1. Nurture plays an important role. The kind of environment that was provided to most of the author of the essays seems to have played an important role. This is a point that parents need to be aware of.

#2 The role of an adult(s) in the formative years of a child and even well into teens, is very important. This role can be by a parent or both parents or a relative or a friend who inspired the kid and ensured that the child's curiosity was kept alive, with the right inputs and motivation.

#3 Nothing special was done by the parents for the kids. No special classes or any thing of that sort that the parents of these days have in mind. What stands out is the amount of  free time that allowed the kids to explore and the fact that parents were not overbearing. 

#4 The parents provided the kids the space that allowed the kids to evolve at their own pace. Almost all of the parents come across as laid back as per today's standards.

Overall an Interesting book and worth a read.

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