books intellectual self-defence

books that make you feel like a genius

There’s a nice paragraph in Camilla Power’s book review in the time Times Higher Ed:

While there are interesting ideas here in a random scatter of cases and anecdotes, the trouble is that it makes the reader feel equally random: scatterbrained, as if you’ve been doing idle searches on Google or browsing Wikipedia all day. The kind of theoretical coherence found in the elegant, simple propositions of Richard Dawkins’ The Selfish Gene or Amotz and Avishag Zahavi’s The Handicap Principle: A Missing Piece of Darwin’s Puzzle – books that made you feel like a genius, armed with a new perspective on the world – is not evident.

Power has captured what is wrong with so much popular science writing, and what is right with those books I really value

One reply on “books that make you feel like a genius”

I swear that “makes you feel like a genius quote” was on the back cover of a Dawkins book (Selfish Gene, or maybe Blind Watchmaker) when I read it back in the 90s… definitely true though.

Pinker is also a fair candidate, and Dennett on a good day. On a bad, he makes me feel like an idiot.

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