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Readers' Cafe

America the Ingenius
Big Magic Creative Living Beyond Fear
Curiosity How Science Became Interested in Everything
Curious The Desire to Know and Why Your Future Depends On It
A curious mind  the secret to a bigger life
The Engineering Book From the Catapult to the Curiosity Rover, 250 Milestones in the History of Engineering
Genius Foods Become Smarter, Happier, and More Productive While Protecting Your Brain for Life
Life Finds a Way What Evolution Teaches Us About Creativity
Range Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World
Thing Explainer Complicated Stuff in Simple Words
Why the Wheel Is Round Muscles, Technology, and How We Make Things Move
The Wisdom of Not Knowing Discovering a Life of Wonder by Embracing Uncertainty
The Yes Brain How to Cultivate Courage, Curiosity, and Resilience in Your Child
America the Ingenius / Kevin Baker

Here are 76 of the most intriguing, important, and ingenious inventions realized in America, from the Panama Canal, the Hoover Dam, the Golden Gate Bridge, and Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater to the oil rig, the electric sewing machine, and the telephone. Who came up with these ideas? How long did they take to realize? What were the complications? How, exactly, do these things work? And how have they affected who we are today? This book will satisfy the curiosity of history and miscellany buffs alike. Readers will walk away with a new appreciation for these world-changing inventions, as well as a newfound understanding of what makes America the perfect breeding ground for ingenuity.

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear / Elizabeth Gilbert

Readers of all ages and walks of life have drawn inspiration and empowerment from Elizabeth Gilbert's books for years. Now this beloved author digs deep into her own generative process to share her wisdom and unique perspective about creativity. With profound empathy and radiant generosity, she offers potent insights into the mysterious nature of inspiration. She asks us to embrace our curiosity and let go of needless suffering. She shows us how to tackle what we most love, and how to face down what we most fear. She discusses the attitudes, approaches, and habits we need in order to live our most creative lives. Balancing between soulful spirituality and cheerful pragmatism, Gilbert encourages us to uncover the "strange jewels" that are hidden within each of us. Whether we are looking to write a book, make art, find new ways to address challenges in our work, embark on a dream long deferred, or simply infuse our everyday lives with more mindfulness and passion, Big Magic cracks open a world of wonder and joy.

Curiosity: How Science Became Interested in Everything / Philip Ball

With the recent landing of the Mars rover Curiosity, it seems safe to assume that the idea of being curious is alive and well in modern science?that it?s not merely encouraged but is seen as an essential component of the scientific mission. Yet there was a time when curiosity was condemned. Neither Pandora nor Eve could resist the dangerous allure of unanswered questions, and all knowledge wasn?t equal?for millennia it was believed that there were some things we should not try to know. In the late sixteenth century this attitude began to change dramatically, and in Curiosity: How Science Became Interested in Everything, Philip Ball investigates how curiosity first became sanctioned?when it changed from a vice to a virtue and how it became permissible to ask any and every question about the world.

Curious: The Desire to Know and Why Your Future Depends On It / Ian Leslie

"I have no special talents,"?said Albert Einstein. "I am only passionately curious."

Everyone is born curious. But only some retain the habits of exploring, learning, and discovering as they grow older. Those who do so tend to be smarter, more creative, and more successful. So why are many of us allowing our curiosity to wane? In Curious, Ian Leslie makes a passionate case for the cultivation of our ?desire to know.? Just when the rewards of curiosity have never been higher, it is misunderstood, undervalued, and increasingly monopolized by a cognitive elite. A ?curiosity divide? is opening up.This divide is being exacerbated by the way we use the Internet. Thanks to smartphones and tools such as Google and Wikipedia, we can answer almost any question instantly.

A curious mind : the secret to a bigger life / Brian Grazer

For decades, film and TV producer Brian Grazer has scheduled a weekly "curiosity conversation" with an accomplished stranger. From scientists to spies, and adventurers to business leaders, Grazer has met with anyone willing to answer his questions for a few hours. These informal discussions sparked the creative inspiration behind many of Grazer's movies and TV shows, including Splash, 24, A Beautiful Mind, Apollo 13, Arrested Development, and 8 Mile.

The Engineering Book: From the Catapult to the Curiosity Rover, 250 Milestones in the History of Engineering / Marshall Brain

Engineering is where human knowledge meets real-world problems - and solves them. It's the source of some of our greatest inventions, from the catapult to the jet engine. Marshall Brain, creator of the How Stuff Works series and a professor at the Engineering Entrepreneurs Program at NCSU, provides a detailed look at 250 milestones in the discipline. He covers the various areas, including chemical, aerospace, and computer engineering, from ancient history to the present. The topics include architectural wonders like the Acropolis, the Great Wall of China, and the Eiffel Tower; transportation advances such as the high-speed bullet train; medical innovations, including the artificial heart and kidney dialysis; developments in communications, such as the cell phone; as well as air conditioning, Wi-Fi, the Large Hadron Collider, the self-driving car, and more.

Genius Foods: Become Smarter, Happier, and More Productive While Protecting Your Brain for Life / Max Lugavere

Discover the critical link between your brain and the food you eat, change the way you think about how your brain ages, and achieve optimal brain performance with this powerful new guide from media personality and leading voice in health Max Lugavere. After his mother was diagnosed with a mysterious form of dementia, Max Lugavere put his successful media career on hold to learn everything he could about the workings of the human brain and his mother's condition. For the better half of a decade, he consumed the most up-to-date scientific research, talked to dozens of scientists and clinicians around the world, and visited the country's very best neurology departments. Now, in Genius Foods, Lugavere uncovers the stunning link between our dietary and lifestyle choices and our brain health, revealing how the foods you eat directly affect your ability to focus, learn, remember, create, analyze new ideas, and maintain a healthy, balanced mood. He presents ground-breaking science and distills the latest research, including: How food is like software for our endlessly capable minds; How select nutrients can actually boost working memory and processing speed; How slowing down the cognitive aging process is just as much about the foods you omit from your diet as the superfoods that you consume; And how easy it is to modulate the quality of your thoughts and mood by food. ?Genius Foods presents a comprehensive, practical roadmap to optimizing the brain's health and performance today -- and decades into the future.

Life Finds a Way: What Evolution Teaches Us About Creativity / Andreas Wagner

Andreas Wagner reveals the deep symmetry between innovation in biological evolution and human cultural creativity. Rarely is either a linear climb to perfection--instead, "progress" is typically marked by a sequence of peaks, plateaus, and pitfalls. For instance, in Picasso's forty-some iterations of Guernica, we see the same combination of small steps, incessant reshuffling, and large, almost reckless, leaps that characterize the way evolution transformed a dinosaur's grasping claw into a condor's soaring wing. By understanding these principles, we can also better realize our own creative potential to find new solutions to adversity.

Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World / David Epstein

What's the most effective path to success in any domain? It's not what you think.

Plenty of experts argue that anyone who wants to develop a skill, play an instrument, or lead their field should start early, focus intensely, and rack up as many hours of deliberate practice as possible. If you dabble or delay, you'll never catch up to the people who got a head start. But a closer look at research on the world's top performers, from professional athletes to Nobel laureates, shows that early specialization is the exception, not the rule.

David Epstein examined the world's most successful athletes, artists, musicians, inventors, forecasters and scientists. He discovered that in most fields - especially those that are complex and unpredictable - generalists, not specialists, are primed to excel. Generalists often find their path late, and they juggle many interests rather than focusing on one. They're also more creative, more agile, and able to make connections their more specialized peers can't see.

Thing Explainer: Complicated Stuff in Simple Words / Randall Munroe

How do these things work? Where do they come from? What would life be like without them? And what would happen if we opened them up, heated them up, cooled them down, pointed them in a different direction, or pressed this button? In Thing Explainer, Munroe gives us the answers to these questions and so many more. Funny, interesting, and always understandable, this book is for anyone - age 5 to 105 - who has ever wondered how things work, and why.

Why the Wheel Is Round: Muscles, Technology, and How We Make Things Move / Steven Vogel

There is no part of our bodies that fully rotates - be it a wrist or ankle or arm in a shoulder socket, we are made to twist only so far. And yet there is no more fundamental human invention than the wheel - a rotational mechanism that accomplishes what our physical form cannot. Throughout history, humans have developed technologies powered by human strength, complementing the physical abilities we have while overcoming our weaknesses. Providing a unique history of the wheel and other rotational devices - like cranks, cranes, carts, and capstans - Why the Wheel Is Round examines the contraptions and tricks we have devised in order to more efficiently move - and move through - the physical world. Steven Vogel combines his engineering expertise with his remarkable curiosity about how things work to explore how wheels and other mechanisms were, until very recently, powered by the push and pull of the muscles and skeletal systems of humans and other animals.

The Wisdom of Not Knowing: Discovering a Life of Wonder by Embracing Uncertainty / Estelle Frankel

A deeply affirming exploration of the challenges and possibilities of the unknown--with meditations and exercises that can help transform the fear and uncertainty of "not knowing" into a sense of openness, curiosity, and bravery. For most of us the unknown is both friend and foe. At times it can be a source of paralyzing fear and uncertainty, and at other times it can be a starting point for transformation, creativity, and growth. The unknown is a deep current that runs throughout all religions and mystical traditions, and it is also the nexus of contemporary psychotherapeutic thought and practice and a key element in all personal growth and healing. In The Wisdom of Not Knowing, psychotherapist Frankel shows us that our psychological, emotional, and spiritual health is radically influenced by how comfortable we are at navigating the unknown and uncertain dimensions of our lives.

The Yes Brain: How to Cultivate Courage, Curiosity, and Resilience in Your Child / DANIEL J SIEGEL

When facing challenges, unpleasant tasks, and contentious issues such as homework, screen time, food choices, and bedtime, children often act out or shut down, responding with reactivity instead of receptivity. This is what New York Times bestselling authors Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson call a "No Brain" response. But our kids can be taught to approach life with openness and curiosity. Parents can foster their children's ability to say yes to the world and welcome all that life has to offer, even during difficult times. This is what it means to cultivate a "Yes Brain."

When kids work from a Yes Brain, they're more willing to take chances and explore. They're more curious and imaginative, less worried about making mistakes. They're better at relationships and more flexible and resilient when it comes to handling adversity and big feelings. They work from a clear internal compass that directs their decisions, as well as the way they treat others. Guided by their Yes Brain, they become more open, creative, and resilient.

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