Thinking About Almost Everything by Ash Amin and Michael O'Neill

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Thinking About Almost Everything by Ash Amin and Michael O'Neill

Category: Politics and Society
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: A wonderful digest of ideas spawned by ongoing work at Durham University. The cross discplinary broad brush strokes give insight into the past, the present, and the future, and inspire personal and critical thinking.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 288 Date: March 2009
Publisher: Profile Books
ISBN: 184668188X

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Dear John Bolton

I thought you might like to know that I actually did type Willmore surface into an internet search engine.

Best wishes

Jill Murphy

Really, that's all you, or John Bolton, or editors Ash Amin and Michael O'Neill, need to know from me on Thinking About Almost Everything. John Bolton, you see, is a pure mathematician at Durham University, and I am the gal who has trouble working out the cost of an item net of VAT. You could, really, call me an impure arithmetician, and that would probably be pushing it.

Anyways, this Willmore stuff has all to do with spheres and curvature and soap film bubbles and it's all rather fascinating. And it's used in studying cell membranes and in computer-aided design, which leads me on to thinking about all sorts of other things. I looked it up because John Bolton suggested I did, at the end of his two-page essay in Thinking About Almost Everything - so to me, that's job done for him.

Life is a jigsaw puzzle or a dot-to-dot picture, don't you think? You need to slot the pieces together to make any meaningful sense of it at all, or you simply bumble along in a confused tangle of unrelatedness. You can't understand everything, but if you have some kind of hold on what the best people are thinking and doing, you can construct a credible world view and form ideas of your own. This book is all about ideas, principally the ideas being formulated through work at the world's universities, specifically Durham.

There are essays in physics, chemistry, law, social policy, geography, philisophy, literature, history, archaeology and more. They're not abstruse; most make an excellent attempt to relate academia to the nuts and bolts of everyday life and to the big issues facing us. They all try to show the possibilities of future developments - much needed in a rapidly-changing world - and they all try to show the value of ideas and of open but critical thinking. Some you'll like and some you may dislike immensely - it's still a big fat no to censorship from me - but you'll definitely fit a few more puzzle pieces into place or join some more dots.

And really, that's what it's all about.

My thanks to the nice people at Profile for sending the book.

If this sort of join-the-dots digest appeals to you, you really shouldn't miss What is Your Dangerous Idea?, which is even more stimulating.

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Buy Thinking About Almost Everything by Ash Amin and Michael O'Neill at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Thinking About Almost Everything by Ash Amin and Michael O'Neill at Amazon.com.


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