***Post Written by Carol Kramer, Northeast Representative for WSPA***
Curious: The Desire to Know and Why Your Future Depends On It by Ian Leslie
Through the many years I have spent on this earth, I have to admit that there have been many books which I started to read and chose to not waste my time to laboriously finish the books. We all know the saying: ‘Soo many books and soo little time’. I seem to recall trying to get past the first several chapters of Centennial’ many years ago because everyone was talking about the book as if it was one of the best books ever written. I made three attempts and cast the book aside. Well, I cannot say that about the very interesting, well-written, and fascinating book about being Curious. I did not want the book to end, so I put off reading the last chapter for at least a month so that I could delay the inevitable ending.
Ian Leslie, who is a United Kingdom based author, journalist, and speaker, had my devoted attention and curiosity piqued after having read only the introduction to his book. He weaves common sense ideas into the research that he has uncovered to make a person want to keep turning the pages. He certainly has done his research in regards to the research that others have completed. Ian not only shares various stories well, but makes a good argument that curiosity is in severe decline in our present day.
Curious is not a doom and gloom, life-is-falling-apart type of book. Ian spends an ample amount of time in defining the different types of curiosity and then shares many day-to-day examples about those different curiosities. He explains how curiosity begins in human beings and shares many developmental and school-related examples of curiosity and it’s decline. He explains the ‘whys’ and ‘what nows’ about that decline so the reader does not feel as though the world is coming to an end because of the lack of curiosity.
Ian Leslie devotes a chapter in Curious to explaining ‘the power of questions’ in curiosity. He summarizes research and ideas generated by sociologists, community organizers, neuropsychologists, and even successful business people. He then beautifully explores why questioning is important and how to question. Those two areas play a vital part in understanding curiosity. He follows that chapter with another that will strike home for each school psychologist reading the book, as ‘the importance of knowing’ plays a huge role in curious thinking. He stated at one point that “knowing stuff makes the world more abundant with possibility and gleams of light more likely to illuminate the darkness”. I couldn’t say it better myself!
Curious provides historical information about Leonardo Da Vinci, John Dewey, and many, many others. Ian weaves their beliefs and attitudes toward life into meaningful and pertinent stories about curiosity. He explains the difference between puzzles and mysteries and you will immediately see the application of those differences in your school psychology practice and school settings. Ian provides numerous ideas as to how to prompt curiosity in our children, our co-workers, and even in ourselves.
To summarize my true delight in reading Curious, I must tell you that I decided to start highlighting the various words of wisdom in the book after having read several chapters. I literally reread what I had previously read just so I could highlight the statements, ideas, recommended books, and research information that I wanted to remember and reference. I have not done that since I studied and completed the school neuropsychology program with Dr. Miller and his colleagues several years ago.
I highly recommend this read!