Simon Winchester’s latest, Knowing What We Know, releases today.
April 25, 2023
Simon Winchester today released Knowing What We Know: The Transmission of Knowledge: From Ancient Wisdom to Modern Magic – the latest in a remarkable run of fascinating narratives. This latest is an all-encompassing look at how humans acquire, retain, and pass on information and data, and how technology continues to change our lives and our minds.
Needless to say, the timing for such a broad view couldn’t be better: With the advent of the internet, any topic we want to know about is instantly available with the touch of a smartphone button. What, he considers, is there left for our brains to do?
Simon explores how humans have attained, stored, and disseminated knowledge. He examines disciplines including education, journalism, encyclopedia creation, museum curation, photography, and broadcasting, looking at a whole range of knowledge diffusion—from the cuneiform writings of Babylon to the machine-made genius of artificial intelligence.
And, as has been the case with every new book he produces, the reviews are enthusiastic, laudatory. Check out, for example, Peter Sagal’s review in today’s New York Times, which begins like this:
“Simon Winchester has made an illustrious career of raising anecdote to art. To wit: A correspondence between a British don and an asylum inmate about lexicography became “The Professor and the Madman,” his first blockbuster. His other books of travel, geography, history and biography all illuminate the past via an unerring sense of what might interest, provoke and engage, profiting from a former foreign correspondent’s understanding of how to tease a story out of facts.”
“Winchester has spent his literary career bestowing on readers things they never knew before, be they about madmen, continents or volcanic explosions. The book may not, in the end, propound a new argument for the value of acquiring knowledge. But like all of Winchester’s books, it is one.”
Don’t miss Knowing What We Know. And for further indication that it would be good to know all that Simon knows himself, check out his awe-inspiring biography on his website. You can find details of his other books, accomplishments, and upcoming events there, too.
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