While the rating tells you how good a book is according to our two core criteria, it says nothing about its particular defining features. Therefore, we use a set of 20 qualities to characterize each book by its strengths:
Applicable – You’ll get advice that can be directly applied in the workplace or in everyday situations.
Analytical – You’ll understand the inner workings of the subject matter.
Background – You’ll get contextual knowledge as a frame for informed action or analysis.
Bold – You’ll find arguments that may break with predominant views.
Comprehensive – You’ll find every aspect of the subject matter covered.
Concrete Examples – You’ll get practical advice illustrated with examples of real-world applications or anecdotes.
Controversial – You’ll be confronted with strongly debated opinions.
Eloquent – You’ll enjoy a masterfully written or presented text.
Engaging – You’ll read or watch this all the way through the end.
Eye opening – You’ll be offered highly surprising insights.
For beginners – You’ll find this to be a good primer if you’re a learner with little or no prior experience/knowledge.
For experts – You’ll get the higher-level knowledge/instructions you need as an expert.
Hot Topic – You’ll find yourself in the middle of a highly debated issue.
Innovative – You can expect some truly fresh ideas and insights on brand-new products or trends.
Insider’s take – You’ll have the privilege of learning from someone who knows her or his topic inside-out.
Inspiring – You’ll want to put into practice what you’ve read immediately.
Overview – You’ll get a broad treatment of the subject matter, mentioning all its major aspects.
Scientific – You’ll get facts and figures grounded in scientific research.
Visionary – You’ll get a glimpse of the future and what it might mean for you.
Well structured – You’ll find this to be particularly well organized to support its reception or application.
Daniel C. Dennett’s book is worthy of its subject matter. That is to say, beautiful in its essence, but complex in its details. Dennett is not trying just to explain Darwin’s core ideas about evolution or natural selection. Rather, he is trying to explain how evolution fits into humanity’s understanding of itself, life and the world. To do so, he has to explain his views on evolution’s context, its implications for human understanding, and the philosophical and scientific currents it rides. He grapples with the emotional uproar that the idea of evolution produced. He works hard to illustrate these concepts, via stories, autobiographical asides, examples, metaphors, drawings, quotes and even jokes. The book is challenging, because of the stimulating content, but absorbing. getAbstract recommends it warmly to readers interested in evolution, and in the intersection of science and culture. Despite its methodical approach, this thoughtful exploration is not for beginners. One other caveat: If you want science blended with faith, Dennett believes that given humanity’s quest for facts, “There is no future in a sacred myth.” He forthrightly tells those who are distressed by this point of view to “close the book now and tiptoe away.”
About the Author
Daniel C. Dennett is the director of the Center for Cognitive Studies at Tufts University, and author of Consciousness Explained.