The Puzzler: One Man's Quest to Solve the Most Baffling Puzzles Ever, from Crosswords to Jigsaws to the Meaning of Life |
The New York Times bestselling author of The Year of Living Biblically goes on a journey to understand the enduring power of puzzles: why we love them, what they do to our brains, and how they can improve our world. What makes puzzles--jigsaw, mazes, riddles, sudoku--so satisfying? Be it the formation of new cerebral pathways, their close link to insight and humor, or their community-building properties, they're among the fundamental elements that make us human. Convinced that puzzles have taught him to think and made him a better person, A.J. Jacobs--the four-time New York Times bestselling author, master of immersion journalism, and nightly crossworder--set out to determine their myriad benefits. And maybe, in the process, solve the puzzle of our very existence. Not quite. But, in The Puzzler, he meets the most zealous devotees, enters (sometimes with his kids in tow) any puzzle competition that will have him, and unpacks the history and relevance of a huge variety of head-scratchers: from the all-time bestselling puzzle, the Rubik's Cube, to the hardest escape room in the world. Like any good puzzle, The Puzzler is an enveloping experience, chock-full of unforgettable adventures and original, completable examples from around the world--including new work by Greg Pliska, one of America's top puzzle-makers. Interspersed throughout are concrete lessons on how puzzles can improve readers' mental dexterity and crisis management abilities. Like a real-life, less intimidating Willy Wonka, Jacobs has even hidden a secret, super-challenging but solvable puzzle within his book, and he will award a $10,000 prize to the first reader to solve it. Whether you're one of the .0001% of Notpron champions or an occasional Monday crossworder, The Puzzler will open your eyes to the power of flexible thinking and concentration. You'll walk away with real problem-solving strategies and pathways towards becoming a better thinker and decision maker--for these are certainly puzzling times.