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The Puzzler
The Puzzler: One Man's Quest to Solve the Most Baffling Puzzles Ever, from Crosswords to Jigsaws to the Meaning of Life | A. J. Jacobs
2 posts | 3 read | 3 to read
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.
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Pickpick

The Puzzler sees Jacobs tackling various puzzles, from jigsaws to cryptics to sudoku. He talks a bit about their history and tries to find the most challenging of each type. I love puzzles, but am not a fanatic, and found this incredibly engaging and entertaining. Plus, I found a new puzzle to delve into! (Star Battle, if you‘re curious.)

vivastory This sounds interesting. I only read one Jacobs book but I really enjoyed it. I recently played wordle daily for a few weeks and stopped after the day that I lucked out by guessing it in 2.: I figured I'd go out on a high note. 🤣 3mo
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Pickpick

I have read all of Jacobs books and enjoyed them all. I think his first (The Know-it-All) is my personal favorite. This book took his love for puzzles and not only explained them but engaged them too. Reading it lead me to doing a couple of crosswords and sudokus. And overall I am enjoying puzzles more after reading this book. It is a good fun read. I enjoy Jacobs personality and find him easily likable.

CogsOfEncouragement I enjoyed Thanks a Thousand: A Gratitude Journey. I heard him talk about this puzzler book on a podcast and plan to read it at some point. I enjoy word puzzles myself. 4mo
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