Raising interesting questions out of prevailing scientific research and in relevance to human history and culture isn’t a skill every science writer exhibits; but Tim Ferris surely does. His book The Mind’s Sky: Human Intelligence in a Cosmic Context (Bantam Book, 1993) engages the reader by employing this very skill to connect dots starting from the human brain all the way to the vast, inviting universe.
Ferris covers a lot of ground in one book—science, art, philosophy, and culture—while exploring the broader question of intelligence in universe. The chapters in the book are full of interesting and illustrative examples of observations that have been explained or attempted so by scientific principles and theories. What distinguishes this work is the commentary on the way science works, and that not without a mein of critical inquiry.
The chapter on death and its cosmic parallel gets the book to the border of science and spirituality; and that on entropy and information brings together the quantum world of uncertainties and possibilities to the side of everyday information as we are able to see it. In the process of this exploration, we also get a view—a different view, an angle from which many of us wouldn’t have seen a glimpse of our fantasies and perceptions from the pages of a book.
There is some good, tasty, healthy intellectual food in The Mind’s Sky for an average reader to munch on, even though it’s 20 plus years old. But then, good books don’t age.