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Failure: Why Science Is So Successful by…

Failure: Why Science Is So Successful

by Stuart Firestein

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Stuart Firestein's follow-up to Ignorance, Failure, is a worthy sequel. They work together well in that one addresses, for the most part, the curiosity that comes from acknowledging one's ignorance and seeking to find answers while the other addresses the need to keep that curiosity alive through the many failures one will sustain while seeking more and better answers.

I saw a comment from another reviewer I think bears repeating, these chapters are essentially separate essays, so if the topic of one does not strike a chord with you, feel free to go to the next chapter.

While the general application in this volume has to do with science, there is a lot to learn here that will help in other areas of life and intellectual pursuit. That said, this book is still primarily to make scientific study and advancement more understandable to non-scientists. On that note Firestein rings clearly.

I would recommend this to those who enjoy learning about the process of science as well as the actual advances of science. This is both accessible and engaging so should appeal to a wide range of readers.

Reviewed from an ARC made available by the publisher via NetGalley. ( )
  pomo58 | May 7, 2016 |
november 2015
  SGLibrary | Feb 17, 2016 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 019939010X, Hardcover)

The general public has a glorified view of the pursuit of scientific research. However, the idealized perception of science as a rule-based, methodical system for accumulating facts could not be further from the truth. Modern science involves the idiosyncratic, often bumbling search for understanding in uncharted territories, full of wrong turns, false findings, and the occasional remarkable success.

In his sequel to Ignorance (Oxford University Press, 2012), Stuart Firestein shows us that the scientific enterprise is riddled with mistakes and errors - and that this is a good thing! Failure: Why Science Is So Successful delves into the origins of scientific research as a process that relies upon trial and error, one which inevitably results in a hefty dose of failure. In fact, scientists throughout history have relied on failure to guide their research, viewing mistakes as a necessary part of the process. Citing both historical and contemporary examples, Firestein strips away the distorted view of science as infallible to provide the public with a rare, inside glimpse of the messy realities of the scientific process.

An insider's view of how science is actually carried out, this book will delight anyone with an interest in science, from aspiring scientists to curious general readers. Accessible and entertaining, Failure illuminates the greatest and most productive adventure of human history, with all the missteps along the way.

(retrieved from Amazon Tue, 01 Sep 2015 09:33:31 -0400)

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