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Monday, October 14, 2019

Review: How To - Absurd Scientific Advice for Common Real World Problems

I loved What-If, and wasn't a big fan of Thing Explainer, so I checked out How-To from the library instead of buying it. To my relief, Randall Munro is back on form and How-To is a great read, full of fun musings and intelligent thinking.

In recent months, Bowen's been balking at reading real books, asking to read comic strips instead, and sometimes repeating a book he's already read rather than working on harder material. He even turned his nose up at Astrophysics for Young People in a Hurry, which disappointed me as I thought it'd be something that he'd enjoy.

But when I got to the chapter in the book entitled "How to Play Tag", I knew I had him. So I gave it to him at the dinner table (where he would look enviously over his brother's shoulder to watch whatever show grandma was giving him to placate him) and before 3 minutes was over, he'd taken the book off the dinner table and was reading it instead of eating (which is not as impressive as you might think, since Bowen has deprioritized eating below any kind of fun, reasoning that he can always get something to eat as parents won't even deny a child that, but play time is always limited!). Bowen read the entire chapter and then complained that I'd started him on the book at chapter 14, and now he'd have to start over at chapter one and read the entire book!

To my mind, any book that gets your kid to classify reading as "fun-time" is great, and one that's scrupulously accurate, not afraid to use math and equations to explain problems, and demystify the scientific approach to thinking is one to treasure. Highly recommended!

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