Head in the Cloud by William Poundstone
Why Knowing Things Still Matters When Facts Are So Easy to Look Up

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There is enough in Head in the Cloud to convince a heavy Internet devotee that there are dangers to its excessive use. The Internet won’t make us stupid, Poundstone concludes, but it can make us less aware of what we don’t know.
-National Post arts

Synopsis

The real-world value of knowledge in the mobile-device age.

More people know who Khloe Kardashian is than who Rene Descartes was. Most can't find Delaware on a map, correctly spell the word occurrence, or name the largest ocean on the planet. But how important is it to fill our heads with facts? A few keystrokes can summon almost any information in seconds. Why should we bother learning facts at all?

Bestselling author William Poundstone confronts that timely question in HEAD IN THE CLOUD. He shows that many areas of knowledge correlate with the quality of our lives--wealth, health, and happiness--and even with politics and behavior. Combining Big Data survey techniques with eye-opening anecdotes, Poundstone examines what Americans know (and don't know) on topics ranging from quantum physics to pop culture.

HEAD IN THE CLOUD asks why we're okay with spelling errors on menus but not on resumes; why Fox News viewers don't know which party controls Congress; why people who know "trivia" make more money than those who don't; how individuals can navigate clickbait and media spin to stay informed about what really matters.

Hilarious, humbling, and wildly entertaining, HEAD IN THE CLOUD is a must-read for anyone who doesn't know everything.
 

About William Poundstone

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William Poundstone is the author of twelve books, including How Would You Move Mount Fuji? and Fortune's Formula, which was Amazon Editors' pick for the #1 nonfiction book of the year in 2005. He has written for the New York Times, Harper's, Harvard Business Review, and the Village Voice, among other publications. He lives in Los Angeles.
 
Published July 19, 2016 by Little, Brown and Company. 321 pages
Genres: Health, Fitness & Dieting, Political & Social Sciences, Self Help, Computers & Technology, Professional & Technical, Science & Math. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Head in the Cloud
All: 2 | Positive: 1 | Negative: 1

Kirkus

Below average
on Apr 19 2016

Some of the author’s ways of determining knowledge or lack thereof can seem, as he describes some of his results, “arbitrary and puzzling.”...The book reads like an extended game of Trivial Pursuit, featuring some who play very well and many more who play very poorly.

Read Full Review of Head in the Cloud: Why Knowin... | See more reviews from Kirkus

National Post arts

Above average
Reviewed by Philip Marchand on Jul 20 2016

There is enough in Head in the Cloud to convince a heavy Internet devotee that there are dangers to its excessive use. The Internet won’t make us stupid, Poundstone concludes, but it can make us less aware of what we don’t know.

Read Full Review of Head in the Cloud: Why Knowin... | See more reviews from National Post arts

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