The Puzzler: One Man’s Quest to Solve the Most Baffling Puzzles Ever, from Crosswords to Jigsaws to the Meaning of Life
Jigsaw puzzles are insanely popular recently, but there are many other types of puzzles: crosswords, Rubik’s cubes, mazes, and more, with endless variations. Author A.J. Jacobs takes you along on his quest to discover the most difficult, interesting, intriguing, historical, and infuriating puzzles of all kinds. He tracks down puzzle creators and puzzle solvers and tries his hand at being both. The journey is fun and often illuminating. Most people enjoy puzzles of one type or another; in fact, we seem genetically drawn to them. Puzzles, after all, are just little problems, and what’s life but a large set of problems to solve? Maybe that’s oversimplifying; at any rate, solving puzzles rewards you with a strong hit of dopamine, with stakes that are fairly small (although Jacobs recounts a story of someone who almost died during a tournament chess match). It’s enjoyable reading about the different types of puzzles, and especially about Jacob’s adventures trying them out. His writing is full of interviews and anecdotes and stays light even while pondering a puzzling profundity. For the adventurous, he includes several representative puzzles to try (with solutions). You’re sure to find something new and surprising and lots to enjoy.
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