Friday, May 30, 2014

Book Review : Wonder - When and Why the World Appears Radiant

Title : Wonder - When and Why the World Appears Radiant
Author : Paul R. Fleischman
Publisher : Small Batch Books
ISBN : 978-1-937650-23-0

Fleischman is a well known name in scholarly circles and has penned various books and articles in numerous journals. His latest book 'Wonder : When and Why the World Appears Radiant' is a wonderful attempt to highlight the awesomeness of everything in this universe. He explains why and how we should view everything that is within ourselves and around us, with wonder. To support his explanation Dr. Fleischman brings in various diverse perspectives ranging from the fields - scientific, spiritual, philosophical to literary. From a tiny electron to the vast universe, the awesomeness of the discipline with which things happens is just beyond comprehension. Through Wonder, the author takes the readers on a guided adventurous journey to make them aware of things and phenomena that take place in the world and how innumerable constituent components function. What Dr. Fleischman has come up in the form of Wonder is an example of a piece which has extensive range as well as substantial depth enriched by study of various fields.
There is extensive compilation of scientific observations and surveys; religious and spiritual inferences; and quotes from literary classics like that of Tagore, Whitman, Asimov, Neruda and many more.  Concepts of time, space, energy and matter are explained through the research findings of scientists along with the life and mind of human is amply explored. It is commendable how author so seamlessly builds a coherent speech which takes ingredients from as diverse areas as one could think of.

Dr. Fleischman talks how wonder comes so naturally to children and quotes 'Fear is for adults who are ignorant and wonder-challenged.' He designates individuals like Einstein as the poster-boys of wonder and conveys that it is when wonder stops, that development and progress stop too. There are in all eighty chapters categorised under seven sections, each chapter is very short length wise. The language is profound and matches the quality of the content well.

That this piece of writing is a well researched piece is an understatement. It is quite evident from the scientists, philosophers, authors, academicians, skeptics and believers that have been quoted in this book that Dr. Fleischman must have gone through a huge array of information to come out with Wonder, which is an essence of all. This scholarly written book is packed with very enlightening information, however, it is not an easy or fast read, rather it is a tedious read if one wants to finish it off in designated number of days. Best way to read this book is to pick a couple of chapters at a time, spend time assimilating the power packed information before moving on to the next chapter. Readers must be cautioned beforehand that the narrative is not smooth as is expected from the kind of content this book offers.  It is full of quotes by well known scientists, astronomers, philosophers, writers and many more and often times the scientific observations are interspersed with psychological or philosophical deductions.

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