The Puzzler, One Man’s Quest to Solve the Most Baffling Puzzles Ever
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Available April 26, 2022
The New York Times bestselling author of The Year of Living Biblically goes on a rollicking journey to understand the enduring power of puzzles: why we love them, what they do to our brains, and how they can improve our world.
What makes puzzles—jigsaws, mazes, riddles, sudokus—so satisfying? Be it the formation of new cerebral pathways, their close link to insight and humor, or their community-building properties, they’re among the fundamental elements that make us human. Convinced that puzzles have made him a better person, A. J. Jacobs—four-time New York Times bestselling author, master of immersion journalism, and nightly crossworder—set out to determine their myriad benefits. And maybe, in the process, solve the puzzle of our very existence. Well, almost.
Advance Praise for THE PUZZLER“Even though I’ve never attempted the New York Times crossword puzzle or solved the Rubik’s Cube, I couldn’t put down The Puzzler. A. J. Jacobs’s fascinating, hilarious investigation of our human love for puzzles is packed with intriguing real-life stories, information, and research—and he also illuminates ways that we might play our way toward solutions for an often puzzling world. I’ll never look at a jigsaw puzzle or a Sudoku page the same way again.” —Gretchen Rubin, bestselling author of The Happiness Project and Better Than Before
“As a devotee of crosswords, anagrams, and A.J. Jacobs, I knew I would love this book. What I did not anticipate: The Soviet Camping Puzzle! The Ellis Island Jigsaw! A visit to CIA headquarters! Most puzzle books are all brain; this one has heart. As A.J. learns with his singular performance at the World Jigsaw Puzzle Championship, puzzles bring us together—as families and as Earthlings. Even better, they brought A.J. Jacobs gobs of grade-A fodder for another charming, funny, winning book.” —Mary Roach, bestselling author of Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law
“You don’t have to be a puzzler to love The Puzzler. The immensely talented A.J. Jacobs travelled the world in search of the most amazing puzzles, as well as the remarkable (and beautifully weird) people who make and solve them. The result is a book that is entertaining, fascinating, and hilarious. I couldn’t put it down.”—Andy Borowitz, writer at The New Yorker and founder of The Borowitz Report
“Humans are obsessed with puzzles, and A.J. Jacobs is obsessed with figuring out why. Of all the gifts he possesses as a writer, his second-greatest is his ability to make you think and make you laugh at the same time. In these delightful pages, you’ll find a clue about what his greatest gift might be.” —Adam Grant, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Think Again and host of the TED podcast WorkLife
“Riveting…Fascinating…[with] infectious charm…A rallying cry for ‘word nerds’ everywhere, this is a delight.”—Publishers Weekly “The George Plimpton of thought experiments takes readers on a wide-ranging tour of puzzles, from crosswords to mazes and beyond…A barrel of monkeys’ worth of fun for the puzzle addict in the household.”—Kirkus Reviews
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