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The Puzzler: One Man's Quest to Solve the Most Baffling Puzzles Ever, from Crosswords to Jigsaws to the Meaning of Life

Tekijä: A. J. Jacobs

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
2058130,514 (3.74)8
Biography & Autobiography. Games. Self-Improvement. Nonfiction. HTML: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.
In The Puzzler, Jacobs meets the most zealous devotees, enters (sometimes with his family in tow) any puzzle competition that will have him, unpacks the history of the most popular puzzles, and aims to solve the most impossible head-scratchers, from a mutant Rubik??s Cube, to the hardest corn maze in America, to the most sadistic jigsaw. Chock-full of unforgettable adventures and original examples from around the world??including new work by Greg Pliska, one of America??s top puzzle-makers??The Puzzler will open listeners?? eyes to the power of flexible thinking and concentration. Whether you??re puzzle obsessed or puzzle hesitant, you??ll walk away with real problem-solving strategies and pathways toward becoming a better thinker and decision maker??for these are certainly puzzling times.
*Includes a downloadable PDF of puzzles, answers, ill
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Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 7) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
I absolutely loved this book! If you love puzzles, this is a fun book with details and history of various puzzles: jigsaws, crosswords, word puzzles, number puzzles, and more! It has humor and many puzzles for you to attempt on your own.
I enjoyed learning about some of the constructors of puzzles, mazes, and cubes. I enjoyed reading about the tournaments and the research the author did for the book.
This is a must read for any puzzle lover! ( )
  rmarcin | Aug 15, 2023 |
In the middle of “The Puzzler” (2022), A.J. Jacobs writes, "As a kid, I suffered from mild OCD and I had many strange rituals." That explains a lot. Maybe Jacobs hasn't entirely outgrown that obsessive-compulsive disorder. That may, in fact, be the secret of his success.

Jacobs has written a series of popular books that perhaps only someone with "mild OCD" could have written. In “The Know-It-All” he describes his experience of reading through the entire Encylopaedia Brittanica from beginning to end. In “The Year of Living Biblically” he tells of trying to follow every law in the Hebrew Bible, including all those dietary ones, to the letter. And so on.

Now in “The Puzzler,” he writes about all the major forms of puzzles, from crosswords and sudokus to jigsaws and Rubik's cubes. More than that, he seeks to obtain and solve the hardest of them. He participates in an international jigsaw puzzle contest. He tackles nearly impossible mazes and purchases a puzzle that, even if a person knew what he was doing and worked at it nonstop, would take billions of years to solve.

Yet it is the author's immersion in these puzzles that makes his book so fascinating. His sense of humor also helps. He interviews puzzle creators and the best puzzle solvers. He even interviews the great chess champion Garry Kasparov about chess puzzles.

One need not be either obsessive or compulsive, or even enjoy puzzles, to find pleasure in this book. ( )
  hardlyhardy | Aug 14, 2023 |
This audiobook was a sheer delight! With a smooth and uniquely distinctive voice, author and puzzler A.J. Jacobs takes us on a tour of puzzles and the people who love them in The Puzzler - One Man's Quest to Solve the Most Baffling Puzzles Ever, from Crosswords to Jigsaws to the Meaning of Life. The author's first love is crosswords, but he succeeds in taking us on a balanced and thoroughly satisfying tour through the world of puzzles.

A solver is a person who does puzzles, and in the book Jacobs interviews many who dedicate their lives to creating or solving a variety of puzzles. He covers a broad range of puzzles, including: anagrams; ciphers and codes; crosswords and cryptic crosswords; chess; jigsaw puzzles; riddles; Rubik's cube; logic problems, sudoku and more.

Jacobs shares his experiences with each of the puzzle types and I especially enjoyed his story about entering an international jigsaw puzzle competition with his family. This led me down a jigsaw rabbit hole, watching a short documentary about the mind blowing jigsaw competition that sees solvers given a series of brand new previously unreleased puzzles from Ravensburger as they compete to solve them. There are solo events, pairs and team events and it's a fascinating sub-culture.

When defining what a puzzle is, Jacobs declares a puzzle will almost always:

"... cause the solver to experience a period of difficulty and struggle, followed by relief. They provide an a-ha moment, tension leading to, an almost, well, orgasmic ending." Chapter 2: The Puzzle of Puzzles.

Jacobs involves the reader at every opportunity, creating a bonus puzzle time for audio listeners, and providing a PDF with 100+ pages of puzzle examples and supporting material for the book. Some of the puzzles mentioned sent me on a nostalgic trip down memory lane, or inspired me to seek out more info. Did you know the world's largest puzzle is from Ravensburger and contains 40,320 pieces? It's estimated that if a solver spends 2 hours per day working on the puzzle, it will take an entire year to complete it!

The author is serious about his puzzling, checking every night without fail for the online release of his favourite puzzles, and volunteering to tackle some of the hardest puzzles in the world. The Japanese puzzle box desk sounded incredible and I longed to see it in person.

Jacobs explores why so many of us love puzzles, concluding that the art of puzzling is 'bafflement, wrestling and solution'. Some of us become bored or frustrated and give up at the bafflement or wrestling stage, but Jacobs discusses the pleasure to be had from the mental and intellectual effort and the sense of accomplishment that follows when a puzzle has been solved. His enthusiasm for the topic is infectious and I enjoyed this tantalising look into the puzzle world.

I enjoy a puzzle myself, and am still doing the daily Wordle and - thanks to this book - occasionally taking on the Spelling Bee by The New York Times. I've asked myself how I can give an audiobook about puzzles my top rating of 5 stars, because that's what I'm about to do.

All I can say is that I had such a great time reading this. I was inspired to share some of the riddles and puzzles with my husband and we had a good laugh solving them (or not) together. As I said, The Puzzler by A.J. Jacobs was an absolute delight. I looked forward to listening to a chapter or so each day and was sorry when I 'solved' the last one.

Highly recommended! ( )
  Carpe_Librum | Aug 7, 2023 |
  pw0327 | Mar 19, 2023 |
This was a fun, engaging read. It’s easy to write about puzzles and make them sound boring. Jacobs, with his light tone, does a good job of capturing what makes puzzles thrilling. A breezy read, with some not always so breezy puzzles included. ( )
  psalva | Feb 1, 2023 |
Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 7) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
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Biography & Autobiography. Games. Self-Improvement. Nonfiction. HTML: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.
In The Puzzler, Jacobs meets the most zealous devotees, enters (sometimes with his family in tow) any puzzle competition that will have him, unpacks the history of the most popular puzzles, and aims to solve the most impossible head-scratchers, from a mutant Rubik??s Cube, to the hardest corn maze in America, to the most sadistic jigsaw. Chock-full of unforgettable adventures and original examples from around the world??including new work by Greg Pliska, one of America??s top puzzle-makers??The Puzzler will open listeners?? eyes to the power of flexible thinking and concentration. Whether you??re puzzle obsessed or puzzle hesitant, you??ll walk away with real problem-solving strategies and pathways toward becoming a better thinker and decision maker??for these are certainly puzzling times.
*Includes a downloadable PDF of puzzles, answers, ill

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