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{ "item_title" : "The Puzzler", "item_author" : [" A. J. Jacobs", "Greg Pliska "], "item_description" : "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.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.--Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project and Better Than BeforeLook for the author's new podcast, The Puzzler, based on this book! 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, and a hidden, super-challenging but solvable puzzle--The Puzzler will open readers' 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.", "item_img_path" : "https://covers2.booksamillion.com/covers/bam/0/59/313/671/0593136713_b.jpg", "price_data" : { "retail_price" : "28.00", "online_price" : "28.00", "our_price" : "28.00", "club_price" : "28.00", "savings_pct" : "0", "savings_amt" : "0.00", "club_savings_pct" : "0", "club_savings_amt" : "0.00", "discount_pct" : "10", "store_price" : "28.00" } }
The Puzzler|A. J. Jacobs
The Puzzler : One Man's Quest to Solve the Most Baffling Puzzles Ever, from Crosswords to Jigsaws to the Meaning of Life
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Overview

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.

"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."--Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project and Better Than Before

Look for the author's new podcast, The Puzzler, based on this book!
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, and a hidden, super-challenging but solvable puzzle--The Puzzler will open readers' 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.

Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780593136713
  • ISBN-10: 0593136713
  • Publisher: Crown Publishing Group (NY)
  • Publish Date: April 2022
  • Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.1 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Page Count: 368

Related Categories

Puzzles are big news—and big business—these days. With their capacity to entertain, challenge and provide a distraction from the stresses of daily life, puzzles have found a wider audience than ever before.

In the introduction to his new book, The Puzzler: One Man’s Quest to Solve the Most Baffling Puzzles Ever, From Crosswords to Jigsaws to the Meaning of Life, journalist, bestselling author and invenerate puzzler A.J. Jacobs (The Know-It-All) shares the euphoria he felt upon learning that his name was featured as a clue in a New York Times crossword puzzle. He’d made it to the big time! But, alas, it was a Saturday puzzle, one of the hardest of the week. So, not a household name just yet, just an obscure clue.

However, Jacobs may find his name appearing in clues more often as puzzle lovers old and new discover this timely and entertaining exploration of why we love (and, yes, often become addicted to) all sorts of puzzles—from the word puzzle books we gobbled up in childhood, to jigsaw puzzles on card tables during family summer vacations, to the world’s recent embrace of a simple daily word game. (You know the one.)

A.J. Jacobs shares how he solved the hardest puzzle yet: motivating himself to finish writing ‘The Puzzler.’

Jacobs covers a wide variety of puzzles, including anagrams, mazes, math and logic puzzles, Rubik’s Cubes, Sudoku, riddles, ciphers and, of course, crosswords—his first love. He admits to knowing the exact time the New York Times crossword puzzle appears online each day. He’s also honest about the emotions involved in puzzle-solving. Frankly, it’s not all enjoyment; there’s frustration, drama, despair and even humiliation. “And sometimes there’s terror,” Jacobs writes, speaking of the creeping fear that getting stuck portends mental decline.

The Puzzler isn’t simply Jacobs’ personal journey, however; it’s also an exploration of the history of puzzles and their role in society. Along the way, Jacobs meets and interviews some fascinating puzzle lovers, including Jeff Varasano, who created his own algorithms to solve a Rubik’s Cube as a teenager back in 1980, and a young woman named Sydney Weaver, a “speedcuber” whose cubing has helped her with pediatric arthritis. Readers also meet crossword maker Peter Gordon, who, when asked why he thinks we’re addicted to puzzles, replied, “Well, life is a puzzle.” Indeed, as the late Maki Kaji, often known as the father of Sudoku, believed, puzzles are a journey. Jacobs’ wonderful book reminds us that puzzles help us to be present in the moment and connect with others on the same journey.

A final note: The Puzzler would make a fabulous gift as a physical copy simply because it includes original puzzles by Greg Pliska for readers to solve. But don’t despair; the answers are in the back.

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