Thursday, 23 June 2022

Read in 2022 - 17: The Importance of Being Interested

The Importance of Being Interested - Adventures in Scientific Curiosity

by Robin Ince

Was it a birthday gift, or did I already receive this for Christmas? Anyway, my sister came across this wonderful, wonderful book and immediately thought it would be something for me - and right she was!

I enjoyed every single page of this work of non-fiction, savouring it over a period of several months. It is the best book I have read so far this year, and has great potential of becoming my personal Book of The Year, as well as being re-read at some stage.

Part of the blurb on the jacket reads: "In this witty and often profound tour through science, Robin argues that scientific wonder should be for everyone. Packed with interviews featuring astronauts, comedians, teachers, quantum physicists, neuroscientists and more [it shows] that many wrongly think of [science] as distant and difficult. [...] This optimistic book will leave you with a thirst for intellectual adventure."

And it does exactly that! Just have a look at some of the chapters' headlines:

  • Armchair Time-Travel - Putting out your beach blanket on the sands of time
  • Big, Isn't It? - On coping with the size of the universe
  • Swinging from the Family Tree - Inviting yeast to the family reunion
  • More Important than Knowledge - On the necessity of imagination

Now, aren't these intriguing as well as promising? Believe me, each chapter lives up to that promise, delivering insights and plenty of food for thought in a very entertaining manner. More than once, I found myself chuckling at the end of a paragraph, regardless of whether it was about the existence (or not) of God, what's happening at a subatomic level or standup comedy.

Don't think this book isn't for you - it really truly is for everyone who can read, and I guarantee it is just as much a page turner as the latest Harlan Coben.

Robin Ince is the co-creator and presenter of the BBC Radio 4 show "The Infinite Monkey Cage" and has toured the world with scientist Brian Cox to make science accessible to everyone. The Covid pandemic put an end to their touring, and the enforced confinement lead to him writing this book in order to keep (?) his sanity. You can find out more about him and his work here on Wikipedia.

Thank you, sister, for finding and giving me this gem!


  1. This book looks wonderful! Thank you for the recommendation. I plan to stop by the bookstore this afternoon while I'm out running errands, I'll look and see if they have a copy of it. Of course, I could also download it but I've started trying to buy more printed books again. It's difficult to share with friends when you only have digital copies of books. :)

    1. That is certainly a reason for buying printed books, Jennifer. I still read both, preferring paper when I am reading at home but absolutely loving my kindle for the many train trips and other occasions when a printed book would make my bag unnecessarily heavy and bulky.
      I am sure you'd love this one - I could even imagine it to be great for a book club.

  2. You have given it a great review! Too bad I can't get it at my library here in the US. Maybe I can make a special request. Thanks for the recommendation!

    1. Do make that special request with your library, Ellen - many others will be benefitting from it, I am sure!