Just about every human being knows how to listen to music, but what does it take to make music? Is musicality something we are born with? Or a skill that anyone can develop at any time? If you don't start piano at the age of six, is there any hope? Is skill learning best left to children or can anyone reinvent him-or herself at any time?
Thousands of soldiers die every year to defend their country. United States Army Staff Sergeant Travis Mills was sure that he would become another statistic when, during his third tour of duty in Afghanistan, he was caught in an IED blast four days before his 25th birthday. Against the odds, he lived, but at a severe cost - Travis became one of only five soldiers from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to survive a quadruple amputation.
Are we "noble in reason"? Perfect, in God's image? Far from it, says New York University psychologist Gary Marcus. In this lucid and revealing book, Marcus argues that the mind is not an elegantly designed organ but a "kluge", a clumsy, cobbled-together contraption. He unveils a fundamentally new way of looking at the human mind - think duct tape, not supercomputer - that sheds light on some of the most mysterious aspects of human nature.