It seems very appropriate to be writing about the new book in a feature called “The Big Idea,” because I can say without hyperbole that it’s a book about the biggest idea in the history of humanity.
OK, maybe there’s a trace of hyperbole there, but just a little. Eureka is about an idea that is radically transformative on every level from individuals to the entire human species. It’s not an Internet technology, or a particular fact, but a process:
You look at the world around you,
You think about why it might work the way it does,
You test your theory with experiments and further observations, and
You tell everyone you know the results.
This four-step process is the essential core of all of science. More than that, it’s central to just about everything we do. Science leads directly to all the technologies that have allowed a not especially threatening species of hairless plains apes to thoroughly dominate the surface of the planet (for good or ill). More than that, science is central to activities that we do just for fun.