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Knowing what we know : the transmission of knowledge, from ancient wisdom to modern magic  Cover Image Book Book

Knowing what we know : the transmission of knowledge, from ancient wisdom to modern magic / Simon Winchester.

Winchester, Simon, (author.).


With the advent of the internet, any topic we want to know about is instantly available with the touch of a smartphone button. With so much knowledge at our fingertips, what is there left for our brains to do? At a time when we seem to be stripping all value from the idea of knowing things-—no need for math, no need for map-reading, no need for memorization—-are we risking our ability to think? As we empty our minds, will we one day be incapable of thoughtfulness? Addressing these questions, Simon Winchester explores how humans have attained, stored, and disseminated knowledge. Examining such disciplines as education, journalism, encyclopedia creation, museum curation, photography, and broadcasting, he looks at a whole range of knowledge diffusion—-from the cuneiform writings of Babylon to the machine-made genius of artificial intelligence, by way of Gutenberg, Google, and Wikipedia to the huge Victorian assemblage of the Mundanaeum, the collection of everything ever known, currently stored in a damp basement in northern Belgium. Studded with strange and fascinating details, Knowing What We Know is a deep dive into learning and the human mind. Throughout this fascinating tour, Winchester forces us to ponder what rational humans are becoming. What good is all this knowledge if it leads to lack of thought? What is information without wisdom? Does Rene Descartes’s Cogito, ergo sum—-“I think therefore I am,” the foundation for human knowledge widely accepted since the Enlightenment—-still hold?

Record details

  • ISBN: 9780063142886
  • ISBN: 0063142880
  • Physical Description: xii, 415 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
  • Edition: First edition.
  • Publisher: New York : Harper, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, [2023]

Content descriptions

Bibliography, etc. Note:
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Formatted Contents Note:
To know this only, that he nothing knew -- Teach your children well -- Gathering the harvest -- This just in -- Annals of manipulation -- Just leave the thinking to us -- The first and wisest of them all.
Subject: Knowledge, Sociology of.
Thought and thinking.
Information technology > Social aspects.
Technology > Social aspects.
Genre: Instructional and educational works.

Available copies

  • 10 of 11 copies available at Missouri Evergreen. (Show)
  • 1 of 1 copy available at North Kansas City.


  • 0 current holds with 11 total copies.
Show Only Available Copies
Location Call Number / Copy Notes Barcode Shelving Location Status Due Date
North Kansas City Public Library 306.42 WINCHESTER 2023 (Text) 0001012512693 Nonfiction Available -

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