From the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Inside of a Dog, this “elegant and entertaining” (The Boston Globe) explanation of how humans perceive their environments “does more than open our eyes...opens our hearts and minds, too, gently awakening us to a world—in fact, many worlds—we’ve been missing” (USA TODAY).
Alexandra Horowitz shows us how to see the spectacle of the
ordinary—to practice, as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle put it, “the
observation of trifles.” Structured around a series of eleven walks
the author takes, mostly in her Manhattan neighborhood, On
Looking features experts on a diverse range of subjects,
including an urban sociologist, the well-known artist Maira Kalman,
a geologist, a physician, and a sound designer. Horowitz also walks
with a child and a dog to see the world as they perceive it.
What they see, how they see it, and why most of us do
not see the same things reveal the startling power of human
attention and the cognitive aspects of what it means to be an
Page by page, Horowitz shows how much more there is to see—if only
we would really look. Trained as a cognitive scientist, she
discovers a feast of fascinating detail, all explained with her
generous humor and self-deprecating tone. So turn off the phone and
other electronic devices and be in the real world—where
strangers communicate by geometry as they walk toward one another,
where sounds reveal shadows, where posture can display humility,
and the underside of a leaf unveils a Lilliputian universe—where,
indeed, there are worlds within worlds within worlds.