ASK MARILYN by Marilyn vos Savant

ASK MARILYN

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 The world's smartest person--or at least the one with the highest IQ (228), according to the Guinness Book of Records--tells you everything you wanted to know about everything. Drawn mostly from vos Savant's popular ``Ask Marilyn'' column in Parade magazine, the author's succinct yet eloquent answers to letters on myriad subjects--grouped here into topics ranging from ``morals and ethics'' to ``war and peace'' to ``computers'' to ``philosophy''- -show a quicksilver mind at work, and are a delight. Not surprisingly, given her reliance on logic (Q: ``Isn't it possible that some things cannot be explained by pure logic?'' A: ``Yes, but I'd say that's because language fails us rather than logic''), vos Savant's strong suit lies in mathematical and logical challenges (one of which, based on the ``which-door?'' conundrum of TV's Let's Make a Deal, made national headlines), but her talent for aphorism helps her grope her way through more ambiguous subjects (Q: ``Can you differentiate wisdom from knowledge?'' A: ``Knowledge tells you when you're on a one-way street; wisdom tells you to look both ways before you cross it''), and she scatters enough knowledge-trivia (Q: ``Why is the speed of the earth's rotation constant?'' A: ``It isn't--it's slowing down gradually. I just hope that when it finally comes to a stop, it's on a Saturday'') to ensure that readers learn something while they're having fun--as they assuredly will. (Thirty-seven illustrations--not seen.)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1992
ISBN: 0-312-08136-7
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 1992




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