Curious: The Desire to Know and Why Your Future Depends On It Summary – May 2022

Author: Lan Leslie

Short Summary
Curious: The Desire to Know and Why Your Future Depends On It (2014) is the most critical factor in our life that leads us toward success: our curiosity. Curiosity is our tool for exploration and the act of discovery — because discovering new things helps us understand our surroundings, which is key to survival. It’s how we learn about our environment and discover that helps us build things on what we already have to improve our lives.
curious: the desire to know and why your future depends on it

Detailed Summary

Interested in learning more about Curiosity?

It’s not something you’re born with. Yes, kids are naturally curious. That’s what we love most about them.

But as we grow up, many of us are told to be less inquisitive, to think less and know more, to just accept things as we are rather than asking why or how. I was told the same thing when I was a kid, that being incessantly curious would make me weird or obnoxious. So, I tried to rein in my curiosity.

But you can’t kill curiosity because it doesn’t come from within you. It comes from the outside world. To be curious is to be alive. Curiosity is a powerful trait. Curious minds will be more successful in their careers and want to keep learning. Curious people are also happier and unhealthier at work. Curious people will be more creative and better problem solvers. But how does one become curious? And can you ever lose your curiosity?

When I was a kid, I remember being five years old and asking my Dad about his work when he returned home from work every single day, he worked for the Civil Service (Government) so I asked him what his job was, how to write letters and even marketing and sales which would have been completely unrelated to his work, but I was curious as a child and asked anyway.

It wasn’t just my childhood, I still am a very curious person and find myself asking questions regardless of whether or not they are relevant at that very moment.

It’s an evolutionary mechanism for survival. It means you’re more likely to survive if curiosity is your driving force.

Curious: The Desire to Know and Why Your Future Depends On It Key Points

Learn about the types of curiosity to develop this trait better

“In many ways, what we call ‘curiosity’ is the search for information,” says Leslie. “You might say ‘curiosity killed the cat,’ but you might also say that curiosity rescued a cat from a well.”

Two types of curiosity will help you develop this trait better. Diverse curiosity refers to that the desire to know just for the sake of knowing, whereas epistemic curiosity is the desire to not just know, but to know how and why. Understanding what drives your curiosity about something will help you channel it more effectively. It encourages risk-taking, exploration, and even creativity. For example, when you’re curious about why the sky is blue, your motivation isn’t to increase your knowledge—after all, blue sky is the blue sky—but rather to satisfy a desire for knowledge for its own sake.

Epistemic curiosity is the desire to understand and learn more about the world around you, but it can be hard to harness the epistemic urge if your primary drive is diverse curiosity. To cultivate your curiosity and turn it into a productive curiosity, try to find answers to questions that you genuinely have rather than questions you think you should have.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting information or knowledge, but when you’re curious about something, make sure it’s because you want to truly understand the full story and not because you just want to get another notch in your belt.

The Internet can make you smarter or dumb, depending upon how you use it

Although the internet is an amazing tool to learn new things, some dark sides prevent us from learning. The internet is a place where we can get information and knowledge instantly; but is this always a good thing? 

According to The Guardian, an estimated 4.529 billion people are internet users as of Q3 2016. With over half of the world’s population having the internet at their fingertips, we should be able to learn more than ever right? Well, not exactly.

As most of us can agree, the internet can be a great resource for learning. We have all been there. We needed to look up a word we didn’t know, and we quickly did so on Google. Or maybe we needed to watch a video that would help us understand a concept we didn’t understand in school, and we had access to YouTube.

Before you get on the internet to do research, you might want to think twice and ask yourself: am I going to benefit from what I’m seeing?

Many argue that the internet helps to learn because of the endless amount of information you can access at any given time. You can find art tutorials, chemistry lessons, history facts and so much more. You can even find articles depicting the life of a president who died long before we were born. The internet is also home to many videos of cats running into walls or people falling. The internet even has a few articles about celebrities you care about.

Ask a lot of questions to feed your curiosity

Asking a lot of questions can be important for us all when we are taking in new information. Studies reveal that it can increase our ability to remember that information over time. Asking questions enables us to learn more about the subject and find out the elements we need. In addition, studies teach us that we can also encourage others to ask questions by asking questions ourselves.

Curiosity goes away as children get older, replaced with memorization and compliance: “The child becomes less curious, less eager to find things out, satisfied to know just a little more than he needs to know for getting by. They’re not 10 questions and by age 5, they’ve cut that number in half. It’s at this age when children’s curiosity dwindles to nearly nothing.

As we become older and go to school, things start changing. We are being taught to assume that a lot of things are already understood and there is no need to ask why or to make sense of them in our minds. But this is not the case. At least not for me. I’ve always been asking myself the same questions: “What’s the meaning of life?” “Why do people always make mistakes?” “Why are humans so different from other creatures on Earth?”

For as long as we can remember, we’ve been told what to do, how to do it, and when to do it. The only thing that truly matters is whether we understand what we are doing and why we are doing it. The moment we stop asking ourselves questions about our existence—the moment the answers to these questions stop coming — is the moment when we grow old.

Curious: The Desire to Know and Why Your Future Depends On It Quotes

“Ignorance as a deliberate choice can be used to reinforce prejudice and discrimination.” Ian Leslie

“What makes us so adaptable? In one word, culture – our ability to to learn from others, to copy, imitate, share and improve.” Ian Leslie

Curious: The Desire to Know and Why Your Future Depends On It Review

You will become smarter than before by learning and applying the strategies explained in the book to your life. This book is fascinating and full of knowledge. This book is also an appreciation to those who love to ask a lot of questions. Highly recommended.

To whom I would recommend Curiously: The Desire to Know and Why Your Future Depends On It Summary?

  • Anyone who loves psychology.
  • Anyone who uses the internet a lot just to watch videos for time to pass and don’t get knowledge.
  • Anyone who wants to become smarter than others.