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Where Am I Hardcover – Apr 13 2009


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Ltd (April 13 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1554683939
  • ISBN-13: 978-1554683932
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 23.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 522 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #360,424 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
I had high hopes of this book when it was loaned to me by a friend, but in the end I came way disappointed. The subtitle "Why We Can Find Our Way to the Moon But Get Lost in the Mall" suggested a book on the psychology of navigation. Part I delivered on this topic, but did not contain nearly the depth I was expecting. I hoped that depth might be found in Part II, but Part II is on a completely different topic: the arrangement of human spaces in daily life. It delivers more of a philosophy of space than any real substance.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. Perdue on May 4 2009
Format: Hardcover
How a book is written can be every bit as important as the topic itself. Even the most interesting subject can be made tiresome by poor craft, but in Colin Ellard's work we find the collision of an intriguing topic with superior writing. The tone of this book is perfect for its intended audience, neither underestimating the reader, nor filling the page with technical jargon. This is not a simple topic by any means, but Ellard tackles it with clarity and grace, and makes it accessible and interesting through the use of clever and engaging anecdotes. This book is absolutely a must read, and I can only hope there is more to come.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Maynard on April 25 2010
Format: Paperback
Colin Ellard has written a delightful book that persuasively stakes a claim for the primacy of space in human cognition. The first half covers some of the scientific research into the psychology of space and is well informed by Ellard's solid working knowledge of neuroscience, cognitive science, ethology, animal behavior, and evolutionary psychology, as well as by his first-hand knowledge of a number of specialty areas within each of these fields. The book's second half takes up questions about interacting with our spatial environment that are of considerable practical significance. For example, what happens to us as we become disconnected from our natural world? What makes for psychologically satisfying living and office spaces? Why do some city green spaces work, but others do not? Might social networks that we establish on the Internet (e.g., on Facebook) facilitate greater interaction with the real spatial environment? How about the increasing availability on the Internet of virtual reality? You may disagree with some of Ellard's views on these issues. For example, I believe he's overly optimistic if not completely delusional that navigating in cyberspace via virtual reality, Google Earth, and the like will get us back out there exploring and playing in the real world. But I can guarantee that you will never be bored. And too you will likely learn all sorts of things that you may never before have heard of, in my case, isovists, Second Life, proxemics, sound sculpturing, calm technology, to mention just a few. Accessibility poses no problem. The writing is engaging, often humorous, and pitched at the right level for the layperson. In short, this book is an instance of popularization of science at its very best.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Rick L on May 27 2009
Format: Hardcover
This book intrigued me as I've spent a good deal of time canoeing and hiking in the Canadian wilderness, often without a compass. Although I have a good sense of direction I now understand why my mental maps sometimes fail me. While the topic may appear daunting I found the book to be quite approachable with its comfortable writing style. There are plenty of amusing anecdotes and examples to make the science understandable to the layperson. If this topic interests you then this book will not disappoint!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By M. Ross on May 2 2009
Format: Hardcover
Scientists often attempt to write books for the "intelligent layperson." Frequently such books miss the mark because the authors aim either too high or too low and their writing is pedestrian. Ellard nails it. This is not a book that you will buy and put off reading. Start it and you will be hooked. This book will appeal to both spatial idiots like me who are forever losing their way and competent navigators. After you read the book, you will amaze your friends and neighbors with your new-found erudition on a host of topics, ranging from animal navigation to architecture.You may also amaze your spouse and children with your new pathfinding skills.
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