Book Readings - Sneka

Things that make us smart

The three chapters that I read in this book were related to the mind and the other psychological aspects of life.


The book speaks about the four stages in the development if human intelligence
Episodic memory- In this stage the human beings were limited in their ability to form the mental representation of the world.
Mimesis- They developed an ability to communicate their desires and wants and sophisticated communication became possible.
Mythic- This was the stage of language development.
External representation- This marks the zenith of human intelligence development portraying modern humans

The author points that social interaction is something that is very complex for the animals to achieve
An illustration : The ants follow each other and build a complex social interaction not because of conscious desire but because of individual responsiveness.

The memory has the capability to store things that recently happened or those things that have a strong emotional impact and that is the reason stories have an enormous influence in the life of the person. The author concludes by stating that when we build our products there is a high probability of success if the product works in synchronisation with the way the human mind works.


The author takes the example of the flight steering wheel to highlight the importance on how sudden changes aimed at improved performance in the working of things could have a huge and costly impact. When the changes were made to the wheel, it greatly affected the synchronous movements of the pilots and led to a lot of accidents. In the topic the "Impossible things are impossible" - the negative impacts of simulations are highlighted. Several illustrations have been provided to emphasize this fact. The chapter ends with a note on accuracy. When designing a product amusement and excitement are more important rather than accuracy. Environment and task should fit the person and not the other way round.


This chapter did not have a lot of text but was replete with illustrations and pictures on how the things evolved over a period of time. It points out the errors in the design of the products and how they evolved overtime to what we have today!