Synopses & Reviews
From the author of the giant #1 New York Times
bestseller Inside of a Dog
comes an equally smart, delightful, and startling exploration of how we perceive and discover our world.
Alexandra Horowitz’s brilliant On Looking: Eleven Walks with Expert Eyes shows us how to see the spectacle of the ordinary—to practice, as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle put it, “the observation of trifles.” On Looking is structured around a series of eleven walks the author takes, mostly in her Manhattan neighborhood, with 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. She 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 expert observer.
As the million-plus readers of Inside of a Dog have discovered, Alexandra Horowitz is charmingly adept at explaining the mysteries of human perception. Trained as a cognitive scientist, she discovers a feast of fascinating detail, all explained with her generous humor and self-deprecating tone. On Looking presents the same engaging combination, this time in service to understanding how human beings encounter their daily worlds and each other.
Page by page, Horowitz shows how much more there is to see—if only we would really look. On Looking is nutrition for the considered life, serving as a provocative response to our relentlessly virtual consciousness. 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.
Alexandra Horowitz’s On Looking confirms her place as one of today’s most illuminating observers of our infinitely complex world.
"Causes one's dog-loving heart to flutter with astonishment and gratitude."—The New York Times
"A thoughtful take on the interior life of the dog...long on insight and short on jargon." -- Washington Post
“Discover why your dog is so sensitive to your emotions, gaze, and body language. Dogs live in a world of ever changing intricate detail of smell. Read this captivating book and enter the sensory world of your dog.”—Temple Grandin, author of Animals in Translation and Animals Make us Human
"Bookshop shelves are stacked high with guides on how to train super-pets and speak the canine language, but this delightful addition to the genre really stands out from the pack....You don’t have to be a dog person to enjoy this absorbing book, but be warned -- it might turn you into one." -- BBC Wildlife
“Horowitz writes like a poet, thinks like a scientist, and ventures like an explorer. Her book will have you looking in a new way at the world around you, and make you glad you did.” Susan Orlean
"These eleven exquisite, clever and and tenderly recounted small adventures remind me of something I learned back when I lived in India: the need to perceive "the scent behind the smell." Alexandra Horowitz has attempted much the same thing with her eyes - much aided by the seeing of others - and has in consequence become increasingly successful in perceiving what one might call "the sight behind the scene." Her resulting epiphanies are available to us all, if we take care to learn from her, in this lovely book, just how it is done." < -="" i="" -=""> - Rin Tin Tin - < -="" -="">
"Alexandra Horowitz's new book is as wonderful as her first. Inside of a Dog helped us to imagine the worlds of our beagles, collies, greyhounds and mutts. On Looking teaches us that the world is just as rich, strange and charmed when seen through the eyes of our local artists, doctors, architects and toddlers. On Looking also teaches us that Alexandra Horowitz is a writer to watch." Simon Winchester - author of - < -="" i="" -=""> - The Map that Changed the World - < -="" -=""> - and - < -="" i="" -=""> - Krakatoa - < -="" -=""> - < -="" p="" -="">
From the author of the #1 New York Times mega-bestseller Inside of a Dog comes an equally smart, delightful, and startling exploration of how we perceive our surroundings.
You are missing at least eighty percent of what is happening around you right now. You are missing what is happening in your body, in the distance, and right in front of you.
In reading these words, you are ignoring an unthinkably large amount of information that continues to bombard all of your senses. The hum of the fluorescent lights; the ambient noise in the room; the feeling of the chair against your legs or back; your tongue touching the roof of your mouth; the tension you are holding in your shoulders or jaw; the constant hum of traffic or a distant lawnmower; the blurred view of your own shoulders and torso in your peripheral vision; a chirp of a bug or whine of a kitchen appliance.
Hidden in Plain Sight begins with inattention. It is not meant to help you focus on your reading of Tolstoy; it is not about how to multitask. It is not about how to avoid falling asleep at a lecture or during your grandfather’s tales of boyhood misadventures. Rather, it is about attending to the joys of the unattended, the perceived “ordinary.” Horowitz encourages us to rediscover the extraordinary things that we are missing in our ordinary activities. Even when engaged in the simplest of activities—taking a walk around the block—we pay so little attention to most of what is right before us that we are sleepwalkers in our own lives. So turn off the phone and portable electronics and get into the real world, where you’ll find there are worlds within worlds within worlds.
About the Author
Alexandra Horowitz is the author of the bestselling Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know. She teaches psychology, animal behavior, and canine cognition at Barnard College, Columbia University. In New York City, Alexandra walks with her husband, the writer Ammon Shea, her son, and two large, non-heeling dogs.Alexandra Horowitz is the author of the bestselling Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know. She teaches psychology, animal behavior, and canine cognition at Barnard College, Columbia University. In New York City, Alexandra walks with her husband, the writer Ammon Shea, her son, and two large, non-heeling dogs.