Why does mystery create a mental itch that must be scratched? New York Times bestselling author Jonah Lehrer unlocks the secrets of mystery’s allure, putting together recent discoveries in the fields of psychology, neuroscience, and anthropology and shining a new light on everything from the formulas of our favorite detective shows to the tricks of successful advertising campaigns and the calculated risks of the stock market.
Why is mystery so compelling? What draws us to the unknown? Jonah Lehrer sets out to answer these questions in a vividly entertaining and surprisingly profound journey through the science of suspense. He finds that nothing is proven to capture a person’s attention as strongly as mystery, making mystery the key principle in how humans see and learn to understand the world. Whenever patterns are broken, we are hard-wired to find out why. Without our curiosity driving us to pursue new discoveries and persevere in solving stubborn problems, we would never have achieved the breakthroughs that have revolutionized human medicine, technology—and culture. From Shakespeare’s plays to the earliest works of the detective genre, our entertainment and media have continually reinvented successful forms of mystery to hook audiences.
In Mystery, Lehrer interviews individuals in unconventional fields who use mystery to challenge themselves and to motivate others to reach to new heights, from dedicated small-business owners to innovative schoolteachers. He also examines the indelible role of mystery in our culture, revealing how the magical world of Harry Potter triggers the magic of dopamine in our brains, why the baseball season is ten times longer than the football season, and when the suspect is introduced in each episode of Law & Order. Illuminating and engaging, Mystery explores the many surprising ways in which embracing a sense of awe and curiosity can enrich our lives.
Jonah Lehrer is a writer, journalist, and the author of A Book About Love, How We Decide, and Proust Was a Neuroscientist. He graduated from Columbia University and studied at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar. He’s written for The New Yorker, Nature, Wired, The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal. He lives in Los Angeles, California.
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio (August 17, 2021)