The New York Times bestselling author of The Year of Living Biblically goes on a journey to understand the enduring power of puzzles: why we love them, what they do to our brains, and how they can improve our world.
... weirdly fascinating ... a romp, both fun and funny. Jacobs explains, in a way I never could, how at various points in our lives puzzles can save us ... Jacobs’s love for puzzles is infectious, and it’s not hard to understand why.
Although Jacobs has been accused of smugness in previous books, he's a self-deprecating guide to these puzzles (most of the 18 chapters come with several for us to solve, along with offering tips). He steps back to ponder why we love puzzles even though he still stews over one from his youth and a more recent example convinced him that one of his books has the wrong title ... Those stories build to the kind of conclusion that wasn't as clear in books where, for instance, he threw away polyester clothing because the Bible says not to wear mixed fabrics or insulted strangers because he'd taken a vow of truthfulness. In a way, The Puzzler is a self-help book that assures us there's good reason to spend an hour in the bathtub with a pencil and a Sudoku or months fiddling with the world's largest Rubik's Cube (a task he farms out to a college student).