IN STORE: Simon Winchester, author of Knowing What We Know

Parnassus Books is pleased to welcome Simon Winchester to celebrate his new book, Knowing What We Know: The Transmission of Knowledge: From Ancient Wisdom to Modern Magic.

This is a free event which will take place IN STORE on Monday, May 1st at 6:30pm Central Time. Because space will be limited, registration is required to attend this event. Please register for free by filling out the form below! (Note: If for any reason you need to cancel your registration, please call the store at 615-953-2243 at least 24 hours before the event so your space can be provided to another guest.) Masks are strongly encouraged during this event.

About the Book

From the creation of the first encyclopedia to Wikipedia, from ancient museums to modern kindergarten classes--this is award winning writer Simon Winchester's brilliant and all-encompassing look at how humans acquire, retain, and pass on information and data, and how technology continues to change our lives and our minds.

With the advent of the internet, any topic we want to know about is instantly available with the touch of a smartphone button. With so much knowledge at our fingertips, what is there left for our brains to do? At a time when we seem to be stripping all value from the idea of knowing things--no need for math, no need for map-reading, no need for memorization--are we risking our ability to think? As we empty our minds, will we one day be incapable of thoughtfulness?

Addressing these questions, Simon Winchester explores how humans have attained, stored, and disseminated knowledge. Examining such disciplines as education, journalism, encyclopedia creation, museum curation, photography, and broadcasting, he looks at a whole range of knowledge diffusion--from the cuneiform writings of Babylon to the machine-made genius of artificial intelligence, by way of Gutenberg, Google, and Wikipedia to the huge Victorian assemblage of the Mundanaeum, the collection of everything ever known, currently stored in a damp basement in northern Belgium.

Studded with strange and fascinating details, Knowing What We Know is a deep dive into learning and the human mind. Throughout this fascinating tour, Winchester forces us to ponder what rational humans are becoming. What good is all this knowledge if it leads to lack of thought? What is information without wisdom? Does Rene Descartes's Cogito, ergo sum--"I think therefore I am," the foundation for human knowledge widely accepted since the Enlightenment--still hold?

And what will the world be like if no one in it is wise?

About the Author

Simon Winchester is the acclaimed author of many books, including The Professor and the MadmanThe Men Who United the States, The Map That Changed the World, The Man Who Loved China, A Crack in the Edge of the World, and Land, all of which were New York Times bestsellers and appeared on numerous best and notable lists. In 2006, Winchester was made an officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) by Her Majesty the Queen. He resides in western Massachusetts.

Event date: 
Monday, May 1, 2023 - 6:30pm
Event address: 
Parnassus Books
3900 Hillsboro Pike Suite 14
Nashville, TN 37215
Knowing What We Know: The Transmission of Knowledge: From Ancient Wisdom to Modern Magic By Simon Winchester Cover Image
ISBN: 9780063142886
Availability: Special Order - Usually Arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper - April 25th, 2023