Jay Ingram, 1989
Viking / Penguin, Markham Ontario
This is a quick read I picked up from a used-book store in Vancouver. Each chapter is a short description of some every-day type of phenomenon and some scientific studies related to that phenomenon. It's a popular-science book, written in a clear, if a little too 'popular' and not enough 'science' style.
I'm not going to talk too much about this book, because it's really not that exciting. The knowledge presented is interesting, but much of it is frustrating in its presentation. The back of the book says "Have you ever wondered..." followed by several topics of chapters as questions. The problem here is that most of these questions are not really answered in the book. Some are answered as "here's a pretty good explanatory hypothesis that's survived some testing", which is an honest account of how science answers such questions, at least. Others, however, are not really addressed in the book. For example, the question on the back cover "Have you ever wondered...why yawning is contagious?" is not at all answered. Yawns are described, some of the research of the previous century on yawns is discussed, but the question of contagious yawning is never actually addressed directly. Most of the chapters are simply descriptions of current problems in scientific research, without a good presentation of major findings, or why I should care about this research question beyond a general-curiosity-about-everyday-life kind of view.
I couldn't find a picture of this book on-line, so I whipped out the camera phone and snapped the above. I did find that you can buy this book for $0.01 through amazon.ca. I got it for $2.99; it was worth about that.