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Joined-Up Thinking by Stevyn Colgan

01/10/2009. Contributed by Geoff Willmetts

Buy Joined-Up Thinking in the USA - or Buy Joined-Up Thinking in the UK

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pub: Pan Macmillan. 250 page small enlarged indexed paperback. Price: 7.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-0-330-46415-4).

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People who know me are aware of a particular knack I have of being able to jump across subjects and back without loosing a heartbeat. Stevyn Colgan's book, 'Joined-Up Thinking', is a variation on this which I could well see being turned into a pub quiz or even a TV show. The latter could be even more of a possibility as Colgan has connections to the 'QI' BBC TV show.

What you do is start off with giving some interesting facts about a subject which dove-tails off with a side-note into another subject and so on until it daisychains backs to the original subject in six moves that you started with. Colgan compares the technique to that of the number of people between you and someone famous but this looks a lot more insidious than that.

The book has thirty chapters but I wouldn't recommend reading more than a couple at a time simply to enable you to absorb the information that is given. As some of it relates to Science Fiction, there's an extra incentive to have a peep.

Oddly, of all the information given in this book, there are only three points I would contend are wrong, two of which are SF related. Prince Charles is said that when he becomes rises in rank has said he will become King George not keep his current name, so he wouldn't be the only one who name was formerly Prince. Taylor's spaceship in the original 'Planet Of The Apes' films wasn't called anything as the Icarus was a fan-given label. The real name given for Brains from 'Thunderbirds' in the original TV series was Hiram H. Hackenbacker not the one that was used in that live film a couple years ago. Considering how much information the book carries that is right, then its insignificant overall. Certainly, you're going to walk away from this book knowing a lot more than when you started and would probably make a useful book to browse while travelling let alone trying out for yourself which brings us back to the potential for making this a game for all the family to try. Hmmm...I've daisychained in two moves for some reason there. Let's call that a space problem.

Anyway, this is a review of the book not an attempt to emulate it although I would encourage you to try because it would certainly be better than playing 'I Spy' even if you'll need someone acting as a referee to ensure the information you raise is accurate. It will certainly be good for your memory and ability to toss about the facts you've absorbed.

GF Willmetts

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This book has 448 votes in the sci-fi charts

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