Well, it is officially the one year anniversary of my book, The Curiosity Manifesto. I’m extremely grateful for everyone who purchased it, read it, and talked about it. While everyone who writes a book wants it to be successful, I have from the very beginning been less concerned about how many people buy the book than I am about how many people buy into the ideas behind it. I honestly believe adopting a curious mindset can make all of our lives more fulfilling and the world a better place.
In keeping with this belief, I’ve decided now to give away the book for free. I tried releasing a Kindle version last year but, due to my technological ineptitude, completely botched it. So, here’s a PDF of the entire book. Of course, if you want a physical copy, you can still buy it on Amazon.com. But I want as many people as possible to read it. So please, download it, read it, and share it with your friends.
How Curiosity Has Changed Me
Writing my manifesto was a form of therapy. While it is positioned as a call to action for whoever might read it, it was really me coming to terms with a shift that had taken place in me just before I wrote it. I had just undergone an experience that greatly humbled me and made me realize that I had so much more to learn. In writing my book, I was the proverbial physician healing myself.
At its core, the most profound benefit I’ve gained from attempting to live the curious life is a renewed sense of humility. People don’t often connect these two concepts, but the relationship between curiosity and humility has become increasingly more poignant for me. Because of my curious approach to new information, I no longer think I have all the answers, I’m more willing to listen to what others have to say, and I embrace being wrong as an opportunity to improve myself. In short, I’ve come to believe that I have nothing to teach and everything to learn.
How Curiosity Can Change the World
I believe that the world’s deepest problems stem from a lack of curiosity among those involved in the issue. For example, the radical religious groups of the Middle East don’t care about what others believe or why they believe what they do. They assume they have the answers and that all others must be mistaken. They have no shortage of conviction, but they lack curiosity. And that’s what makes them so dangerous.
I heard a story on the radio recently about a congressman who has established a regular luncheon between the Democrats and Republicans of congress. At these meetings, members can sit wherever they want just as long as they are eating with someone of the opposite party. What a brilliant move! When we stop trying to defeat one another and instead begin trying to understand one another, we’ll achieve much more progress. That’s curiosity.
People often think of curiosity in its intellectual context. People who are curious read books, watch documentaries, and like to learn new things about the world. While I think that’s part of it (and it certainly describes me), that’s not the most important aspect of curiosity. The most critical component of curiosity is open-mindedness. The curious mind is an open mind. This posture of seeking to understand rather than to persuade makes communication, cooperation, and collaboration possible. We can’t all move forward unless we’re moving together. And that starts with listening. That starts with understanding one another’s values. That starts with living the curious life.
Change yourself. Change the world. Stay Curious.