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Brilliant Maps for Curious Minds: 100 New Ways to See the World

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A singular atlas of 100 infographic maps from thought-provoking to flat-out fun Publisher's note: Brilliant Maps for Curious Minds was published in the UK under the title Brilliant Maps. Which countries don’t have rivers? Which ones have North Korean embassies? Who drives on the “wrong” side of the road? How many national economies are bigger than California’s? And where A singular atlas of 100 infographic maps from thought-provoking to flat-out fun Publisher's note: Brilliant Maps for Curious Minds was published in the UK under the title Brilliant Maps. Which countries don’t have rivers? Which ones have North Korean embassies? Who drives on the “wrong” side of the road? How many national economies are bigger than California’s? And where can you still find lions in the wild? You’ll learn answers to these questions and many more in Brilliant Maps for Curious Minds. This one-of-a-kind atlas is packed with eye-opening analysis (Which nations have had female leaders?), whimsical insight (Where can’t you find a McDonald’s?), and surprising connections that illuminate the contours of culture, history, and politics. Each of these 100 maps will change the way you see the world—and your place in it.


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A singular atlas of 100 infographic maps from thought-provoking to flat-out fun Publisher's note: Brilliant Maps for Curious Minds was published in the UK under the title Brilliant Maps. Which countries don’t have rivers? Which ones have North Korean embassies? Who drives on the “wrong” side of the road? How many national economies are bigger than California’s? And where A singular atlas of 100 infographic maps from thought-provoking to flat-out fun Publisher's note: Brilliant Maps for Curious Minds was published in the UK under the title Brilliant Maps. Which countries don’t have rivers? Which ones have North Korean embassies? Who drives on the “wrong” side of the road? How many national economies are bigger than California’s? And where can you still find lions in the wild? You’ll learn answers to these questions and many more in Brilliant Maps for Curious Minds. This one-of-a-kind atlas is packed with eye-opening analysis (Which nations have had female leaders?), whimsical insight (Where can’t you find a McDonald’s?), and surprising connections that illuminate the contours of culture, history, and politics. Each of these 100 maps will change the way you see the world—and your place in it.

30 review for Brilliant Maps for Curious Minds: 100 New Ways to See the World

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sheri

    I enjoyed learning the answers to many of the minor and diverse questions I’ve had over the years. I may not especially need to know this information, but it’s stuff I’ve at least briefly wondered about -- things like who drives on the opposite side of the road or whether all roads really do lead to Rome. The visual presentation is great for absorbing the information at a glance but also allows for a more in-depth perusal if one is so inclined. If you’re the curious sort, then you’ll find this I enjoyed learning the answers to many of the minor and diverse questions I’ve had over the years. I may not especially need to know this information, but it’s stuff I’ve at least briefly wondered about -- things like who drives on the opposite side of the road or whether all roads really do lead to Rome. The visual presentation is great for absorbing the information at a glance but also allows for a more in-depth perusal if one is so inclined. If you’re the curious sort, then you’ll find this to be an interesting read that can be read as quickly or as slowly as you wish.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Joseph Spuckler

    Ian Wright presents many interesting looks at our world and culture in Brilliant Maps for Curious Minds. Maps are able to convey much more meaning in a smaller space than words. Our minds seem to grasp a map of the world and we recognize Canada, China, Japan, Brazil, Australia, Great Britain, Germany, and so on. That line drawing of political borders of the world contains much more information than what readily appears. We see the lines forming the border of France and think Paris, wine, Notre Ian Wright presents many interesting looks at our world and culture in Brilliant Maps for Curious Minds. Maps are able to convey much more meaning in a smaller space than words. Our minds seem to grasp a map of the world and we recognize Canada, China, Japan, Brazil, Australia, Great Britain, Germany, and so on. That line drawing of political borders of the world contains much more information than what readily appears. We see the lines forming the border of France and think Paris, wine, Notre Dame, Camus, Louis XIV, Napolean, and the Eiffel Tower. The simple line maps trigger shortcuts to information in our brains. When additional information is added to the map, it becomes much more. Listing the countries that have a population smaller than Greater Tokyo would fade from memory quickly, but seeing the countries shaded in on a map leaves a much stronger impression. A simple map explains the difference between England, Great Britain, and the United Kingdom more readily than words. Sometimes maps can mislead because a three-dimensional globe cannot be made two-dimensional without losing accuracy. A set of maps here show the real size of continents against their size in commonly used Mercator Projections. Greenland is nowhere near as large as it appears and Africa is much larger. All the landmass of the world can easily fit in the Pacific Ocean. The maps in this book explore many aspects from average female height in nations to which countries have relations with North Korea and Israel. There is also a map that displays the languages of India and the original plan for its partition. There are maps of trading partners and countries with a GPD greater than California. Wright presents an informative and entertaining look at the political, cultural, economic, and geographical aspects of our planet using only maps and legends. Available November 1, 2019

  3. 5 out of 5

    MissBecka

    I enjoyed a lot of what was in this book and found the various demographics fascinating. Learning new things is always fun! I do wish that the maps had been a bit more distinct in the presentation. Many of the pages had 3-4 versions of one colour when several completely different colours would have been much easier to absorb. Also I found it a bit annoying that the countries were not labelled on most of the pages. Slight inconvenience to have a second map up on google and flip between the two. I enjoyed a lot of what was in this book and found the various demographics fascinating. Learning new things is always fun! I do wish that the maps had been a bit more distinct in the presentation. Many of the pages had 3-4 versions of one colour when several completely different colours would have been much easier to absorb. Also I found it a bit annoying that the countries were not labelled on most of the pages. Slight inconvenience to have a second map up on google and flip between the two. Thank you NetGalley and The Experiment for my DRC.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jodi

    Maps have been a particular fascination of mine ever since I was a small child. It always amazed me to see all the places I could go. One of the highlights of my childhood was getting a librarian to help me look at the "big atlas", whose pages were literally almost as big as my 6-year-old self. So I was thrilled to receive an ARC of Ian Wright's Brilliant Maps for Curious Minds. Ian Wright created and maintains the website Brilliant Maps. This book is a collection of 100 of the most interesting Maps have been a particular fascination of mine ever since I was a small child. It always amazed me to see all the places I could go. One of the highlights of my childhood was getting a librarian to help me look at the "big atlas", whose pages were literally almost as big as my 6-year-old self. So I was thrilled to receive an ARC of Ian Wright's Brilliant Maps for Curious Minds. Ian Wright created and maintains the website Brilliant Maps. This book is a collection of 100 of the most interesting and educational. One of my favorites, "Map of the Entire Internet in December 1969", shows a map of the United States. The internet ranged from...UCLA to Utah. The maps are clear and brightly colored. The book is divided into chapters for easy reference. Chapters include: "People and Populations" (How the North American Population Fits into Europe); "Politics, Power, and Religion" (Birthplaces of Religious Leaders); "Culture and Customs" (Heavy Metal Bands per 100K People); "Friends and Enemies" (22 Countries the United Kingdom Has Not Invaded); "Geography" (World's Five Longest Domestic Nonstop Flights); "History" (If the Roman Empire Reunited , Using Modern Borders); "National Identity" (Countries Whose Flags Include Red and/or Blue); "Crime and Punishment" (Prison Population per 100K People); and "Nature" (Countries with the Most Venomous Animals). This book will be published in November. It would be a fantastic gift book for the winter holidays. It would also make a great coffee table book, bet settler, and conversation starter. ("Hey, did y'all know California, all by itself, is one of the world's biggest economies?"). Having access to maps on the internet is nice. But as the little girl I used to be knew, sometimes it's nice to look at them in a book. Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lauren Stoolfire

    I lobe books with maps and Brilliant Maps for Curious Minds is a book that's completely filled with maps. It's all about the maps. I enjoyed every second of pouring over them. Now if only they were bigger....

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kitty Verduin

    Brilliant maps for curious minds is a book that warms my big nerdy heart. Not only did I enjoy learning new facts about the world, the graphic side of this book is extremely appealing. Ian Wright succeeded in giving me a new perspective on items we tend to take for granted. On top of that, the author offered me food for thought and making me want to dive in some of the complex topics that he very nearly brought back to ‘just’ a map. I call that being talented and passionate. This book is highly Brilliant maps for curious minds is a book that warms my big nerdy heart. Not only did I enjoy learning new facts about the world, the graphic side of this book is extremely appealing. Ian Wright succeeded in giving me a new perspective on items we tend to take for granted. On top of that, the author offered me food for thought and making me want to dive in some of the complex topics that he very nearly brought back to ‘just’ a map. I call that being talented and passionate. This book is highly accessible, and perhaps even necessary on some issues/maps, for every type of reader. I do wish there was a bit more background on some of the maps, but hey, that’s just me being greedy. Overall, I think the title says it all.. Brilliant work that really satisfied my very curious mind! Special thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a free, electronic ARC of this novel received in exchange for an honest review.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Brittany Peterson

    This book is filled with so many fun and sometimes shocking stats. Although I wish there was more information given for some of the maps I couldn't quite understand, it was still a fun read! I learned things about the world that I hadn't ever considered before.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Alicia Bayer

    This was a fascinating and fun book that exceeded my expectations. While I expected some interesting little infographic types of maps like causes of death by country (none of those, surprisingly), there were so many really interesting maps that I never would have thought to look for. The world map of all the countries who have not been invaded by the United Kingdom was shockingly on point, while others were fascinating like seeing the map of what would be the Mongol empire with today's This was a fascinating and fun book that exceeded my expectations. While I expected some interesting little infographic types of maps like causes of death by country (none of those, surprisingly), there were so many really interesting maps that I never would have thought to look for. The world map of all the countries who have not been invaded by the United Kingdom was shockingly on point, while others were fascinating like seeing the map of what would be the Mongol empire with today's countries. You can see things like the death penalty, locations of McDonalds, states where Americans think global warming will affect them, average hours of sunlight, countries where people drive on the left or the right side of the world and on and on. The book is divided by themes like history, culture, geography and history. This would make a great gift, and I may give it to one of my kids or my husband this year. It would also be a great library pick for "strewing" and inspiring some great homeschool investigations. I read a temporary digital ARC of this book for the purpose of review.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kevidently

    As part of my ongoing new interest in geography, I am trying to start learning new things about maps, countries, and the world. The first snag I hit was reading this book: I am unfortunately colorblind, and I did not realize how big a stumbling block that was going to be. The information in this book is quite interesting, from Maps about which countries have the largest number of homicides, to historical data on where lions used to exist, to some really cool information about which countries are As part of my ongoing new interest in geography, I am trying to start learning new things about maps, countries, and the world. The first snag I hit was reading this book: I am unfortunately colorblind, and I did not realize how big a stumbling block that was going to be. The information in this book is quite interesting, from Maps about which countries have the largest number of homicides, to historical data on where lions used to exist, to some really cool information about which countries are friendly with which other countries. The problem I had with the book was my problem not the book’s problem. First off, I didn’t always know the countries that were singled out (although a map of the world in Mercator projection is included at the front of the book. This was helpful, but not as helpful as I wanted it to be.) The biggest issue, of course, was the fact that I couldn’t always match the key up with the map itself. If the colors were too close together, I couldn’t always tell which countries have the highest speed limits, say, or which countries had the most gold. There is one maddening map included about the winners of the Miss World pageant, and they are all shades of pink, and I couldn’t for the life of me figure out which shade was which. A lot of really interesting facts did come from the book, like how to differentiate between England, the UK, and Great Britain. But my take on studying geography using children’s books in the new year may help me out. A lot of books for younger readers tend to use brighter, more contrasting colors, Which should help me out. I remember listening to an interview with James Holzhauer, the Jeopardy! genius, in which he said that studying children’s books on facts helped him more than adult books. So I’m going to take that tactic into the new year.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    It's an interesting book, showing a number of interesting and surprising map-based statistics like who drives on which side of the road or what countries lost the most people in each world war or how much sunlight does each country get? A lot of good stuff. A pity it wasn't presented a bit better. The maps mostly come from a website Brillliant Maps that Ian Wright hosts and on a computer screen the maps are generally pretty clear and you can zoom in on many of them, but printed books are a It's an interesting book, showing a number of interesting and surprising map-based statistics like who drives on which side of the road or what countries lost the most people in each world war or how much sunlight does each country get? A lot of good stuff. A pity it wasn't presented a bit better. The maps mostly come from a website Brillliant Maps that Ian Wright hosts and on a computer screen the maps are generally pretty clear and you can zoom in on many of them, but printed books are a different beast. The way the book is bound generally means that for all the double-page world maps Eastern Europe, the Middle East and a goodly amount of Africa disappear into the binding. Also, the color choices for the maps are generally not great for printing, lots of low contrast data elements makes it very hard to distinguish one datum from another. I can see the appeal of wanting a gradient of colors from low to high or good to bad or just to x to y, but when the interesting bits the are the differences at the extreme ends like which countries lost more people in WWI 5-10% or >10% and the difference in the printed colors is nearly indistinguishable it's a bit frustrating and without pulling out a magnifying glass, it's really hard to tell the differences for small countries. If you are color blind, I would think a lot of the maps will probably be incomprehensible. It doesn't seem like any attempt was made to adjust the map colors for printing.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Katie Mac

    I put this on hold a while back and promptly forgot about it, so it was a nice surprise to see it on the hold shelf yesterday! As someone who loves and appreciates data visualization, this was a real treat. It's one of the rare books I may purchase for myself. (It's a great little collection of factoids with which you can impress your guests.)

  12. 5 out of 5

    Katra

    Some of these maps may bother you. Some may make you giggle. All of them will make you want "just one more." I hope there's a sequel in the works!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jeanjean

    Fascinating and thought provoking

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jeimy

    Fascinating and diverse; this book will appeal not just to people who enjoy geography, but also people who enjoy trivia. I am a visual learner and I was riveted by every page.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Robin

    Would have been a whole lot better if the book would lay flat, allowing readers to see eastern Europe and the Middle East Would have been a whole lot better if the book would lay flat, allowing readers to see eastern Europe and the Middle East 🤨

  16. 5 out of 5

    Adam

    This is a great wee gem to dip into every time you sit at your coffee table. You can easily lose yourself in the colourful and engaging infographics, especially if you're anything like me and want to go and find out precisely why we all have different plug sockets, days for elections, ways of saying "football" and just how ridiculously long Chile is! Some of the maps in the book are wacky, some are alarming, some are sobering; all are striking and thought-provoking. A very minor quibble, if I'm This is a great wee gem to dip into every time you sit at your coffee table. You can easily lose yourself in the colourful and engaging infographics, especially if you're anything like me and want to go and find out precisely why we all have different plug sockets, days for elections, ways of saying "football" and just how ridiculously long Chile is! Some of the maps in the book are wacky, some are alarming, some are sobering; all are striking and thought-provoking. A very minor quibble, if I'm being pressed, is that a couple of the graphics can be hard to read (at least without a magnifying glass) due to the particular colour shade or design. The 'most recurring word on each country's English wikipedia page' map was an enjoyable diversion, and those for 'largest source of imports and exports by country', 'highest-valued export' and 'countries with economies larger than California's' (SPOILER: 3, excluding the US!) were especially interesting to a Brit in these days of Brexit-related trade headlines and deadlines.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly Tierney

    This book is a really interesting and valuable resource. Ian Wright has broken down maps of the world with different informational statistics on each one. These statistics range from women leaders to strongest growing religions. My favorite is the first few maps showing the population size comparisons with European countries and the United States. The perspective given on global issues that you find in these maps is astounding. I am appreciative of Ian Wright's work in compiling all of this This book is a really interesting and valuable resource. Ian Wright has broken down maps of the world with different informational statistics on each one. These statistics range from women leaders to strongest growing religions. My favorite is the first few maps showing the population size comparisons with European countries and the United States. The perspective given on global issues that you find in these maps is astounding. I am appreciative of Ian Wright's work in compiling all of this information and putting it out there for the rest of us in a fun to look at book. I will absolutely be returning to this book for information and reference.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Queen Cronut

    Brilliant Maps for Curious Minds captures the idea of "a picture is worth a million words" through cartography. This book certainly gives the reader new ways to see the world through maps which provide clever commentary and presenting interesting trivia tidbits. Wright incorporates religion, politics, environmental science, culture, and demographics into these maps and uses this knowledge to show a unique, thought-provoking perspective of the world. These maps were colorful and easily accessible Brilliant Maps for Curious Minds captures the idea of "a picture is worth a million words" through cartography. This book certainly gives the reader new ways to see the world through maps which provide clever commentary and presenting interesting trivia tidbits. Wright incorporates religion, politics, environmental science, culture, and demographics into these maps and uses this knowledge to show a unique, thought-provoking perspective of the world. These maps were colorful and easily accessible that appeals to a large range of readers. I wish there was a bit more background information on some of the maps or a further explanation on the topic, however, this was a fun and enjoyable read, perfect for curious minds. *Thank you to NetGalley and The Experiment publishers for providing a free ARC

  19. 5 out of 5

    Alicia

    What a fascinating set of maps-- yes, 100 maps published in a book format, though he publishes many more online that give you pause and allow you to think more deeply about our world-- and it might inspire kids to also think of ways to share information themselves using infographics that have sort of hit some stasis in interest. But I think there's so much that social studies classes and even humanities courses can pull from whether it's understanding language, population, or religion but also What a fascinating set of maps-- yes, 100 maps published in a book format, though he publishes many more online that give you pause and allow you to think more deeply about our world-- and it might inspire kids to also think of ways to share information themselves using infographics that have sort of hit some stasis in interest. But I think there's so much that social studies classes and even humanities courses can pull from whether it's understanding language, population, or religion but also technology and animals. The brightly colored book is a cool one to flip through or dive deep into though for some of them, even the differentiation in color wasn't as differentiated as I would have liked.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Juli

    Yep I know nothing about the world, and learning more with amazing maps is fascinating.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    Thought-provoking and fascinating. There are several maps here I am planning on using in my Spanish classroom.

  22. 4 out of 5

    wildct2003

    Interesting

  23. 5 out of 5

    Brian

    Brilliant!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Bea Elwood

    What a fun way to learn about the world and jump start some discussions and explorations!

  25. 5 out of 5

    DeAnne

    I had to stop myself from reading little facts off of every single page to the people in the room with me.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Erikka

    This is freaking awesome! I'm going to go visit the website to see more of these creative and informative maps. As a former history teacher, I adore a good map. This book aims to please with creative color distributions that illustrate unusual pieces of data beautifully. I know a book of maps sounds dull as hell. I promise you, it is anything but. I did take a star off bc some of the colors are really hard to differentiate and I hated that some info was left to the center gutter, but honestly, This is freaking awesome! I'm going to go visit the website to see more of these creative and informative maps. As a former history teacher, I adore a good map. This book aims to please with creative color distributions that illustrate unusual pieces of data beautifully. I know a book of maps sounds dull as hell. I promise you, it is anything but. I did take a star off bc some of the colors are really hard to differentiate and I hated that some info was left to the center gutter, but honestly, it wasn't that bad.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Laurie

    Super interesting!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Morris

    This is a book filled with different maps featuring a wide range of subjects. Some of them are straight up-fun, but many truly made me reconsider how I'm seeing the world. It's perfect for any connoisseur of trivia and facts. This review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Deborah Robson

    This is a very cool book that I liked a lot. It has maps that look at the world from all sorts of idiosyncratic, interesting angles. It's aesthetically pleasing--developed from a website, but the maps in the print edition have all been reconstructed with a consistent graphic style. Why four stars instead of five? It should have been produced with a layflat binding! You can't see the bits of many maps that are stuck in the gutter. That often means western Europe is in the binding--and it's a This is a very cool book that I liked a lot. It has maps that look at the world from all sorts of idiosyncratic, interesting angles. It's aesthetically pleasing--developed from a website, but the maps in the print edition have all been reconstructed with a consistent graphic style. Why four stars instead of five? It should have been produced with a layflat binding! You can't see the bits of many maps that are stuck in the gutter. That often means western Europe is in the binding--and it's a complex area for which one would like to see the details. One other slight issue is that some of the maps have complex color keys and it can be difficult to distinguish between some of the colors. Here are some of my favorite maps: World Mercator projection with true country size added World plug and socket map When Great Britain was connected to continental Europe (a/k/a Doggerland) If European borders were drawn by DNA instead of ethnicity Some of the maps are just intriguing. Some are alarming. The book led me, happily, to the website from which it originated, where there are more maps, many of them taking advantage of web functions to show movement.

  30. 4 out of 5

    H

    Did this book live up to its title? Are the maps brillant? They are fun and entertaining-a new way to see the world through the lens of an infographic map. The only complaint-when the map spans both pages some of the world (around the middle of the Atlantic Ocean) is lost in the binding.

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