Puzzles may seem like fairly pedestrian pastimes — fun ways to while away a rainy afternoon. And while they certainly do make for satisfying diversions, my guest would say they’re also more than that, and can teach us plenty about life as well.

His name is A.J. Jacobs, and he’s the author of The Puzzler: One Man’s Quest to Solve the Most Baffling Puzzles Ever, from Crosswords to Jigsaws to the Meaning of Life. Today on the show, A.J. explains what makes a puzzle a puzzle, and why we’re drawn to them and enjoy them so much. We then discuss the charm of certain puzzles, from crosswords and Rubik’s Cubes, to jigsaws and mazes. Along the way, we discuss some of the strategies behind solving these puzzles, and how these strategies can help you become an all-around better thinker and decision maker, and better at navigating the puzzling dilemmas of life itself.

Resources Related to the Podcast

A.J.’s previous appearance on the podcast — Episode #53: Experimenting With Your LifeMaki Kaji — the father of SudokuAoM Article: The Best Riddles for KidsA.J.’s wife’s scavenger hunt company, Watson AdventuresWordplayThe Great Vermont Corn MazeTanya Khovanova’s Math BlogKryptos — art sculpture with encrypted code on the grounds of the CIAApopheniaSunday Firesides: Take It Bird by Bird

Connect With A.J. Jacobs

A.J.’s WebsiteA.J. on Twitter

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The post Podcast #809: Why We Like Puzzles, and What We Get From Them appeared first on The Art of Manliness.

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