John Puffer

“I have now read How To Understand Everything three times. Not only is it important, in my opinion it should be essential reading for everyone teenaged and up, in every country in the world. “Consilience” needs to be taught in schools—all schools—because it’s universally ground breaking—at least according to my knowledge and continuing education over a few decades.

“Sincerely, I believe this is the most sophisticated, eloquent, exciting, mind-expanding non-fiction book I’ve ever read! It’s certainly the best researched.

“How it simplifies the complex, engages the reader to keep reading by making every chapter poignant and interesting—even fun—and builds a solid case, progressing sentence by sentence, toward the ultimate, irrefutably unchallengeable conclusion is mind-blowing.”

John Puffer, screenwriter and lifelong learner

I sent John a draft manuscript early in September and three days later he replied with a list of corrections and edits. His wife Cathy described how at breakfast every day John would discuss his exploration of each chapter and investigations into subjects “he had never heard of.”

The suggestions kept coming and John, with remarkable sensitivity, rewrote a number of the book’s key paragraphs.

After reading through an updated manuscript he wrote, “Seriously, Tom, this… to call it a book would be an injustice… this chart to help the people of the world navigate the frothy seas of human life (speaking of metaphors) should be taught in every school, everywhere. Right after the typos have been rectified, of course.”

The concept of consilience recognizes that every individual is different and our perceptions are molded by a lifetime of experiences. I have noted, with satisfaction, how the book strikes readers in markedly different ways.

John used it as a mini-university course in a new discipline of consilience that that should taught “everywhere.” I certainly never entertained that goal when I began writing the book, nonetheless I have been gratified that a number of educators have responded positively to my ideas.

For instance, Steve Pulver, a lecturer at the Schulich School of Business remarked that the chapter on education “is excellent and it captures what I try to do with my students in a way I have been unable to articulate. In the first hour of the fist class, I talk about how knowledge is no longer power… knowledge is now the price of entry and that success will be based on how you assemble that knowledge, since virtually everyone has access to the same information… Your example of Professor Skills vs Professor Facts is a much better way to tell the story. As a side note, I dont give exams. My assignments tend to ask students to think nonlinearly to solve problems and the results tend to be bimodal.”

I first met Steve in 1994 when we were both working on the Kokanee brand under the skilled oversight of Michael Rapino, who is now CEO and President at Live Nation Entertainment. I was impressed by Steve’s storytelling capabilities and quick wit that he had honed as a standup comic. His students are clearly benefiting from his skills as evidenced on Rate My Professor where his score is “awesome” with comments such as, “an amazing lecturer and offers unique industry insight.”