An interesting thought collage with a misleading title. The subtitle comes closer to capturing the contents: a collection of essays from a diverse group of thinkers responding to the question, What is your favorite deep, beautiful, or elegant explanation? From the preface:
"The contributions presented here embrace scientific thinking in the broadest sense: as the most reliable way of gaining knowledge about anything--including such fields of inquiry as philosophy, mathematics, economics, history, language, and human behavior. The common thread is that a simple and nonobvious idea is proposed as the explanation for a diverse and complicated set of phenomena."
The resulting compilation makes for a fascinating mix--while all were potentially enlightening, I only found half truly engaging and a handful really entertaining--what I found most valuable was the landscape of ideas created, giving insight into the perspectives of the scholarly community. Some of the explanations--like evolution by natural selection--are well-known and get mentioned many times, while others are specific or esoteric or recent. As would be expected, the ones in my areas of interest were the most interesting to me, but all contributed to making a whole that was greater for the sum of its parts.
Perhaps most valuable was the introduction the book provided to a wealth of different thinkers. I've already investigated a good number because I wanted to know more about who they are, where they are coming from, and what they have done, and I was intrigued enough by a few that I'm planning on reading their books and other works.