About the author: R. Breuer Stearns is an investor and author. Shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Mr. Stearns launched a private investment bank in the former Soviet Union. He spent the early 1990’s seeking to marry emerging science, primarily emanating from Russia’s Defense sector, with Western capital. During this period, Mr. Stearns made a small fortune, albeit from a larger one. The venture provided a remarkable lesson in hubris, a tremendous reservoir of internal strength, and first-hand source material for Mr. Stearns’ first book, Winning Smart After Losing Big (Encounter Books, Beijing University Press). Mr. Stearns is a Founder of VestaPoint Capital LLC, a family of investment funds focused on real estate development. He lives in Arizona with his wife, two dogs, two cats, and a horse. He travels extensively and is intensely curious.
About the book: The Question invites readers to consider this premise: If you could have the answer to one question, and only one question, what would you ask… and who would try to stop you from asking it? To what extremes would they go? The Question is a thriller that explores a new way of thinking, a method powerful enough to answer very complex questions.. perhaps powerful enough to solve the universe’s most fundamental mysteries… perhaps powerful enough to resolve religions’ most beguiling unknowns. The Question is an adventure story… fiction that you may wish, may believe, may know, is true. The narrative occurs in the present, with scenes in California, Washington, D.C., Paris, Shanghai, New York, and Afghanistan. The Question is ideal reading for anyone who is curious . . . for those who gaze into the cosmos at night and wonder . . . for those who look into the mirror and imagine . . . for those whose hearts beat faster when confronting the unknown . . . for readers who enjoy a fast paced, contemporary thriller that inspires them to think.
Book Review: The idea behind the book is very interesting, to say the least, and long-term readers of my blog are probably not surprised that I picked this one up. There is something very intriguing about the new form of (fictional) group thinking explored in this book called Unity, in which people think at the same in silence about the same complex question and see the answer simultaneously in their minds. However, for a book that’s supposed to make a reader think, it doesn’t really explore much in terms of for example what other questions might be considered for the Unity project. There are also a lot of questions on how to achieve Unity that are altogether skipped. I mean, we live in a world that is breaking apart because we are unable to achieve unity, and we are meant to believe that we can easily achieve it in order to answer some of life’s biggest questions? It’s, dare I say, insulting to the very concept of unity.
As a thriller, The Question only delivers part of its promise. The beginning is very slow; it’s not even that it is a slow, deliberate novel meant to be enjoyed slowly. Rather, it felt like the first half was an obstacle course that readers had to sometimes get through while running in mud. The pace is bogged down by the sheer amount of information poured on the reader, a big portion of which we don’t really need to know or that could have been shared more wisely. There is also a need for some more editing and formatting work.
This book has a lot of potential but most opportunities to delve into life-altering and soul-stirring conversations are skimmed over. It’s supposedly made to make you think, but the way it’s presented it doesn’t seem to create a forum for thoughtful analysis. I would love to revisit a thoroughly edited version of The Question because I feel a book that challenges readers to think deeply about the concept of unity as a means to answers life’s toughest questions could make an important contribution to the betterment of the world.
Add to Book List? Maybe.