William Poundstone is an American author, columnist, and skeptic. He has written a number of books including the Big Secrets series and a biography of Carl Sagan. He is a cousin of comedian Paula Poundstone.

An enthusiast of Harry Stephen Keeler, he maintains the Keeler homepage and contributed to the anthology A to Izzard: A Harry Stephen Keeler Companion (2002).

Poundstone attended MIT and studied physics.[1]


  • Big Secrets: The Uncensored Truth About All Sorts of Stuff You Are Never Supposed to Know. 1983. 
  • The Recursive Universe: Cosmic Complexity and the Limits of Scientific Knowledge. 1984. ISBN 978-0809252022. 
  • Bigger Secrets: More Than 125 Things They Prayed You'd Never Find Out. 1986. 
  • Labyrinths of Reason: Paradox, Puzzles, and the Frailty of Knowledge. 1988. 
  • The Ultimate: The Great Armchair Debates Settled Once and for All. 1990. 
  • Prisoner's Dilemma: John von Neumann, Game Theory, and the Puzzle of the Bomb. 1992. ISBN 978-0385415804. 
  • Biggest Secrets: More Uncensored Truth About All Sorts of Stuff You Are Never Supposed to Know. 1993. 
  • Carl Sagan: A Life in the Cosmos. 1999. 
  • The Big Book of Big Secrets. 2001.  reprints Big Secrets and Biggest Secrets
  • How Would You Move Mount Fuji? : Microsoft's Cult of the Puzzle—How the World's Smartest Companies Select the Most Creative Thinkers. 2003. 
  • Fortune's Formula: The Untold Story of the Scientific Betting System That Beat the Casinos and Wall Street. 2005. ISBN 978-0809045990. 
  • Gaming the Vote: Why Elections Aren't Fair (and What We Can Do About It). 2008. 
  • Priceless: The Myth of Fair Value (and How to Take Advantage of It). 2010. 
  • Are You Smart Enough to Work at Google?. 2011. 
  • Rock Breaks Scissors: A Practical Guide to Outguessing and Outwitting Almost Everybody. 2014. ISBN 978-0316228060. 
  • Head in the Cloud: Why Knowing Things Still Matters When Facts Are So Easy to Look Up. 2016. ISBN 978-0316256544. 

External links


  1. ^ "Once a physicist: William Poundstone". Institute of Physics. November 2012.