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Writing ‘Scary Smart’ Book Summaries with Perplexity AI 

Perplexity AI is an AI-powered search engine and chatbot.

One of its many applications is its ability to provide instant summaries of books.

Read on to learn how to generate book summaries using Perplexity AI, and view an example book summary for the book I’m currently “reading“, the highly recommended ‘Scary Smart’ by Mo Gawdat.

How to generate a book summary with AI

To generate a book summary using Perplexity AI, navigate to their website or use the mobile app (available on Apple or Android).

Perplexity is free, with additional functionality available via paid plans.

Perplexity home page

Once you’re signed up and logged in, type a prompt (i.e., instructional command) into the search box. Your prompt might look something like, Write a summary of the book ‘Scary Smart’ by Mo Gawdat.

Then click the blue circle containing the forward arrow.

Perplexity AI will then scour the internet to provide you with a summary of the book, along with cited sources.

In-text, sources are indicated by a number in square brackets (e.g., ‘[1]’), with all sources provided at the end of the AI-generated output.

Perplexity hooks into the internet to locate sources and generate outputs. This means, at least in theory, its outputs are not subject to one of the major flaws we’ve all likely experienced when using ChatGPT – ‘hallucinations’ aka confidently communicating fiction as fact.

Because I’m using Perplexity’s Copilot feature, after requesting a book summary of Scary Smart, Perplexity provided a follow-up search box that allowed for further clarification of my initial query. In this instance, it asked me what it should focus on when generating the book summary. I requested ‘key themes’, ‘key insights’, and ‘key implications for the future’. But I could have clicked ‘Skip’ to instead let Perplexity decide what it should focus on.  

Read the book summary generated by Perplexity below.

Perplexity Book Summary: ‘Scary Smart’ by Mo Gawdat

Scary Smart is a book by Mo Gawdat that explores the future of artificial intelligence (AI) and its potential impact on humanity. Gawdat is an engineer, business leader, and former Chief Business Officer at Google X, and he combines his technological expertise and personal philosophies to present a futuristic yet grounded perspective on the topic.

Key Themes

One of the main themes of Scary Smart is the need for AI. Gawdat argues that AI has the potential to solve some of the world’s biggest problems, such as climate change, poverty, and disease. By leveraging AI, we can develop better solutions to these problems and create a better world for ourselves and future generations. Gawdat believes that, if used correctly, AI can be a force for good.

However, Gawdat also acknowledges the risks that come with this technology. He likens the rapid advancement of AI to a genie being let out of a bottle; once it is unleashed, there is no going back. One primary concern he discusses is AI outsmarting human intelligence. He cautions readers about its potential dangers and urges us to be mindful of the risks associated with AI.

Key Insights

Gawdat begins by explaining what AI is and how it learns. He underscores that AI’s learning process mimics the human method of learning through experience and repetition. AI is fed vast amounts of data, which it processes to identify patterns, make predictions, and improve its decision-making skills. This process, known as machine learning, allows AI to become increasingly ‘smarter’ over time[4].

Gawdat also discusses the power of AI and how it can be used to solve some of the world’s biggest problems. He believes that AI can help us develop better solutions to issues such as climate change, poverty, and disease. However, he also acknowledges the risks associated with AI and urges us to be mindful of these risks.

Key Implications for the Future

Scary Smart offers a balanced view of the potential of AI. Gawdat acknowledges the risks that come with this technology, but he also highlights the opportunities that it presents. He believes that we can use AI to create a better world for ourselves and future generations, but we must be mindful of the risks associated with it.

Gawdat also emphasizes the importance of human connection and empathy in a world of increasing automation. He believes that, as AI becomes more prevalent, the value of human connection and empathy becomes more crucial than ever.

Overall, Scary Smart is a thought-provoking and insightful book that challenges readers to contemplate the role of technology in shaping our collective future. It offers a balanced perspective on the potential of AI and the risks associated with it, and it urges us to be mindful of these risks as we move forward into an increasingly automated world.


[1] https://www.amazon.com/Scary-Smart-Future-Artificial-Intelligence/dp/1529077621

[2] https://www.matthewvere.com/notes/scary-smart

[3] https://medium.com/@Reviewbooks/decoding-scary-smart-the-future-of-artificial-intelligence-and-how-you-can-save-our-world-by-mo-e1bb61a95698

[4] https://medium.com/@Reviewbooks/decoding-scary-smart-the-future-of-artificial-intelligence-and-how-you-can-save-our-world-by-mo-e1bb61a95698?source=tag_page———39-84——————–edaaef1b_141a_4231_80c4_8bc5ce2390db——-17

[5] https://iamjesushusbands.medium.com/the-future-of-ai-insights-from-scary-smart-by-mo-gawdat-800dfaad3033?source=rss——future-5

[6] https://wellnessforce.com/mo-gawdat-scary-smart/

[7] https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/scary-smart-mo-gawdat/1140212483

[8] https://www.mogawdat.com/scary-smart

[9] https://www.linkedin.com/posts/chrisnewlyn_book-review-scary-smart-by-mo-gawdat-activity-7074343949770838016-W0HV

[10] https://youtube.com/watch?v=YWmfGHCt63E

[11] https://www.goodreads.com/en/book/show/58690362

[12] https://thoughteconomics.com/mo-gawdat/

[13] https://www.scribd.com/book/577372936/Summary-of-Mo-Gawdat-s-Scary-Smart

[14] https://www.walkerdunlop.com/insights/2022/04/27/scary-smart-former-google-x-exec-mo-gawdat-artificial-intelligence-and-our-changing-world/

[15] https://bjornsbooklab.com/scary-smart-by-mo-gawdat-quick-book-review/


Learn more about Perplexity AI

Learn more about Perplexity and its Copilot feature by viewing the YouTube video below.


Scary Smart: The Future of Artificial Intelligence and How You Can Save Our World

“Scary Smart” by Mo Gawdat is a book that explores the potential dangers and risks associated with the rise of artificial intelligence (AI). Gawdat, a former Chief Business Officer at Google X and bestselling author of “Solve for Happy,” draws on his 30-year career in tech to provide an accessible blueprint for creating a harmonious future alongside AI.

🔗 Check out the book on Amazon.

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