Former St. Louisan’s ‘Invisible Gorilla’; NA’AMAT USA

Columnist Lois Caplan


“THE INVISIBLE GORILLA and Other Ways Our Institutions Deceive Us” (Crown Publishers, $27) is the intriguing title of a hot-off-the-press book by former St. Louisan Daniel Simons and Christopher Chabris. Both college professors, they shared the 2004 Ig Nobel Prize in Psychology for “achievements that first make people laugh, and then make them think.” Creators of one of psychology’s most famous experiments, “The Invisible Gorilla,” shows that snap judgments can get us into a whole lot of trouble and that we’re apt to miss the unexpected. Chapter One begins with that story and the big stir it caused. The authors start each chapter with an interesting, provocative real life incident, which serves to illustrate their point and as the basis for the following discussion. 

Dan Simons, now 41, is the son of Pat and Dr. Paul Simons; she is the patron saint of Ready Readers and he a pediatrician specializing in neurological disorders. A Ladue student who graduated from Ladue Horton Watkins High School, Dan received his doctorate from Cornell University. He is now a psychology professor at the University of Illinois and a leading researcher on visual cognition.

At 7 p.m. June 23 at Left Bank Books in the Central West End, Dan will have a book signing where all you former classmates can visit with him and catch up about his wife and two kids as well as his career.

If your radio were tuned to NPR’s “Talk of the Nation” recently, you would have heard him interviewed about “The Invisible Gorilla.”

EVERY YEAR AT THIS TIME, NA’AMAT USA plucks at my heartstrings with its Spiritual Adoption campaign. The mission of this women’s organization is to rescue Israel’s children of poverty from families in distressed situations, youngsters who have experienced abuse, neglect, malnourishment or abandonment. Through this program, NA’AMAT takes these children and provides a loving and caring environment in their facilities for them. When I send my annual check for Spiritual Adoption I feel that I am contributing to a decent future for them as well as for Israel. To do your part, send your check to NA’AMAT USA, St. Louis Council, 9369 Olive Blvd., #15, St. Louis MO, 63132 or call 314-993-3033.

JOANNE KOHN keeps me updated on the Frank Lloyd Wright House in Ebsworth Park that she helped rescue and develop into one of our area’s most important architectural sites. On June 6 there will be a tour and party honoring the late William Adair Bernudy, an apprentice of Frank Lloyd Wright whose homes reflect the best of his master. Guests are instructed to park at Ladue Middle School, 9701 Conway Road, and board one of 25 busses that will take them to four nearby Bernudy designed houses. Following the tour at 3 p.m. there will be a party (same bus) at the Bry House designed by Bernudy in 1964 for the Irwin Brys. One of the features of the event is the auction of a week’s stay in Taratola at the only home Bernudy designed outside the United States. All of this is a fundraiser for the maintenance of the Wright House in Ebsworth Park.

For more information or to make your reservation call 314-822-8359 or visit [email protected].

NANCY WEIGLEY, chair of this year’s St. Louis Senior Olympics from May 27 to the 31, says she is in need of volunteers to help at 85 events taking place at 15 venues, which range from Blueberry Hill in the Delmar Loop to Tony Glavin Soccer Complex in St. Peters. There will be the usual events like Badminton, basketball, swimming and weightlifting and the unusual like art competition and tap dance. To volunteer your services contact Martha Borges at 314-442-3217 or on line at To learn more about this year’s St. Louis Senior Olympics, see the Light’s coverage on pages 15 to 19.

TRASH OR TREASURE? On Saturday June 26 at Congregation Shaare Emeth from 1:30 to 5:30 p.m. you can find out if your family heirloom or flea market find is rare or rubbish. Kodner Gallery, a highly respected art firm that has been in the business for 40 years, will sponsor the event to benefit the St. Louis Parkinson Disease Association and Center for Advanced Parkinson Research. Twelve professional appraisers will evaluate the worth of your treasures at the cost of $35 and $10 for each additional item up to three. For further information and to purchase tickets, contact the St Louis APDA Information and Referral Center at 314-362-3299. Tickets must be purchased in advance.

ELLIE GROSSMAN, creator of “Mishegas of Motherhood,” which appeared between these covers for four years, will be the guest speaker for the banquet at the Hilton St. Louis Frontenac on June 5 at the upcoming Great Plains Hadassah Board Retreat. Her subject will be “Juggling without Struggling,” which offers ways to balance the stress in our lives.