Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Uncommon Genius” as Want to Read:
Uncommon Genius
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Uncommon Genius

3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  108 ratings  ·  18 reviews
Drawing on interviews with 40 winners of the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship—the so-called "genius awards"—the insightful study throws fresh light on the creative process.
Paperback, 272 pages
Published February 1st 1991 by Penguin Books (first published February 28th 1990)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Uncommon Genius, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Uncommon Genius

The Hiding Place by Corrie ten BoomA Christmas Carol by Charles DickensThe Pillars of the Earth by Ken FollettA Tale of Two Cities by Charles DickensMy Ántonia by Willa Cather
My Most Favorite
21st out of 62 books — 29 voters
Flow by Mihaly CsikszentmihalyiThe Artist's Way by Julia CameronCreativity by Mihaly CsikszentmihalyiThe War of Art by Steven PressfieldA Whack on the Side of the Head by Roger Von Oech
Books on Creativity
27th out of 60 books — 52 voters


More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 408)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Nick Craske
A compelling, intriguing and inspiring exploration of creativity through an amalgamation of interviews and discussions with forty MacArthur Foundation Genius Award winners. Shekerjian's lucid prose style, and her empathy for the complexities of the creative processes, approaches and thinking patterns of these creative folk, delivers a satisfying assessment of living a creative life.
Amy
Hands down, my MOST favorite book ever. If I were stuck on an island, this would be my one book. The book is an inquiry into creativity. Ms. Shekerjian goes about interviewing 40 recipients of the McCarthur Award (aka, the "Genius Award") and finding out what they have in common and what sets them apart - what is the nature of their geniusness. She explains what the award is, how it came about, and writes about the process of finding and talking to these 40+ people. It is so interesting and insp ...more
Chris
I am glad that I found this book by reference from the Malcolm Gladwell book, "Outliars." It really sheds light on what it takes to be a creative genius. I read this book wanting to know what the secrets were, if there was any predisposed behavior or genetic line but what the author founds out from his research with all the other MacArthur grant members is that everyone one of them has the same thing in common.

The author of this book is also a MacArthur grant member and got it because of his wor
...more
Sandra Pedicini
Generally fascinating, occasionally pretentious. The author explores various aspects of creativity through interviews with 40 MacArthur fellows. One thing I found really interesting was the range of people who receive these "genius grants." A clown, a woodworker, a journalist. And they have all had varying levels of success in life, with some embraced by the mainstream in their fields and others definitely on the fringes.
Tech
I picked this up expecting it to be way more fabulous than it was. I thought it would be a really dynamic, engaging series of biographical-type profiles of MacArthur fellows and it ended up being (what it was probably advertised to be, to be honest, which was) a book about creativity and genius and how all of these fellows probably came to warrant attention by the MacArthur Foundation. Somehow, my copy was plagued by typos and I am anal as f&^k about spelling and that was the end of it for m ...more
Andrea
Virtuous: Five Stars. The people interviewed and the author are all interested in becoming better people. There are a few times where the author quotes one of the interviewees when they cuss. I don't remember any of it being terribly offensive though.

Lovely: Five Stars. So Interesting! The book is a quest to better understand creativity by asking those who should know: the receptors of the MacArthur award.

Of Good Report: Five Stars. My husband recommended it to me.

Praiseworthy: Five Stars. The a
...more
Stephen Kiernan
Fascinating book on creativity based on extensive interviewing of 40 winners of the MacArthur award.

Compared with so many quick-fix books on idea generation and creative thinking, this book investigates the actual work and workings of creative people. The writing is clever, engaging and insightful. Plenty to learn in there.

In the movies, a person sits down to write a book one night, there's a 30-second montage during which the candle burns down, and in the morning voila, there is the finished m
...more
Cc
Mar 02, 2015 Cc added it
one of my top five favorite books.
Kimberly
A different, more strategic look at how people are creative in all kinds of fields. From science to music, to business and environmentalists, they all have certain reoccurring traits that aren't bad places to start when you have trouble jump starting your own projects.
Benjamin Quiñones
I really liked it! I never really thought of creativity as something you could control until I read this book. I recommend it for anyone who wishes to increase their own creativity! It's very well-written and even a little comical.
Stephen Cranney
I would have preferred it if he had just published the interviews. He makes a lot of general statements and then backs them up with one or two of the fellows (out of 40) that he interviewed.
Jim
I loved meeting the 40 MacArthur Grant Winners who talked about creativity and learn about their work. An interesting read about interesting people.
Chelsea
Jun 25, 2009 Chelsea is currently reading it
I am excited about this book. I haven't delved into the actual meat and cheese of the book yet, but the prologue has made me very hopeful.
Shawn
This book made me want to do some thing great with my life unfortunate it felt a bit dated and presented very little new info.
Tonja
excellent! very inspiring! my friend has asked for it back and I am hesitant to give it back!
Ron Davison
Teaches you about creativity and purpose through the lives of fascinating people.
Liz
I love these stories of a handful of MacArthur winners. find your inner genius!
Isk
Geniuses are always interesting.
Gloria
Gloria marked it as to-read
Jul 22, 2015
Nick B
Nick B marked it as to-read
Jul 21, 2015
Amjad
Amjad marked it as to-read
Jul 21, 2015
Chris Stewart
Chris Stewart marked it as to-read
Jul 19, 2015
James Seykot
James Seykot marked it as to-read
Jul 15, 2015
Harish Venkatesan
Harish Venkatesan marked it as to-read
Jul 14, 2015
Nancy
Nancy marked it as to-read
Jul 11, 2015
Neha Datt
Neha Datt marked it as to-read
Jul 09, 2015
Daniel Taylor
Daniel Taylor marked it as to-read
Jul 09, 2015
Pasi Kristo
Pasi Kristo marked it as to-read
Jul 03, 2015
Tneal
Tneal marked it as to-read
Jun 20, 2015
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 13 14 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Creating Minds: An Anatomy of Creativity as Seen Through the Lives of Freud, Einstein, Picasso, Stravinsky, Eliot, Graham, and Gandhi
  • Sparks of Genius: The Thirteen Thinking Tools of the World's Most Creative People
  • Saying It Like It Is
  • People Tools: 54 Strategies for Building Relationships, Creating Joy, and Embracing Prosperity
  • Why Not?: How to Use Everyday Ingenuity to Solve Problems Big And Small
  • The Thinker's Toolkit: 14 Powerful Techniques for Problem Solving
  • The Creative Brain: The Science of Genius
  • A Kick in the Seat of the Pants: using your explorer, artist, judge, & warrior to be more creative
  • This Will Change Everything: Ideas That Will Shape the Future
  • Redirect: The Surprising New Science of Psychological Change
  • Jump Ship: Ditch Your Dead-End Job and Turn Your Passion into a Profession
  • The Futurist: The Life and Films of James Cameron
  • Group Genius: The Creative Power of Collaboration
  • Cracking Creativity: The Secrets of Creative Genius
  • Learning by Heart: Teachings To Free The Creative Spirit
  • Adversaries into Allies: Win People Over Without Manipulation or Coercion
  • Square Peg: My Story and What It Means for Raising Innovators, Visionaries, and Out-of-the-Box Thinkers
  • Servant Leader
Competent Counsel: Working With Lawyers

Share This Book