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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)
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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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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
Mar 02, 2015 Cc added it
one of my top five favorite books.
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.
I loved meeting the 40 MacArthur Grant Winners who talked about creativity and learn about their work. An interesting read about interesting people.
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.
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.
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.
I love these stories of a handful of MacArthur winners. find your inner genius!
Geniuses are always interesting.
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