The Creative Brain: The Science of Genius
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The Creative Brain: The Science of Genius

3.54 of 5 stars 3.54  ·  rating details  ·  194 ratings  ·  32 reviews
Shakespeare’s tragic plays, Mozart’s sublime symphonies, Einstein’s revolutionary theories—how did these geniuses create such magnificent and highly original works? Were their brains different from those of ordinary people? Using modern neuroscience together with first-person accounts of creative breakthroughs from artists and scientists such as Mozart, Henri Poincaré, and...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published October 31st 2006 by Plume (first published 2005)
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This book reads deceptively simply. She is a genius writer herself, and there is more to the words than the voices of a neuroscientist, psychiatrist, PhD literature scholar and lover of those very words she weaves into a transparent shimmer that is, like the brain, wider thean the sky and not even in the same universe as the sum of its earth bound parts.
The author describes parts of the brain and explains that there is some connection to mental illness and creativity. She also describes what kind of environment is needed for a creative brain and what you can do to add more gray matter to your brain, even at my age :-)
One of the oddities of the exploding field of brain science is that very few researchers are exploring the one area that arguably makes us most human -- our creativity. Part of the reason is that it's devlishly difficult to measure and to assess.

Nancy Andreasen, a University of Iowa professor and a pioneer of brain research, is one of the small group that continues to explore the creative urge.

This book is a good overview of what she knows about creativity both from self-reports by highly creat...more
Tim Gannon
Written by a psychiatrist who has also spent much time doing research - explores the subject of creativity both historically and current - goes over the relationship between creativity and mood disorders/schizophrenia - looks at nature vs nurture - even how to define creativity - goes over neuroimaging data on the subject - even the effect of lithium on creativity - discusses personality and cognitive characteristics of creative geniuses - neuroplasticity is touched on - it was quite interesting...more
Creativity is the single most desired trait among American workers today. Just being able to perform the tasks of a job no longer cuts the mustard anymore, for most of our work is no longer in manufacturing widgets to tolerance, but in satisfying customer's expectations and meeting unmet needs.

Creativity is no longer the provenance of the arts alone, but has become part of science, education, technology, business and many other fields. Unfortunately, our schools aren't training for "creativity,...more

This is a hard book to read, but very interesting.

Nancy Andreasen attempted a scientific comparison of Iowa Writers Workshop members with matched pairs of people similar in Socioeconomic and demographic traits, but in more mundane types of work (law, medicine, engineering).

She says her study suggests that artistically creative people tend to have more mood disorders (not schizophrenia) compared to the control group--also alchoholism, which could be self-medication for mood problems or relief f...more
Mar 24, 2014 Talony rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone
Since I want to be a Social Science Researcher, This book caught my attention. I was in shock at how amazing this book was. I started reading and just couldn't put the book down. I love how there was questions the author asked that really can't be answered. I currently just started reading it again. I will read more of her books. I recommend this book to anyone
The topic was very intriguing unfortunately, this was not a well presented book. The writing was not engaging and the book was sprinkled with these annoying parenthetical side comments like blah blah blah (but Michelangelo was also born from a middle class family too!) blah blah blah brain etc.

I guess I was just not amused by these comments and some of the suggestions she makes in the end are such no brainers (ha!) that it's almost pathetic that people have to be told. My guess is that people t...more
Sanath Kumar
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This book was okay, but not exactly what I wanted for my purpose. I was much more interested in the bibliography than I was in the book itself. This book would be fantastic for someone who is slightly interested in the brain and how creativity functions within it. It is not necessarily for someone who wants to study it in depth. This book takes a topical look at many different factors in what makes a person creative. It gives a general history of how science has looked at creativity, as well as...more
Though the book isn't as expected loaded with some practical step in details, but with a majority part exploring the relationship between creative prodigy with psychosis, I still find the book captivating to read, as the author as an interdisciplinary scholar at the two ends of polarity of sciences (that's literature from theoretical science and neuroscience from natural science ), has fueled the arguments with evidences in an more objective and scientific way. Plus her light touch on words make...more
This was recommended to me by Katherine. A researcher who has been studying how creativity manifests itself in the brain wrote the book. It is not thick with scientific lingo but still interesting enough. I have not been reading enough nonfiction but this book has made me determine to do so. Now that I do not have cable I no longer stumble on interesting documentaries while channel surfing. So now I need to go back to non fiction reading for those fun odd facts.
D Books
I would have given this book a 2.5 star rating if it were possible. There was nothing new in this book that I hadn't known about for the past couple of decades. Finding ways to think outside the box, your environment, social/peer interaction, etc. All inspire creativity. The author is somewhat repetitive and slow to the point. I recommend just reading the last chapter and you'll get the whole point of the book.
An interesting look at the neuroscience behind creativity. Formerly a professor of English, Andreason is good at making a sometimes-heavy topic easy to read.

Although at times the book seemed a little Euro-centric, it was still a valuable resource for understanding the mysterious process of creativity. And the last section's tips for improving the mind are definitely worth reading!
I found this book to be thin on substance and a bit fragmented in its focus - or at least the focus that the title implies. It's a meandering discourse of various historical attempts to understand creativity. The author's own research seems thin, too, when compared with the rigorous studies conducted by other neuroscientists.
I skimmed this book. I liked the parts that I read alright- didn't feel the need to read the whole book.

I thought it was interesting that there has been a link found between creativity and mental illness, but I'd inferred that from a book I read about boundaries. I wanted to send the author the Boundaries book.
I skimmed this book. While it is an interesting subject, the author didn't really offer any new information. It also didn't answer any questions; it more or less rephrased them. The majority of the book didn't really have anything to do with creativity itself, just about people we percieve as creative.
Brandon Geurts
This book is interesting. One of the major problems with it, however, is that it seems to oversimplify a very complex subject. Creativity is not really measured in peaks and troughs. Still, it's a good attempt at covering an obscure subject in neuroscience.
Anna Esckelson

Not a big believer in macro evolution. Aside from that, interesting study of brain creativity, good refresher of brain functions and some fascinating links between genius and mental illness.
May 07, 2009 Richard marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Richard by: Cognitive Science Reading & Discussion Group
(Selection for the Meet-up group "Cognitive Science Reading & Discussion Group". We'll see if it's worth driving over to Berkeley for the meetings. First meeting, June 7th 2009.)
Oct 11, 2012 Steve marked it as to-read
Recommended to Steve by: Geneva Campus Ministry
Shelves: ui-lib
Became interested in this book because of Dr. Nancy Andreasen lecture on the Miracle of Human Brain Development and Complexity which is coming up on Sunday, October 14th.
This book was very interesting-carefully examines on a neurological level and the effects of environment, genetics, etc. to result in the highly creative individual.
I thought it was very well done and laid out some interesting ideas on an area that has been under studied.
Tuğay Ilyasoğlu
Yeni hic bir sey soylemeyen, sadece 1 cumle ile ozetlenebilecek, yazarin bol bol kendini ovdugu kitap.
Catherine Woodman
Not completely thought out--well written but sparsely sprinkled with connections
Haven't read all of it, but found it satisfactory for my studies on creativity.
Tammye42  Buchinski
Mar 12, 2008 Tammye42 Buchinski rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Any One
Recommended to Tammye42 by: My daughter a teacher
Just starting will add more as I go, a fascinating approach to the new ways of learning!
Dana Ream
Though this book has flaws, it does explore an important aspect of the mind.
Great book that I now use as a reference book on a regular basis.
This was okay, but rather derivative and unfocused.
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