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The Runaway Species: How Human Creativity Remakes the World

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  592 ratings  ·  89 reviews
Our relentless drive to create makes us unique among living creatures. What is special about the human brain that enables us to innovate? Why don't cows choreograph dances? Why don't squirrels build elevators to their treetops? Why don't alligators invent speedboats? Weaving together the arts and sciences, neuroscientist David Eagleman and composer Anthony Brandt explore t ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published October 5th 2017 by Canongate Books
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3.79  · 
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 ·  592 ratings  ·  89 reviews

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Jul 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've been missing my nonfiction kicks. I thought this one sounded fantastic, so I picked it up to revel in all the grand things that creativity does (and why we need to foster it, dammit).

Of course, books like this are pretty much preaching to the choir. The people who read them are usually very aware of the uses and needs and the universality of the IDEA of creativity.

No matter who you are, where you come from, you're just as likely to be creative or not creative, as is your natural proclivity.
Malcolm Everett

“Few capacities hold as much lifelong value as an active imagination: it impacts every aspect of our experience.”

The Runaway Species explores human creativity in all its forms, from Picasso and Beethoven to the Apollo 13 mission and scientific breakthroughs. Since I write fiction, I viewed the authors’ observations from a writing perspective: Where have I witnessed these principles at work in contemporary literature? How can I apply these ideas to my own writing?

The authors focus on a few key id
Pat yourself on the back - way to go for being born human! We are so creative and innovative!

No, this is not a quote from the book, but it is my sarcastic quote after reading it.

It was a little too self-congratulatory for my taste (we love to talk about ourselves, don't we?), I wanted more than anecdotes on awesome and inspiring things. That being said, there were some good ones here, and some larger takeaways like:
- Science needs art.
- Be open to change.
- Think outside of the box and strive for
د.أمجد الجنباز
يتحدث الكتاب عن الإبداع وكيف يحدث
يحوي الكثير جدا من قصص حدث فيها الإبداع ويفسر كيف حدثت
ويتحدث عن الإبداع في الشركات وكيف يحدث.
الكتاب جميل لمن يريد أن يتعرف أكثر عن الإبداع وتفسير الية حدوثه.

لكن الكتاب لم يضع هيكلا أو نموذجا معينا يعطينا كيف بإمكاننا تسهيل حدوث الابداع على المستوى الشخصي والشركات
Peter Mcloughlin
a very well done book on human creativity. Not only providing copious examples of creativity from art, fashion, technology, science, and business it also discusses the evolutionary principles behind novelty seeking and general factors and methods that go into creativity like conceptual blending, breaking forms, proliferating variety etc. Good book and recharger of creative batteries.
Krish Perumal
The synopsis of the book is that creative work is often a result of the three B's: "bending" existing ideas, "breaking" down of existing structure in order to see them in a different light, and "blending" of numerous seemingly unrelated ideas into a coherent and novel idea. It proffers a number of interesting real-life examples from history and current times to elucidate the main premise. But on the whole, I found the book to be trite, and ironically, not that creative.
May 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a book I will read over and over again.
The Runaway Species is a very engaging book about creativity. There are three sections: The first section connects many examples of creativity with some basic neuroscience without any jargon or difficult science concepts. The second section focuses more on creativity and some ways that the human brain takes what it experiences and plays with these ideas, images, etc. The last section is aimed at education and ways we can allow our students to engage their creativity so that they learn basic conc ...more
Jan 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Watchword of this book
"New idea doesn't appear from nowhere
Instead we manufacture them from the raw material of experience"
New idea are from the past and future enter present
A great book about creativity
May 13, 2019 marked it as review-shelf
This is a summary of The Runaway Species. I also wrote a review, which you can find here.

Humans have the unique ability to consider what-if scenarios

One thing that sets humankind apart from other animals is the extent of our ability to be creative. Essentially this means that we can take what already exists and turn it into something new.

The neurological basis for creativity is the fact that our behaviour is mediated, rather than automated. When behaviour is automated, it follows a straight lin
Miriam Downey
Oct 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There used to be a test to judge which side of the brain you functioned best with—the right side or the left side. The right side is the creative side; the left side the more methodical and scientific. After taking the test at school, the principal lined up the staff based on their scores. Lots of teachers were in the middle of the range; I, of course, was on the far right side of the line and one of my friends was on the far left. As we talked about it at lunch, i commented about how I created ...more
Deborah Good
Nov 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book should be on every teacher/professor--hey every person's bookshelf. It was eye-opening and gave me a lot of ideas on how to approach some of the topics that students have a hard time for. Note that this isn't a "teaching handbook"--I just used it this way. Anyone who reads the book will likely be inspired in their own careers.
The trend for non-fction lately seems to be what I call the Gladwell Model: have a pet theory, find some studies that shore it up, but use all the anecdotes you can stuff between the covers to "prove" your point. Since the science is "soft" and the anecdotes often interesting, the model sells books. It seems the public can't quite handle non-fiction anymore unless it has a high entertainment factor and not much hard science. Unfortunately, that model makes for non-fiction that is more opinion th ...more
Extremely engaging non-fiction book on creativity! Filled with a great variety of pictures and examples throughout history that demonstrate ingenuity in visual-arts, dance, poetry, music, medicine, engineering and architecture. The authors also explain how the human brain is able to process all these different visual inputs. I found the chapter on enhancing the education system "The Creative School" especially intriguing. "An education in creativity lies in the sweet spot between unstructured pl ...more
Nov 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A pleasant enough survey in which the authors describe bending, blending, and breaking as pathways to human creativity. Plenty of breadth across the arts, science, and technology but little in the way of depth. Ultimately a book more valuable for its tantalizing examples and references than for its own original contributions. Imagine six solid TED talks about creativity in book form and you pretty much get the picture - solid intellectual entertainment.
Nov 23, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
I also wrote a summary of The Runaway Species, which you can read here.

In essence, this book is an ode to creativity. It offers insights into what makes human creativity unique and what creative thinking entails, pleads for active encouragement of creative thinking in our societies, and gives practical advice on how we might go about this. All of this is supported by countless real-life examples of human creativity in both the sciences and the arts.

The main ideas can be summarised as follows: hu
Janine Zachariae
Jun 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Inhalt (in meinen Worten)

David Eagleman und Anthony Brandt haben sich mit dem Thema der Kreativität beschäftigt und sich gefragt, woher manche Menschen ihre Ideen erhalten und was mit all den Gedanken passiert, die nie an die Oberfläche kommen.

In diesem Buch beschreiben sie viele Themen, die unseren Alltag beherrschen oder die uns das Leben erleichtern. Sie blicken hinter die Kulissen von bestimmten Marken und Firmen und erläutern die Werke von Picasso. Es geht um Musik – die Beatles, Shakespear
Stanley Xue
Jan 08, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
I was given this on my birthday. It's been sitting on my shelf and I finally got around to reading it.

The book is divided into three parts and for the most part heavily retells paragraph-lengthed anecdotal snippets (e.g. NASA engineers in the Apollo 13 mission; Picasso and cubism; the iPhone). Each of these anecdotes do seem like they could be stories published in their own right. I feel like I would enjoy separate books about these anecdotes. But, this is not the purpose of this book.

These ane
Luke Stephens
Jan 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thanks to my sister for this Christmas present :-)

Incredible read, really enjoyed the almost sparring feeling; except rather than conflict the writers made their profession fit ever so neatly. Within the contexts of the topics covered each side provided perfect examples. Seeing the world described from a neuroscientist perspective and a artist perspective helped concrete the concepts covered.

This book left me with a better understanding of the world, how to operate in it, how to absorb and hope
Caro Raciti
May 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Human creativity! Nothing is set in stone, new things are based on the knowledge of previous things that get intersected with other stuff, dissected, broken, mixed, shuffled. The writers call it bending, breaking and blending!
The only constant is change and nothing is set in stone. Creativity also depends on When and Where a person is born! Society has been evolving through time and the compound knowledge in our PRESENT is unprecedented to what was there for people living centuries ago yet thei
Mar 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was an excellent book. It focused on creativity and how we can recreate the world.

The foundation for recreating the world is bending, breaking, and blending. Simply maintaining the status quo will not change the world. However, but bending, breaking, or blending the current processes will lead to great changes.

One of the great examples in the book is Wheeler Elementary and how it went from extremely substandard (17% meeting state standards) to exemplary in seven years. The school instituted
Mar 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Una forma fresca y en momentos hasta divertida de cómo funciona el constante progreso de la humanidad acarreado por el cambio que la creatividad conlleva y cómo es que si esa creatividad es excesiva es rechazada.

Parafraseando una parte, "si creas un cambio de algo conocido y es interesante, tendrás seguidores; si cambias demasiado algo que la gente conoce, nadie te seguirá" y pone de ejemplo la digital crown del apple watch y como Ive lo puso un poco off-centre para dar la sensación de familiar
Donal Scannell
Dec 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book.

A very timely reminder of the importance of creativity, something the world is growing more aware of by the day.

This book is ideal for newbies and old hands alike.

Whether creativity is a part of your day or not this book will help either affirm your beliefs and practices or open you up to new ones.

I just came across this book in Hanna's bookshop in Dublin a week or so before Christmas. It was one of those moments when a book just jumps into your hand and feels right.

I only wish I
Christopher Willey
Dec 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: zpd
Got a chance to read this while being triggered by Dawkin’s and Damasio- so yes! Creativity follows similar patterns to that of biological processes.

Was instrumental in the genesis of something I’m calling the Creativity Engine.

May 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was assigned to read a long list of books about innovation in order to find the best option to be adopted for our university common experience book of the year. This was hands down the winner for me because of it's diverse topics and interesting neuroscience tie-ins.
Andrew Russell
Apr 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Das Buch ist unglaublich gut recherchiert. Die zahlreichen Beispiele zeigen, wie wichtig die Förderung von Kreativität wirklich ist und was genau dahinter steckt. Da merkt man langsam selber, was man tun kann, um etwas kreativer zu denken.

Absolut empfehlenswert.
Srijal; Srivastava
the book couldn't have been more balanced in its approach , takes you to the future and back .
May 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fun book about the generation of new Ideas , Ideas combine with other Ideas , almost naturally to create new Ideas and therefore develope civilization and stuff
Edelhart Kempeneers
Boeiend boek over (het belang van) creativiteit.
Besart Ç.
Sep 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
amazing book
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David Eagleman is a neuroscientist, a New York Times bestselling author, and a Guggenheim Fellow. During the day he runs a neuroscience research laboratory at Baylor College of Medicine in the Texas Medical Center in Houston. At night he writes. His books have been translated into 23 languages.
“The human brain doesn’t passively take in experience like a recorder; instead, it constantly works over the sensory data it receives – and the fruit of that mental labor is new versions of the world.” 0 likes
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