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Origins of Genius

Origins of Genius
Author: Dean Keith Simonton
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0195351703
Pages: 320
Year: 1999-07-08
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How can we account for the sudden appearance of such dazzling artists and scientists as Mozart, Shakespeare, Darwin, or Einstein? How can we define such genius? What conditions or personality traits seem to produce exceptionally creative people? Is the association between genius and madness really just a myth? These and many other questions are brilliantly illuminated in The Origins of Genius. Dean Simonton convincingly argues that creativity can best be understood as a Darwinian process of variation and selection. The artist or scientist generates a wealth of ideas, and then subjects these ideas to aesthetic or scientific judgment, selecting only those that have the best chance to survive and reproduce. Indeed, the true test of genius is the ability to bequeath an impressive and influential body of work to future generations. Simonton draws on the latest research into creativity and explores such topics as the personality type of the genius, whether genius is genetic or produced by environment and education, the links between genius and mental illness (Darwin himself was emotionally and mentally unwell), the high incidence of childhood trauma, especially loss of a parent, amongst Nobel Prize winners, the importance of unconscious incubation in creative problem-solving, and much more. Simonton substantiates his theory by examining and quoting from the work of such eminent figures as Henri Poincare, W. H. Auden, Albert Einstein, Marie Curie, Charles Darwin, Niels Bohr, and many others. For anyone intrigued by the spectacular feats of the human mind, The Origins of Genius offers a revolutionary new way of understanding the very nature of creativity.

Creativity in Science

Creativity in Science
Author: Dean Keith Simonton
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 052154369X
Pages: 216
Year: 2004-05-03
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Psychologists, sociologists, philosophers, historians - and even scientists themselves - have often tried to decipher the basis for creativity in science. Some have attributed creativity to a special logic, the so-called scientific method, whereas others have pointed to the inspirations of genius or to the inevitable workings of the zeitgeist. Finally, some have viewed scientific breakthroughs as the product of chance, as witnessed in the numerous episodes of serendipity. Too often these four alternative interpretations are seen as mutually exclusive. Yet the central thesis of this book is that the chance, logic, genius, and zeitgeist perspectives can be integrated into a single coherent theory of creativity in science. But for this integration to succeed, change must be elevated to the status of primary cause. Logic, genius and the zeitgeist still have significant roles to play but mainly operate insofar as they enhance, or constrain the operation of a chance combinatorial process.

Greatness

Greatness
Author: Dean Keith Simonton
Publisher: Guilford Press
ISBN: 0898622018
Pages: 502
Year: 1994-05-21
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This path-breaking work offers the first comprehensive examination of the important personalities and events that have influenced the course of history. It discusses whether people who go down in history are different from the rest of us and whether specific personality traits predispose certain people to become world leaders, movie stars, scientific geniuses, and athletes. It sheds light on the depth of potential in everyone, yielding important clues as to how we can take advantage of our own individual personality traits. Probing the lives of a range of important figures, the book explores the full range of phenomena associated with greatness, scrutinizing the significance of everything from genetic inheritance, intuition, aesthetic appreciation, and birth order, to formal education, sexual orientation, aging, IQ, and alcohol and drug abuse. This book will be of interest to anyone interested in the people and events that have helped shape the world, including mental health professionals and scholars studying psychological topics in the larger context of science, art, politics, and history. The book also serves as an engaging text for undergraduate psychology courses.

Genius, Creativity, and Leadership

Genius, Creativity, and Leadership
Author: Dean Keith Simonton
Publisher:
ISBN: 0674424727
Pages: 244
Year: 2013-10-01
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Dean Keith Simonton examines uncommon people; those creators and leaders whose impact on their own and later times has been so great that they deserve the label "genius." A simultaneous look at creativity and leadership is itself uncommon, and the comparison shows that when creators and leaders act at genius levels they have many similarities. What it is that causes them to stand out above others? Is it family background, education, intelligence, the nature of the times in which they live? Is there a peak age for creativity? Simonton believes that if we subject the lives of the eminent to scientific analysis we may be able to discover general laws of history and social behavior. To do this he defines a discipline called historiometry. He begins with an explanation of the method: choosing a unit of analysis, be it individual philosophers, historic land battles, or classical melodies; defining and calculating the crucial variables; and teasing out with advanced statistical analysis the most probable causal connections in the data.

Genius 101

Genius 101
Author: Dean Keith Simonton, PhD
Publisher: Springer Publishing Company
ISBN: 0826106285
Pages: 242
Year: 2009-02-05
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"Genius 101 makes for a great read on a centuries-old scientific puzzle - as well as a lively text on the wellsprings and manifestations of genius." Teresa M. Amabile, PhD The Edsel Bryant Ford Professor of Business Administration Harvard Business School [A] clear and engaging summary of this mysterious and utterly important phenomenon written by arguably the world's expert on the topic. Nearly 30 years of Simonton's fascination and focused intellect on the topic of exemplary genius come together in this brief, accessible and insightful volume. If only all introductory courses were this much fun! --Gregory J. Feist, PhD San Jose State University "The latest, and possibly most comprehensive, entry into this genre [on the study of genius] is Dean Keith Simonton's new book Genius 101... Simonton, a psychology professor at the University of California, Davis, is one of the world's leading authorities on the intellectually eminent..." --Time Magazine, February 13, 2009 "Genius 101 is an extremely readable and entertaining book: I read it in one sitting....Each chapter is informative, well organized, provocative, and entertaining. This book presents the best short introduction to genius to be found." --Robert Sternberg PsycCritiques Are geniuses born or made? How do psychologists measure "genius"? Is it "genius," or is it "madness"? "Genius," contrary to common belief, is not strictly a matter of intelligence. Intellect, personality, creativity, even serendipity play a significant role in molding a genius. So, what does it mean to be a genius? Genius 101 examines the many definitions of "genius," and the multiple domains in which it appears, including art, science, music, business, literature, and the media. Dr. Simonton introduces the study of genius theory and the research supporting it, using non-scientific, accessible language-fit for a non-genius. The Psych 101 Series Short, reader-friendly introductions to cutting-edge topics in psychology. With key concepts, controversial topics, and fascinating accounts of up-to-the-minute research, The Psych 101 Series is a valuable resource for all students of psychology and anyone interested in the field.

Genius Explained

Genius Explained
Author: Michael J. A. Howe
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 0521008492
Pages: 236
Year: 2001-05-31
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This study controversially suggests genius is made not born by tracing the lives of famous figures.

The Wiley Handbook of Genius

The Wiley Handbook of Genius
Author: Dean Keith Simonton
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
ISBN: 1118367391
Pages: 680
Year: 2014-06-04
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With contributions from a multi-disciplinary group of expert contributors, this is the first handbook to discuss all aspects of genius, a topic that endlessly provokes and fascinates. The first handbook to discuss all aspects of genius with contributions from a multi-disciplinary group of experts Covers the origins, characteristics, careers, and consequences of genius with a focus on cognitive science, individual differences, life-span development, and social context Explores individual genius, creators, leaders, and performers as diverse as Queen Elizabeth I, Simón Bolívar, Mohandas Gandhi, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Leo Tolstoy, John William Coltrane, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Martha Graham. Utilizes a variety of approaches—from genetics, neuroscience, and longitudinal studies to psychometric tests, interviews, and case studies—to provide a comprehensive treatment of the subject

The Genius Checklist

The Genius Checklist
Author: Dean Keith Simonton
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 0262038110
Pages: 336
Year: 2018-10-02
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What it takes to be a genius: nine essential and contradictory ingredients. What does it take to be a genius? A high score on an IQ test? Brilliant physicist Richard Feynman's IQ was too low for membership in Mensa. Suffering from varying degrees of mental illness? Creativity is often considered a marker of mental health. Be a child prodigy like Mozart, or a later bloomer like Beethoven? Die tragically young, like Keats, or live to a ripe old age like Goethe? In The Genius Checklist, Dean Keith Simonton examines the key factors in creative genius and finds that they are more than a little contradictory. Simonton, who has studied creativity and genius for more than four decades, draws on both scientific research and stories from the lives of famous creative geniuses that range from Isaac Newton to Vincent van Gogh to Virginia Woolf. He explains the origin of IQ tests and the art of estimating the IQ of long-dead historical figures (John Stuart Mill: 200; Charles Darwin: 160). He compares IQ scores with achieved eminence as measures of genius, and he draws a distinction between artistic and scientific genius. He rules out birth order as a determining factor (in the James family alone, three geniuses at three different birth-order positions: William James, firs-tborn; Henry James, second born; Alice James, born fifth and last); considers Malcolm Gladwell's 10,000 hour rule; and describes how the “lone” genius gets enmeshed in social networks. Genius, Simonton explains, operates in ways so subtle that they seem contradictory. Genius is born and made, the domain of child prodigies and their elders. Simonton's checklist gives us a new, integrative way to understand geniuses—and perhaps even to nurture your own genius!

Genius and Creativity

Genius and Creativity
Author: Dean Keith Simonton
Publisher: Greenwood Publishing Group
ISBN: 1567502563
Pages: 318
Year: 1997
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What underlies the worlds most acclaimed acts of creative genius? Can we predict who has the capacity to become a noble creator? These are just a sample of questions addressed by the studies in this book, tackled by the author in unique fashion. He first compiles large databases on samples of eminent creators and their products. The databases, which may include both biographical and historical information, as well as characteristics on the creations, are then subjected to advanced statistical analyses. In this way, the investigator can tease out the factors that led to the achievements of an Archimedes, Descartes, Shakespeare, Michelangelo, or Beethoven. We can also discover the reasons for the phenomenal success of certain masterpieces. By using these historiometric methods, psychologists can enhance our scientific comprehension of the most important phenomena of human behavior - creativity and genius.

The Eureka Factor

The Eureka Factor
Author: John Kounios, Mark Beeman
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 0679645292
Pages: 288
Year: 2015-04-14
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In a book perfect for readers of Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habit, David Eagleman’s Incognito, and Leonard Mlodinow’s Subliminal, the cognitive neuroscientists who discovered how the brain has aha moments—sudden creative insights—explain how they happen, when we need them, and how we can have more of them to enrich our lives and empower personal and professional success. Eureka or aha moments are sudden realizations that expand our understanding of the world and ourselves, conferring both personal growth and practical advantage. Such creative insights, as psychological scientists call them, were what conveyed an important discovery in the science of genetics to Nobel laureate Barbara McClintock, the melody of a Beatles ballad to Paul McCartney, and an understanding of the cause of human suffering to the Buddha. But these moments of clarity are not given only to the famous. Anyone can have them. In The Eureka Factor, John Kounios and Mark Beeman explain how insights arise and what the scientific research says about stimulating more of them. They discuss how various conditions affect the likelihood of your having an insight, when insight is helpful and when deliberate methodical thought is better suited to a task, what the relationship is between insight and intuition, and how the brain’s right hemisphere contributes to creative thought. Written in a lively, engaging style, this book goes beyond scientific principles to offer productive techniques for realizing your creative potential—at home and at work. The authors provide compelling anecdotes to illustrate how eureka experiences can be a key factor in your life. Attend a dinner party with Christopher Columbus to learn why we need insights. Go to a baseball game with the director of a classic Disney Pixar movie to learn about one important type of aha moment. Observe the behind-the-scenes arrangements for an Elvis Presley concert to learn why the timing of insights is crucial. Accessible and compelling, The Eureka Factor is a fascinating look at the human brain and its seemingly infinite capacity to surprise us. Praise for The Eureka Factor “Delicious . . . In The Eureka Factor, neuroscientists John Kounios and Mark Beeman give many other examples of [a] kind of lightning bolt of insight, but back this up with the latest brain-imaging research.”—Newsweek “An incredible accomplishment . . . [The Eureka Factor] is not just a chronicle of the journey that numerous scientists (including the authors) have taken to examine insight but is also a fascinating guide to how advances in science are made in general. Messrs. Kounios and Beeman examine how a parade of clever experiments can be designed to answer specific questions and rule out alternative possibilities. . . . Wonderful ideas appear as if out of nowhere—and we are delighted.”—The Wall Street Journal “An excellent title for those interested in neuroscience or creativity . . . The writing is engaging and readable, mixing stories of famous perceptions with explanations of how such revelations happen.”—Library Journal (starred review) “A lively and accessible ‘brain’ book with wide appeal.”—Booklist “[An] ingenious, thoughtful update on how the mind works.”—Kirkus Reviews “The Eureka Factor presents a fascinating and illuminating account of the creative process and how to foster it.”—James J. Heckman, Nobel laureate in economics From the Hardcover edition.

Genius Unmasked

Genius Unmasked
Author: Roberta Ness
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199976597
Pages: 225
Year: 2013-06-27
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Shows how the most creative minds in science used tools that can help us improve our creative abilities. Geniuses are not omnipotent. They are just very skilled at employing the creativity toolbox highlighted in this book, including finding the right question, observation, analogy, changing point of view, dissection, reorganization, the power of groups, and frame shifting.

Cracking Creativity

Cracking Creativity
Author: Michael Michalko
Publisher: Ten Speed Press
ISBN: 0307790363
Pages: 320
Year: 2011-04-13
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From the bestselling author of Thinkertoys, this follow up brings innovative creative thinking techniques within reach, giving you the tools to tackle everyday challenges in new ways. Internationally renowned business creativity expert, Michael Michalko will show you how creative people think—and how to put their secrets to work for you in business and in your personal life. You don't have to be a genius to solve problems like one. Michalko researched and analyzed hundreds of history's greatest thinkers across disciplines—from Leonardo da Vinci to Pablo Picasso—to bring the best of their techniques together and to teach you how to apply them in your own life. Cracking Creativity is filled with exercises and anecdotes that will soon have you looking at problems and seeing many different solutions.

Scientific Genius

Scientific Genius
Author: Dean Keith Simonton
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 0521352878
Pages: 229
Year: 1988-06-24
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Simonton develops a theory of scientific genius, using Donald Campbell's "blind variation and selective retention" model of creativity as his starting point, and expands it into his own "chance-configuration" theory. He then uses this to account for key aspects of pathbreaking science: the mental processes and behaviors behind the creative act, the cogntive and motivational styles of great scientists, the causes and consequences of exceptional productivity, and the developmental antecedents of distinguished scientific work. The phenomenon of multiple discovery (where two or more independent investigators chance upon the same finding) is shown to provide some of the best empirical evidence on behalf of the theoretical arguement. A concluding chapter outlines the broader implications of the theory for the measurement of genius in science, and places it in the context of the alternative metasciences--the philosophy, sociology, and psychology of science.

The Geography of Genius

The Geography of Genius
Author: Eric Weiner
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 1451691688
Pages: 368
Year: 2016-01-05
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Tag along on this New York Times bestselling “witty, entertaining romp” (The New York Times Book Review) as Eric Winer travels the world, from Athens to Silicon Valley—and back through history, too—to show how creative genius flourishes in specific places at specific times. In this “intellectual odyssey, traveler’s diary, and comic novel all rolled into one” (Daniel Gilbert, author of Stumbling on Happiness), acclaimed travel writer Weiner sets out to examine the connection between our surroundings and our most innovative ideas. A “superb travel guide: funny, knowledgeable, and self-deprecating” (The Washington Post), he explores the history of places like Vienna of 1900, Renaissance Florence, ancient Athens, Song Dynasty Hangzhou, and Silicon Valley to show how certain urban settings are conducive to ingenuity. With his trademark insightful humor, this “big-hearted humanist” (The Wall Street Journal) walks the same paths as the geniuses who flourished in these settings to see if the spirit of what inspired figures like Socrates, Michelangelo, and Leonardo remains. In these places, Weiner asks, “What was in the air, and can we bottle it?” “Fun and thought provoking” (Miami Herald), The Geography of Genius reevaluates the importance of culture in nurturing creativity and “offers a practical map for how we can all become a bit more inventive” (Adam Grant, author of Originals).

Discover Your Genius

Discover Your Genius
Author: Michael J. Gelb
Publisher: Harper Collins
ISBN: 0061743321
Pages: 384
Year: 2009-03-17
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Unleash your creative potential. Michael J. Gelb, bestselling author of How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci, draws upon history's most revolutionary minds to help you unleash your own creativity. With fascinating biographies of all ten geniuses, personal self-assessments, and practical exercises, this book is the key to unlocking the genius inside you! Plato -- Deepening your love of wisdom Filippo Brunelleschi -- Expanding your perspective Christopher Columbus -- Strengthening your vision, optimism, and courage Nicolaus Copernicus -- Reorganizing your vision of the world Queen Elizabeth I -- Wielding your power with balance and effectiveness William Shakespeare -- Cultivating your emotional intelligence Thomas Jefferson -- Celebrating your freedom in the pursuit of happiness Charles Darwin -- Developing your powers of observation and cultivating an open mind Mahatma Gandhi -- Applying the principles of spiritual genius to harmonize spirit, mind, and body Albert Einstein -- Unleashing your imagination and "combinatory play"

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