66 of 69 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant; Outstanding; Better than 5-star book
It is such a pleasure to write a review of a book of this caliber. I don't have to balance what is good with what is not so good, because "Sparks of Genius" is an excellent, superb book, from start to finish. I would have only one small addition to one of the chapters, which I will mention below.
I think that "Sparks of Genius" is the first book...
Published on May 23, 2000 by S. A. Felton
21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good treatment of limited objective
I like Simonton's book on the origins of genius and the Sternberg handbook on creativity. I keep wondering why they do not cite this work and vice versa. Other reviewers have listed the 13 types of thought presented. So, we have a chapter on a type of thought--what do we put in the chapter about the type of thought? It turns out we put lots and lots of examples of...
Published on November 19, 2001 by Richard Greene
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars some good information,
This review is from: Sparks of Genius: The Thirteen Thinking Tools of the World's Most Creative People (Paperback)13 methods of creativity. Each given a brief intro and then, yes, into examples. But unless you feel you intuitively know what 'abstracting' is then I can only see that the examples add much needed depth to what would otherwise be a pretty flimsy coverage.
This is not the kind of book that has 'creativity tools' as such (eg., Michalko) But this is more aligned with the thought processes in general that lead to the flow of creative thought. I found the first 4-5 of particular interest but must admit that by the second half of the book some of the ideas and thought skills were a little obvious.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply a Great Book on Creativity Toolsets and Skills,
This review is from: Sparks of Genius: The Thirteen Thinking Tools of the World's Most Creative People (Paperback)I wouldn't call myself a genius as in some sort of demigod. However, I'm a architect, artist and computer programmer and as such I do think that I create, that I'm a creative person. Now, I read a lot of books such as this to see how folks think creative people think and for tools I can use to teach young designers how to think and be creative. After all, the most basic definition of a creative person is someone who creates. You have to create to be creative. To create is the action and creativity is the skill you bring to the table. Create more and you become more creative.
When I first read the table of contents for this book I was quite excited. It was the first time in all the books I have read where I saw the tools I and others actually use in the act of creating objects (and of course ideas, but for me it is mostly objects). All I could think of is, "This is cool. These people have boiled it down to essence." I don't necessarily think this book will make anyone a genius, but it sure will go a long way in providing a set of thirteen basic tools for the act of creating. The thirteen are described quite well with interesting examples of each. Apply them as you create and you can't help but improve your creativity skill set.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars sparks make fire,
This review is from: Sparks of Genius: The Thirteen Thinking Tools of the World's Most Creative People (Paperback)This book is a must for anyone interested in art or science or having their kids do either one or both. In contast to claims that art and science are two separate antithetical ways of approaching the world, this book makes it abundenly clear that they are, at base, the same. Einstein said that "Imagination is more important than information." and in that he was right. This book clearly demonstrates the importance of, and the mechanims for, creative thinking in both fields and their linkage. The Root-Bernsteins have done a terrific job and are to be commended. Highly recommended.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My Design Bible, extraordinary read,
And since then I personally contacted Dr. Sweeley about his urine analysis through music. Now I have my own copy and couldn't be happier. Don't hesitate to buy it.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book,
4.0 out of 5 stars I'm a genius,
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good but very ivory tower.,
The book is best thought of as a collection of essays on mental skills that people who reasonably qualify as geniuses seem to use in their work. These skills seem to be usable across the whole intellectual universe, and can be learned in one discipline and then transferred to another. The skills are:
*observing (intense sensory awareness)
*imaging (imagining with all of the senses, not just vision)
*body (kinesthetic) thinking
*dimensional (spatial) thinking
*modeling (including creating simulations)
A good argument for an arts education, and a fascinating read.
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant examination of "the whole point of gourmet thinking and education",
Since this book was published more than a decade ago, there has been significant research conducted on metacognition - especially creative thinking -- that adds to the support of several of the Root-Bernsteins' key points. For example, as they explain, "Creative thinking in all fields occurs preverbally, before logic and linguistics comes into play, manifesting itself through emotions, intuitions, images, and bodily feelings." Only by formulating a new conception of knowledge can we formulate a new form of both formal and informal education. The Root-Bernsteins wrote this book to explain how to do that. More specifically, they studied some of the world's most creative thinkers in the arts and sciences, then share in this book what they learned from them.
Consider these two quotations, first from Paul Horgan: "Illusion is first of all needed to find the powers of which the self is capable"; then from Albert Einstein: "In creative work, imagination is more important than knowledge." However, as the Root-Bernsteins' affirm, they are both important, in fact [begin italics] interdependent [end italics]. "Fantasy and imagination suggest how the world might be; knowledge and experience limit the possibilities; melding the two begets understanding. Without the illusions of the mind, a clear grasp of reality is impossible, and vice versa."
I am greatly indebted to Howard Gardner and his research in the field of multiple intelligences. The Root-Bernsteins may have had that concept in mind as they conducted their own research for this book. They may also agree with a paraphrasing of Walt Whitman's affirmation in "Song of Myself," that human beings are "large," they contain "multitudes."
When I first read the book and then re-read it recently, these are three of the subjects of greatest interest and value to me:
o There is a common set of thinking tools at the heart of creative understanding that need to be mastered: observing, imaging, abstracting, recognizing patterns, forming patterns, analogizing, body thinking, empathizing, dimensional thinking, modeling, playing, transforming, and synthesizing (what Roger Martin describes as integrative thinking). The Root-Bernsteins thoroughly discuss each, citing various creative thinkers and including their own thoughts about how they use one or more of them.
o The Root-Bernsteins stress "six important points about these thirteen tools" (Pages 27-29), noting that most people can at least try to "unite Illusions and Reality into Understanding through the medium of Tools for Thinking."
o In Chapter 16, after having "teased apart the threads of creative thinking and rewoven them into a synthetic understanding of innovation," they shift their attention to explaining "a new kind of transdiciplinary, synthetic education." First they note, "we need not change [begin italics] what [end italics] we teach. At synthetic education requires only that we change [begin italics] how [end italics] we teach, bearing eight goals in mind." (Pages 316-319)
Those who read this book with appropriate care will be generously rewarded by the substance and quality of the content, brilliantly presented by the Root-Bernsteins in their lively and eloquent narrative. After reading and then re-reading Sparks of Genius, I have concluded that "the whole point of gourmet thinking and education" involves a never-ending process of exploration and discovery rather than any one head-snapping insight, a process best viewed as a journey. Think of Robert and Michele Root-Bernstein as your travel agents, then as you expert guides. Bon voyage!
4.0 out of 5 stars Good to have on hand when running into creative mental blocks.,
5.0 out of 5 stars Many teachers in my family... we ALL use this book with our students,
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Sparks of Genius: The Thirteen Thinking Tools of the World's Most Creative People by Robert S. Root-Bernstein (Paperback - August 9, 2001)