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The Runaway Species: How human creativity remakes the world Hardcover – October 10, 2017
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Praise for The Runaway Species
“The authors look at art and science together to examine how innovations―from Picasso’s initially offensive paintings to Steve Jobs’s startling iPhone―build on what already exists and rely on three brain operations: bending, breaking and blending. This manifesto of sorts shows how both disciplines foster creativity.” ―The Wall Street Journal
“Unravels the interplay of art, neuroscience and evolution, while celebrating the special thing that is human innovation.” ―Entrepreneur
"Which inventions have had the most impact―and why? What can they teach us about game-changing innovation? And how will science and technology revolutionize our lives next? The rest of The Runaway Species sheds light on these issues … bolstered by delightful visuals." ―Harvard Business Review
“The Runaway Species approach[es] creativity scientifically but sensitively, feeling its roots without pulling them out.” ―The Economist
"A lively exploration of the software our brains run in search of the mother lode of invention… The Runaway Species is beautifully produced, illustrated and written. It sweeps the reader through examples from engineering, science, product design, music and the visual arts to trace the roots of creative thinking to three key mental skills: bending, breaking and blending.” ―Nature
"With the pleasing pace of an extended essay, the book offers surprises and insights at every turn, and the authors argue convincingly that basic strategies inform most creative behavior. . . . Essential―and highly pleasurable―reading for anyone who cares about ideas and innovation." ―Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"The Runaway Species is a simple and delightful read ― no science knowledge required. And in a rare triumph, the fact that this book was written by two authors never got in the way of making me feel like someone was telling me a story or delivering a thirteen-chapter TED talk. " ―Cooper Square Review
"Art and science converge in this beautiful collaboration. . . . Divided into three parts, this inquiry covers a complicated set of connected topics in an engaging and surprisingly accessible way. . . . Packed with vivid images, countless examples, and fun facts that will leave readers eager to discuss it with friends, this is a refreshing and thought-provoking book that captures both the wonder of science and the beauty of the human spirit." ―Booklist
"An intriguing and riveting mélange of perspectives that successfully delineates what creativity and innovation are about. It is an outstanding and inspirational volume that will have a broad and global appeal. It will categorically transport the reader into the past and the future fusing them together as one scientific structure, constituting an electrifying and enlightening scholarly reading." ―The Inquisitive Mind
"A paean to the ingenuity of the human species, a description of the anatomy of creativity and a rallying cry to cultivate our skills for the benefit of our collective future." ―Tes.com
"Brandt and Eagleman have written an exuberant book about creativity. If you were a fan of James Burke’s brilliant Connections, or perhaps of Don Norman’s ruminations on design, there’s a similarly sumptuous buffet of brain candy here on which to pig out." ―Neo.life
“Readers familiar with David Eagleman’s writing will encounter the clever analogies that typify his style. Co-author Anthony Brandt, a professor at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, ads rich texture and scope to their speculations. It is not obvious what NASA and Picasso have in common. Nor what flamboyant hairstyles, bicycles, or stadium designs share. But the answers seem obvious once the links are pointed out.” ―Richard E. Cytowic, New York Journal of Books
"It’s a belter of a book for anyone with an interest in neuroscience, creativity or education... Understanding ourselves and our creativity is a journey that also helps us to understand what makes us human. The Runaway Species not only makes the complex readable, but also opens a fascinating world that exists between predictability and surprise." ―Business Hitchhiker
About the Author
David Eagleman is a neuroscientist and the New York Times bestselling author of Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain and Sum. He is the writer and host of the Emmy-nominated PBS television series The Brain. Eagleman is an adjunct professor at Stanford University, a Guggenheim fellow, and the director of the Center for Science and Law. He has written for the New York Times, Discover Magazine, The Atlantic, Slate, Wired and many others, and he appears regularly on National Public Radio and BBC.
Anthony Brandt is a composer and professor at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music. He is also Artistic Director of the contemporary music ensemble Musiqa, winner of two Adventurous Programming Awards from Chamber Music America and ASCAP. Brandt has received a Koussevitzky Commission from the Library of Congress and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Meet-the-Composer and the Houston Arts Alliance. He has co-authored papers on music cognition published in the journals Frontiers and Brain Connectivity. Brandt has written two chamber operas and works for orchestra, chamber ensembles, dance, theater, film, television, and sound and art installations. He currently lives in Houston with his wife and children.
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WHAT I LIKE ABOUT IT: How do exceptionally creative people -- like Leonardo da Vinci, Bach, Chopin, Einstein, Edison, Picasso, Steve Jobs -- come up with and execute their ideas? What makes the book special are vignettes of the other 200+ artists, scientists, composers and engineers you *haven’t* heard of yet, and all the cool ideas they’ve come up with as they “bend, break and blend” old ideas to create new ones. The book’s fluid writing style and 200 illustrations make for fun, fast reading.
Some essential new concepts I learned:
• “Skeuomorphs” are “features that imitate the design of what has come before.” Nothing is 100% new.
• Every emerging billion-dollar industry is already 10 yrs old
• To come up with great ideas, embrace error so you can proliferate lots of options
• The 20% Rule: the brain seems to prefer visual stimulus of 20% complexity
• The greatest creators (eg Picasso, Edison) were just insanely prolific. The more stuff you make, the more likely that some of it will be great.
• Let young minds embrace the arts: “This is because the arts, due to their overtness, are the most accessible way to teach the basic tools of innovation.”
WHAT IT’S NOT: Although it can teach you much about the process of innovation, this book’s not a creativity how-to book per se. For that, I recommend Edward de Bono’s classic Lateral Thinking: Creativity Step by Step.
WHY YOU SHOULD READ IT: The dozens of fascinating stories of perseverance, ingenuity, and breakthrough – e.g. self-healing concrete, carbon-fiber violins, or James Dyson’s 5,127 vacuum prototypes (!) – demystify innovation, humanize it, and just might catalyze a world-changing story of your own.
-- Ali Binazir, M.D., M.Phil, Happiness Engineer, TEDx presenter of "Awaken Creative Genius" and author of Should I Go to Medical School?: An Irreverent Guide to the Pros and Cons of a Career in Medicine
I will also let you know that the customer rep from the publisher (catapult) has been absolutely amazing!
I ordered this book because it’s the common reading for my university and I wanted to read it so I could relate to the incoming freshman since I’m working Freshman Preview Week. I have no complaints about this, but the book DOES say it’s an advanced copy which might’ve been good to state in the item description. (Sometimes advanced copies haven’t been proofread 👍🏻) I’m excited to get to reading!
The book discuss creativity from both the science and art aspect of it.. This is not a connection often made about but the explanation are clear and easy to understand.
The chapter on creativity at work and at school should be mandatory reading