The latter two of these books have been withdrawn from the market by their publishers after "internal review uncovered significant problems" with the books. In print[ edit ] This section needs expansion with: description of Benartzi book, published , to which Lehrer has contributed, and a further citation or two, balancing if possible, on review comments regarding A Book About Love. You can help by adding to it. He actually intuited a lot about the structure of our brain. Wilson for failing to engage in a "dialogue of equals" with nonscientists.

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I recently caught up with Lehrer in San Francisco. The second part of that is crucial. JAS: Is that different from the traditional definition of creativity? You see this in these sad surveys of school kids.

This reflects what educators refer to as the fourth grade slump. And we can all get better at it. Some people have it a bit more than others. But it is universal. The human mind is a connection machine.

This is what we are meant to do. JAS: When you described the surveys of school kids, I got very sad. I have a seven year old, and I can see that starting to happen in his cohort, where kids are starting to sort themselves into creatives and non-creatives. These are wonderful skills. They help us become more mature. If you invest hours of practice, it can get good. If you want to encourage creativity in kids, there are two things we need to do.

One is expose kids to a menu of possibilities early on—a menu of things they might fall in love with, passions they might develop. The second is to focus on that crucial transition period, third to fifth grade, when so many kids come to believe that they are not creative.

JAS: But certain kids will emerge as more creative than others. That said, we have to do a better job of allowing kids to fall in love with something and expose them to things they might actually enjoy.

The last chapter of my book is about ages of excess genius—moments in history when you seem to have so many talented people all living in the same zip code at the same time. The single most important thing you see in all these ages of excess genius is a vast expansion in education. Shakespeare wrote in the same city at the same time as Christopher Marlowe and John Donne and Francis Bacon and so on. But Shakespeare was being given lessons in Latin by an Oxford-educated teacher at the age of eight.

When you expand educational possibilities, you simply expand the pool of human capital. You gain access to talents like Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe, who also came from a poor family but got a full scholarship to Cambridge.

Of course not. They simply wasted less genius. Schools are focusing on a very narrow model of cognition. They assume that the way to be productive is to always focus, focus, focus, to always look straight ahead. We tell kids not to daydream, to not look out the window, to only look at the blackboard. A big part of the creative process involves a phase of paying attention, putting in the work, being stubborn and persistent.

This thing which is a burden in the classroom may actually be an asset in the real world. People who daydream more score higher on tests of creativity. So daydreaming is a very effective and important mental state. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, , pages We need to expand our notion of what being a productive thinker looks like.

Sometimes you need to focus. We have to embrace a more interesting and diverse pedagogy, and teach kids how to find moments of insight. JAS: How have discoveries in neuroscience changed our view of creativity? But neuroscience has also found very interesting ways of studying some of the most mysterious aspects of creativity, like these moments of insight, these epiphanies that come to us in the shower or behind the wheel.

In many cases, our insights come from the anterior superior temporal gyrus, in the back of the right hemisphere. The more practical part of the project is that you can understand the moods and mental states that make these moments of insights more likely to happen. Maybe that voice has been there for days or weeks or months. In part two of our conversation with Jonah Lehrer , we explore the principles of creativity for teams, collectives, and collaborations.


Imagine: How Creativity Works

Side note: I waffled between 2-stars and 3-stars. And it is with that in mind that I closed the covers with mixed feelings. For most of us, this is fantastic news. Imagine contains a lot of evidence anecdotal, scientific, and in between to support this thesis.


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