Genius Unmasked

Overview

Genius can seem incomprehensible even to seasoned researchers. Einstein's theory of special relativity, Rutherford's glimpse into the invisible heart of the atom—such astonishing breakthroughs seem almost magical—like bolts of insight arising from nowhere.

Genius Unmasked reveals the true nature of genius, taking the reader on a journey through the lives and minds of more than a dozen brilliant scientists, ranging from Darwin, Einstein, Edison, and Pasteur, to such lesser known ...

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Overview

Genius can seem incomprehensible even to seasoned researchers. Einstein's theory of special relativity, Rutherford's glimpse into the invisible heart of the atom—such astonishing breakthroughs seem almost magical—like bolts of insight arising from nowhere.

Genius Unmasked reveals the true nature of genius, taking the reader on a journey through the lives and minds of more than a dozen brilliant scientists, ranging from Darwin, Einstein, Edison, and Pasteur, to such lesser known but important innovators as Maria Montessori. Their stories are truly compelling, and at time inspiring, but, more important, Roberta Ness uses these stories to highlight a cognitive tool box that anyone can employ. Ness, an authority on innovation, outlines eleven basic strategies—including finding the right question, observation, analogy, changing point of view, dissection, reorganization, the power of groups, and frame shifting. Beginning with Charles Darwin, who left behind a voluminous trail of writing that preserved his thinking process, Ness illuminates his use of all eleven tools. Indeed, for each genius, she combines a fascinating narrative of their creative work with an astute analysis of how they used particular tools to achieve their breakthroughs. We see how Ancel Keys, the father of the Mediterranean diet, used the "power of groups"—enlisting a team of statisticians, nutritionists, physiologists, and physicians—to track the health benefits of exercise and diet. How Paul Baran conceived packet switching—the idea that made the internet possible—through analogy with the neurological networks of the brain. And how Maria Montessori overturned the conventional frame of thinking about the role of children in education.

Genius Unmasked 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.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A readable, thoughtful, provocative study of innovators and innovation in a variety of fields and endeavors... Narrative dominates here, and this would make an excellent textbook for gifted high-school classes and for team seminars in innovation and creative thinking. The stories she tells are lively and illuminating, and Ness is a superb writer." — Dallas Morning News

"In this intriguing book, Ness, an accomplished scientist/physician and an authority on innovation, sets out to 'unmask genius.' She examines outstanding intellects across a wide spectrum of disciplines—biology, education, physics, social psychology, medicine, chemistry, and so on. The discussion is fascinating, and Ness's prose is accessible. Of interest to anyone wanting to examine creativity and genius, this book is a suitable companion to Ness's other books, Innovation generation: How to Produce Creative and Useful Scientific Ideas (2012) and Creativity in the Sciences, cowritten with Michael Goodman and Aisha Dickerson (2013).

"Genius Unmasked is extremely well written, very interesting, and highly informative." - Dean Keith Simonton, PsycCRITIQUES

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199976591
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 6/14/2013
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 692,621
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Roberta Ness is an internationally renowned physician-scientist and author of over 300 scientific papers and books. She is a member of the Institute of Medicine National Academies of Science, a Fellow of the American College of Physicians, a Fellow of the American College of Epidemiology, and a frequent advisor to the National Institutes of Health, Department of Defense, and Centers for Disease Control. She is a past President of the American College of Epidemiology and President of the American Epidemiology Society. Her many awards and honors include a White House appointment to the Board of the Mickey Leland Center as well as receipt of the Snow Award, the most prestigious lifetime achievement award in her profession, presented by the American Public Health Association. She is Dean of the University of Texas School of Public Health and the University of Texas-Houston Vice President for Innovation and author of Innovation Generation: How to Produce Creative and Useful Scientific Ideas and Creativity in the Sciences.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Hero Worship
Chapter 2: Nature v God (Darwin)
Chapter 3: Darwin Annotated: Use of Innovation Tools
Chapter 4: The Miracle Worker (Montessori)
Chapter 5: Honey I Shrunk the Ruler (Einstein)
Chapter 6: Pick the Innovator
Chapter 7: Is Psychology All in Your Head? (Milgram)
Chapter 8: Inspirations from the Heart (Morris and Keys)
Chapter 9: It's Electric (Edison)
Chapter 10: Two Luminous Lives (Curie and Rutherford)
Chapter 11: Immunology and the Uncommon Man (Metchnikoff)
Chapter 12: Connectivity (Paul Baran and other web creators)
Chapter 13: A Modest Proposal for Saving Mankind (Borlaug and Green Revolutionaries)
Chapter 14: Medications Everywhere but Only One Pill (Marker and Hertig/Rock)
Chapter 15: A Way to Die (Innovation students)
Chapter 16: Steering the Craft
References

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