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Publishers WeeklyPsychiatry professor Berns (Satisfaction: The Science of Finding True Fulfillment) describes an iconoclast as "a person who does something that others say can't be done." Though keeping his promise to reveal the "biological basis" for the ability to think outside the box, Berns keeps technical explanation to a minimum, instead using themes like perception, fear and networking to profile a number of famous free-thinkers. While the ordinary person perceives the world based on his past experience and "what other people say," the iconoclast is both willing and able to risk seeing things differently; in the case of glass sculptor Dale Chihuly, his creative breakthrough (departing from symmetry in his ice-sculptures) came after a car crash blinded him in one eye, literally changing his view of the world. The will to take risks is also paramount; Cardinals baseball coach Branch Rickey and his controversial hire Jackie Robinson, the first black man in the Majors, provide models of imagination and fearlessness. Berns also looks at iconoclasts like Steve Jobs, Martin Luther King Jr., Henry Ford, the Dixie Chicks, Warren Buffett and Picasso, relating in lucid terms the mindsets that set them apart.
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