Leonardo's Brain: Understanding Da Vinci's Creative Genius

Leonardo's Brain: Understanding Da Vinci's Creative Genius

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by Leonard Shlain
     
 

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Best-selling author Leonard Shlain explores the life, art, and mind of Leonardo da Vinci, seeking to explain his singularity by looking at his achievements in art, science, psychology, and military strategy and then employing state of the art left-right brain scientific research to explain his universal genius. Shlain shows that no other person in human history has

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Overview

Best-selling author Leonard Shlain explores the life, art, and mind of Leonardo da Vinci, seeking to explain his singularity by looking at his achievements in art, science, psychology, and military strategy and then employing state of the art left-right brain scientific research to explain his universal genius. Shlain shows that no other person in human history has excelled in so many different areas as da Vinci and he peels back the layers to explore the how and the why.Shlain asserts that Leonardo's genius came from a unique creative ability that allowed him to understand and excel in a wide range of fields. From here Shlain jumps off and discusses the history of and current research on human creativity that involves different modes of thinking and neuroscience .The author also boldly speculates on whether or not the qualities of Leonardo's brain and his creativity presage the future evolution of the human species.Leonardo's Brain uses da Vinci as a starting point for an exploration of human creativity. With his lucid style, and his remarkable ability to discern connections in a wide range of fields, Shlain brings the reader into the world of history's greatest mind. .

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
2014-08-05
An enthusiastic mixture of history, neuroscience and pop psychology that aims to explain the brilliance of Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519). In this study of the great polymath, surgeon and best-selling author Shlain (Sex, Time, and Power: How Women's Sexuality Shaped Evolution, 2003), who died in 2009, stresses that his subject's painting skills quickly made him famous, although he also earned a living as a sculptor, architect and military engineer. Obsessively curious, da Vinci's thoughts on science, engineering, inventions, anatomy and art take up 13,000 pages of prose, plans and drawings. According to Shlain, da Vinci anticipated Newton's laws, Descartes' analytic geometry, Darwin's view of species and Rayleigh's explanation of why the sky is blue. His fascination with the human body produced celebrated anatomical illustrations, including the first accurate descriptions of structures in the heart, eye and brain. Shlain has no doubt that he invented the submarine, parachute, helicopter, bicycle, ball bearing, canal lock, metal screw and innumerable other labor-saving machines that anticipated the Industrial Revolution. Sadly, almost all these achievements were confined to his journals, which were not published during his lifetime. The mind of such an extraordinary man must also be extraordinary, Shlain writes, and he proceeds to deliver a fine overview of brain function and the psychology of creativity—although his belief that the brain has a rational side (the left) and a spiritual side (the right) is considered a vast oversimplification by scientists who are also skeptical of extrasensory perception, which the author feels explains many of Leonardo's amazing insights. Shlain admits that he is taking an extreme position, but many readers will forgive him because he has written an entertaining mixture of facts and speculation on one of history's immortals.
The Scientist
He was the archetypal genius. A painter. A scientist. An inventor. An engineer. Even today, he remains the dictionary definition of a Renaissance man: Leonardo da Vinci. In Leonardo’s Brain, surgeon and best-selling author Leonard Shlain undertakes a hypothetical dissection of the ancient master’s intellect, attributing the roots of his creativity to a particular arrangement of his gray and white matter. . . .Shlain applies modern neuroscience to probe one of history’s most innovative brains and uses da Vinci as a lens through which to view the broader issues of brain organization, creativity, and consciousness. . . . The work stands as the last in a line of probing and entertaining books from a thinker who possessed his own brand of genius.
Civil Engineering
Shlain succeeds in keeping Leonardo's Brain accessible and enjoyable. It is intellectual while remaining conversational and is certainly unlike the many, many other books written about da Vinci.
RappNews.com
Leonardo’s 500-year-old story continues to compel because, as Shlain writes, 'No other individual in the known history of the human species attained such distinction both in science and art as the hyper-curious, undereducated, illegitimate country boy from Vinci.'
San Francisco Book Review
The importance of Shlains’s end of life research offers us hopeful foundations that we can build upon in the areas when neurology and psychology meet. Now, not only are we able to study the effects of a stroke with a clearer idea of how to counteract the damage, we understand the differences in basic personality types.
From the Publisher
"Shlain's ability to synthesize not only information but also genuine wisdom across multiple and disparate disciplines was extraordinary." --Al Gore"By exploring Leonardo da Vinci's brain through the lens of contemporary neuroscience, Leonard Shlain not only celebrates da Vinci's legendary creativity, he shows how we can integrate and strengthen both sides of our minds and tap into the amazing possibilities within ourselves."—Arianna Huffington"This book is a gift from the heavens where Leonard Shlain is today and another bright example of his force and spirit shining through the prism of the mind of Leonardo da Vinci." —Norman LearPraise for Art & Physics:"a Tour de Force... a brilliant, accessible and visionary look the most revolutionary artists and scientists from the golden Age of Greece to the present." The Los Angeles TimesPraise for The Alphabet vs. The Goddess"Bold and fascinating" - The Washington Post Book World

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781493003358
Publisher:
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date:
10/21/2014
Edition description:
1st Edition
Pages:
240
Sales rank:
207,305
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.00(d)

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