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Publisher's Summary

Travel the world with Eric Weiner, the New York Times best-selling author of The Geography of Bliss, as he journeys from Athens to Silicon Valley - and throughout history, too - to show how creative genius flourishes in specific places at specific times.
In The Geography of Genius, acclaimed travel writer Weiner sets out to examine the connection between our surroundings and our most innovative ideas. He explores the history of places, like Vienna of 1900, Renaissance Florence, ancient Athens, Song Dynasty Hangzhou, and Silicon Valley, to show how certain urban settings are conducive to ingenuity. And, with his trademark insightful humor, he walks the same paths as the geniuses who flourished in these settings to see if the spirit of what inspired figures like Socrates, Michelangelo, and Leonardo remains. In these places, Weiner asks, "What was in the air, and can we bottle it?"
This link can be traced back through history: Darwin's theory of evolution gelled while he was riding in a carriage. Freud did his best thinking at his favorite coffeehouse. Beethoven, like many geniuses, preferred long walks in the woods.
Sharp and provocative, The Geography of Genius redefines the argument about how genius came to be. His reevaluation of the importance of culture in nurturing creativity is an informed romp through history that will surely jump-start a national conversation.
©2016 Eric Weiner (P)2016 Simon & Schuster
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Customer Reviews

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By Pam on 07-10-16

Strained conclusions

An interesting romp trough some of the global nexuses of brilliant work. Lots of historical perspective but also lots of hasty conclusions, perhaps driven by the author' s preconceptions. A case in point. Presumption: The church (or religion in general) squelched creativity. No genius could develop in its "shadow". The author coveniently disregards Copernicus, Mendel, Bacon, Ockham and many others. Might the church also be a super-geographic locatiom of genius? Another example is the concept of "phase transition" as a brilliancy driver. Increase the population density and a non linear dramatic change will happen. The analogy to states of matter is unfortunate. Yes, water will transition to ice under pressure but only under enormous pressure thousands of times atmospheric (or all the ocean bottoms would be solid ice). A lot easier to just slow a sparse population down a little (cool) to get the same effect...

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful


By Mehrad Ahari on 06-15-16

Fun and informative read. That's all

This is an entertaining and informative book. well written and well researched. But the theories put forward by the author are shaky at best. He takes us to places of concentrated genius yet his explanation on the nature of genius are more anecdotal than scientific.
I was a bit dissapointed not to see places like Paris in the 20s or Abbasid Baghdad in the list, but one cannot cover everything in one book. All things considered, I do highly recommend this book.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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By DR on 07-01-16

Total Genius

Dear Eric Weiner - I simply loved this book - so beautifully written and narrated also. You said at one point that you are too late for genius. Not so Sir - you are a genius and this book is evidence of it - well done and very best wishes.

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