The Creating Brain

  • by Nancy C. Andreasen
  • Narrated by Kate Reading
  • 6 hrs and 50 mins
  • Abridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In a fascinating tour of creativity and the brain, Nancy Andreasen, professor of psychiatry at the University of Iowa and the winner of the National Medal of Science, explores how the human brain achieves creative breakthroughs--in art, literature, music, and science--the role of genes and environment, extraordinary creativity vs. ordinary creativity, and the question of genius and insanity.She examines what extraordinary creators have said about creating and how their insights reflect particular qualities of creative people, and she includes her fascinating interview with the playwright Neil Simon, in which he described how his mind and brain work. This book offers insight into what creates the creative brain as well as advice to nurture creativity in both children and adults.

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What the Critics Say

"Our leading authority on creativity reveals herself with this splendid book as one of the most valuably creative persons of our time." (Kurt Vonnegut)
"The author's passion and admiration for creative genius and the arts...is evidenced in her exploration...vividly describe[s] mental activities that are anything but ordinary." (Publisher's Weekly)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Well written history of creativity

The author has an amazing story of overcoming obstacles and earning a PHd and a MD. I liked the book it was well written. I did think this book would have had more neuroscience in it. I was expecting a Golemanesque (Daniel Goleman, Emotional Intelligence) type of book with detailed descriptions of functional brain system and the latest research. The book had a little of this.

The book includes an excellent history of the science of creativity, which I thought was interesting and worth reading. The author talks at length about some creative people like DaVinci and other artists, which was well done.

However I did think the mixture of literary criticism with a little bit neuroscience was a bit haphazard at times. I would have preferred a more in depth approach to the brain science of creativity. Which would talk about specific brain systems instead of trying to merge art, history, literary criticism, and neuroscience. Even though the author's intent is to show that such a synthesis is in itself creative.

I still recommend you listen to it because while I was reading the book I had a creative explosion in my mind, turned off my ipod and sat on a park bench for 2 hours scribbling some notes about an idea I thought was novel. Check it out.
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- William

A Big Disappointment

I went into this with low expectations, and I was still disappointed. Not only does the author misunderstand the meaning of some key concepts (e.g., heritability), she also presents lots of controversial research without appropriate discussion. Also, the book reads as a little "self-helpy". Furthermore, the reader announces every single syllable, causing her to mispronounce some of them. I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone.
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- Laura

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-10-2008
  • Publisher: Dana Press