The profound mysteries of creative thought have long intimidated the world's finest brains. How do you measure the imagination? How do you quantify an epiphany? These daunting questions led researchers to neglect the subject for hundreds of years. In Jonah Lehrer's ambitious and enthralling new book, we go in search of the epiphany.
Shattering the myth of creative 'types', Lehrer shows how new research is deepening our understanding of the human imagination. Creativity is not a 'gift' that only some possess. It's a term for a variety of distinct thought processes that we can all learn to use more effectively.
Some acts of imagination are best done sipping espresso in a crowded cafe, while others require long walks in a quiet park. Lehrer helps us fit our creative strategies to the task at hand. The journey begins with the fluttering of neurons in the prefrontal cortex, before moving out to consider how this new science can also make neighbourhoods more vibrant, companies more productive and schools more effective.
We'll learn about Bob Dylan's writing habits and the drug addiction of poets. We'll see why Elizabethan England experienced a creative explosion, and how Pixar designed its office space to get the most out of its talent. Collapsing the layers separating the neuron from the finished symphony, "Imagine" reveals the deep inventiveness of the human mind and its essential role in our increasingly complex world.