The most creative solutions to difficult problems often seem to come out of nowhere. The mysterious nature of the “sudden flash of insight” has given rise to the myth of inspiration — the idea that brilliant ideas are visited upon us by some mysterious force or deity. That if your muse is being fickle today, all you can do is sit around and wait.
In fact, as Jonah Lehrer explains in his new book “Imagine: How Creativity Works,” neuroscientists are beginning to understand those flashes of creative genius that give rise to inventions like the Swiffer, or Bob Dylan’s groundbreaking tune “Like a Rolling Stone.”
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Jonathan Fowler and Elizabeth Rodd
Jonah Lehrer is an American author and journalist who writes on the topics of psychology, neuroscience, and the relationship between science and the humanities. He has published three books. Simon Ings has written, “Lehrer fancies himself — and not without reason — as a sort of one-man third culture, healing the rift between sciences and humanities by communicating and contrasting their values in a way that renders them comprehensible to partisans of either camp.”
Jonah is a contributing Editor at Wired and the author of How We Decide, Proust Was a Neuroscientist, and Imagine: How Creativity Works. He is a frequent contributor to the New Yorker and WNYC’s radio program RadioLab, and writes the Head Case column for the Wall Street Journal.