The Runaway Species

How Human Creativity Remakes the World


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Book Description

This enlightening examination of creativity looks “at art and science together to examine how innovations . . . build on what already exists and rely on three brain operations: bending, breaking and blending” (The Wall Street Journal)

The Runaway Species is a deep dive into the creative mind, a celebration of the human spirit, and a vision of how we can improve our future by understanding and embracing our ability to innovate. David Eagleman and Anthony Brandt seek to answer the question: what lies at the heart of humanity’s ability—and drive—to create?

Our ability to remake our world is unique among all living things. But where does our creativity come from, how does it work, and how can we harness it to improve our lives, schools, businesses, and institutions?

Eagleman and Brandt examine hundreds of examples of human creativity through dramatic storytelling and stunning images in this beautiful, full–color volume. By drawing out what creative acts have in common and viewing them through the lens of cutting–edge neuroscience, they uncover the essential elements of this critical human ability, and encourage a more creative future for all of us.

The Runaway Species approach[es] creativity scientifically but sensitively, feeling its roots without pulling them out.” —The Economist

About the Authors

Praise For This Book

“The authors look at art and science together to examine how innovations—from Picasso’s initially offensive paintings to Steve Jobs’s startling iPhone—build on what already exists and rely on three brain operations: bending, breaking and blending. This manifesto of sorts shows how both disciplines foster creativity.”
The Wall Street Journal

The Runaway Species approach[es] creativity scientifically but sensitively, feeling its roots without pulling them out.”
The Economist

“Unravels the interplay of art, neuroscience and evolution, while celebrating the special thing that is human innovation.”

“An intriguing and riveting mélange of perspectives that successfully delineates what creativity and innovation are about. It is an outstanding and inspirational volume that will have a broad and global appeal. It will categorically transport the reader into the past and the future fusing them together as one scientific structure, constituting an electrifying and enlightening scholarly reading.”
The Inquisitive Mind

“It’s a belter of a book for anyone with an interest in neuroscience, creativity or education . . . Understanding ourselves and our creativity is a journey that also helps us to understand what makes us human. The Runaway Species not only makes the complex readable, but also opens a fascinating world that exists between predictability and surprise.”
Business Hitchhiker

“Which inventions have had the most impact—and why? What can they teach us about game–changing innovation? And how will science and technology revolutionize our lives next? The rest of The Runaway Species sheds light on these issues . . . bolstered by delightful visuals.”
Harvard Business Review

“Readers familiar with David Eagleman’s writing will encounter the clever analogies that typify his style. Co–author Anthony Brandt, a professor at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, adds rich texture and scope to their speculations. It is not obvious what NASA and Picasso have in common. Nor what flamboyant hairstyles, bicycles, or stadium designs share. But the answers seem obvious once the links are pointed out.”
—Richard E. Cytowic, New York Journal of Books

“With the pleasing pace of an extended essay, the book offers surprises and insights at every turn, and the authors argue convincingly that basic strategies inform most creative behavior. . . Essential—and highly pleasurable—reading for anyone who cares about ideas and innovation.”
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Art and science converge in this beautiful collaboration . . . Divided into three parts, this inquiry covers a complicated set of connected topics in an engaging and surprisingly accessible way . . . Packed with vivid images, countless examples, and fun facts that will leave readers eager to discuss it with friends, this is a refreshing and thought–provoking book that captures both the wonder of science and the beauty of the human spirit.”

“A nice and highly readable introduction for laypersons to human creativity . . . The book is chock full of well–chosen and interesting illustrations that greatly enhance the value of the narrative . . . This book has many positive features. First, writing a successful trade book on creativity is hard to do well. Some of the books tend to be too scholarly; others are just pop psychology with no theoretical or empirical basis . . . This book is both scientifically strong and accessible to the public. Second, the book is highly readable. It never gets bogged down in jargon and is lavishly illustrated to show how its concepts can be understood in concrete, practical terms. The book is never boring . . . The Runaway Species is an engaging and worthwhile book. We recommend it with enthusiasm to those interested in learning about creativity and how it has impacted and can impact society and its development.”
—Robert J. Sternberg, The American Journal of Psychiatry