“Talent hits the target no one else can hit; Genius hits the target no one else can see.”
What better way to spend a cold winter’s evening than in a cozy hometown bookstore? And how about listening to a travel author give a lively talk about his globetrotting search for the connection between culture and creativity? In The Geography of Genius: A Search for the World’s Most Creative Places, bestselling writer Eric Weiner sets out to examine how surroundings affect our ability to generate innovative ideas. He explores the history of places across the globe and through the centuries, from ancient Athens and Renaissance Florence to Vienna, India, and Silicon Valley to show where and how geniuses like Mozart, Michelangelo, Freud, and Leonardo flourished.
In his reading and book chat, Eric shared some of his findings on nurturing creativity:
Geniuses aren’t born or made, they’re grown: innovators thrive when exposed to certain conditions:
there seems to be a creative ecology that nurtures innovation.
Studies show that when you give people more constraints and fewer materials, they tend to be more creative.
Creativity doesn’t flourish in perfect conditions — you won’t find it in paradise.
Creative discovery often requires a jolt from an outside circumstances.
Freewheeling conversations with no agendas in “third places” outside the home and work — the coffeehouses of old Vienna, for example — are a great source of creativity.
There’s something about cities and urban centers that seems to fuel creativity.
Openness to experience is the one trait that scientists see as most directly related to creativity.
People who are very creative are very good at throwing out lots of ideas, storing some of the bad ones in a deep freeze, and then circling back and connecting them to other ideas to produce something original.
Creativity rarely happens “when you are sitting hunched over at your desk trying to solve a problem. It’s more likely to happen when you are relaxing, taking a walk, and engaging in conversation and socializing.
How fascinating to think that there’s a connection between culture and creativity. And what a great idea for a book: exploring the link between geography and genius. It’s also heartening to know that constraints and challenges don’t inhibit creativity, they foster it. Write on