The Super Fun Kids' Graphic Novel Sale

Special Offers see all

Enter to WIN a $100 Credit

Subscribe to
for a chance to win.
Privacy Policy

Visit our stores

    Recently Viewed clear list

    Contributors | September 15, 2015

    Mary Karr: IMG Memoir Tutorials with Mary Karr, Lena Dunham, and Gary Shteyngart

    Editor's note: It's been 20 years since the groundbreaking memoir The Liars' Club sent Mary Karr into the literary spotlight with its phenomenal... Continue »
    1. $17.49 Sale Hardcover add to wish list

      The Art of Memoir

      Mary Karr 9780062223067

Qualifying orders ship free.
New Hardcover
Ships in 1 to 3 days
Add to Wishlist
available for shipping or prepaid pickup only
Available for In-store Pickup
in 7 to 12 days
Qty Store Section
25 Remote Warehouse Psychology- General

More copies of this ISBN

Origins of Genius: Darwinian Perspectives on Creativity


Origins of Genius: Darwinian Perspectives on Creativity Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

How can we account for the sudden appearance of such dazzling artists and scientists as Mozart, Shakespeare, Darwin, or Einstein? How can we define such genius? What conditions or personality traits seem to produce exceptionally creative people? Is the association between genius and madness really just a myth? These and many other questions are brilliantly illuminated in The Origins of Genius.

Dean Simonton convincingly argues that creativity can best be understood as a Darwinian process of variation and selection. The artist or scientist generates a wealth of ideas, and then subjects these ideas to aesthetic or scientific judgment, selecting only those that have the best chance to survive and reproduce. Indeed, the true test of genius is the ability to bequeath an impressive and influential body of work to future generations. Simonton draws on the latest research into creativity and explores such topics as the personality type of the genius, whether genius is genetic or produced by environment and education, the links between genius and mental illness (Darwin himself was emotionally and mentally unwell), the high incidence of childhood trauma, especially loss of a parent, amongst Nobel Prize winners, the importance of unconscious incubation in creative problem-solving, and much more. Simonton substantiates his theory by examining and quoting from the work of such eminent figures as Henri Poincare, W. H. Auden, Albert Einstein, Marie Curie, Charles Darwin, Niels Bohr, and many others.

For anyone intrigued by the spectacular feats of the human mind, The Origins of Genius offers a revolutionary new way of understanding the very nature of creativity.

Book News Annotation:

Simonton (psychology, U. of California-Davis) argues that creativity can best be understood as a Darwinian process of variation and selection. Then he uses that construction to explore the sudden appearances of dazzling artists and scientists, the definition of genius, the conditions or personality traits that seem to produce exceptionally creative people, and the association between genius and madness.
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

About the Author

Dean Simonton is Professor of Psychology at the University of California at Davis. The recipient of the Francis Galton Prize, he is the author of Genius, Creativity, and Leadership, Scientific Genius, Why Presidents Succeed, and other books. He lives in Davis, California.

Table of Contents

Genius and Darwin: the surprising connections — Cognition: how does the brain create? — Variation: is genius brilliant, or mad? — Development : are geniuses born, or made? — Products: by what works shall we know them? — Groups: the right place and the right time? — Darwinian genius: the future of an idea.

Product Details

Simonton, Dean Keith
Oxford University Press, USA
null, Dean Keith
New York :
Creative Ability
Psychology | Cognitive
Darwin, Charles
PSYCHOLOGY / Cognitive Psychology
Psychology : General
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
4 line illus
9.2 x 6.1 x 1.2 in 1.3 lb

Other books you might like

  1. Lesbians, Gays, and the Empowerment... New Trade Paper $41.50

Related Subjects

Health and Self-Help » Psychology » General
Health and Self-Help » Self-Help » Memory and Thinking Skills

Origins of Genius: Darwinian Perspectives on Creativity New Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$74.95 In Stock
Product details 320 pages Oxford University Press - English 9780195128796 Reviews:
  • back to top


Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at