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Creating Minds: An Anatomy of Creativity Seen Through the Lives of Freud, Einstein, Picasso...by Howard Gardner
Synopses & Reviews
Howard Gardner changed the way we think about intelligence. In his classic work Frames of Mind, he undermined the common notion that intelligence is a single capacity that every human being possesses to a greater or lesser extent. Now building on the framework he developed for understanding intelligence, Gardner gives us a path breaking view of creativity, along with riveting portraits of seven figures who each reinvented an area of human endeavor. Using as a point of departure his concept of seven intelligences,” ranging from musical intelligence to the intelligence involved in understanding oneself, Gardner examines seven extraordinary individuals—Sigmund Freud, Albert Einstein, Pablo Picasso, Igor Stravinsky, T.S. Eliot, Martha Graham, and Mahatma Gandhi—each an outstanding exemplar of one kind of intelligence. Understanding the nature of their disparate creative breakthroughs not only sheds light on their achievements but also helps to elucidate the modern era”—the times that formed these creators and which they in turn helped to define. While focusing on the moment of each creators most significant breakthrough, Gardner discovers patterns crucial to our understanding of the creative process. Not surprisingly, Gardner believes that a single variety of creativity is a myth. But he supplies evidence that certain personality configurations and needs characterize creative individuals in our time, and that numerous commonalities color the ways in which ideas are conceived, articulated, and disseminated to the public. He notes, for example, that it almost invariably takes ten years to make the initial creative breakthrough and another ten years for subsequent breakthroughs. Creative people feature unusual combinations of intelligence and personality, and Gardner delineates the indispensable role of the circumstances in which an individual works and the crucial reactions of the surrounding group of informed peers. He finds that an essential element of the creative process is the support of caring individuals who believe in the revolutionary ideas of the creators. And he documents the fact that extraordinary creativity almost always carries with it extraordinary costs in human terms.
Book News Annotation:
Focused specifically on seven influential individuals--Freud, Einstein, Picasso, Stravinsky, Eliot, Graham, and Gandhi--born between 1856 and 1894 under the influence of Western European culture, this book recounts their specific achievements, along with the influence of their time and settings. In the introduction it both cautions that creativity in different fields can not be casually collapsed into generalities, but also notes that certain personality characteristics can be found in common. The book closes with a brief discussion of creativity across domains, along with an exploration of creativity after the modern era. Gardner (cognition and education, Harvard U.) is best known for his 1983 book Frames of Mind which outlined seven forms of human intelligence. This reprint of the 1993 edition includes a new preface and an updated bibliography. Annotation ©2012 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
The man who revolutionized our understanding of intelligence now gives us a pathbreaking view of creativity, along with riveting portraits of seven figures who each reinvented an area of human endeavor. Understanding their diverse achievements not only sheds light on the nature of creativity but also elucidates the modern era”—the times that formed them and that they in turn helped to define.
Since it was first published in 1993, Creating Minds has served as a peerless guide to the creative self. Now available as a paperback reissue with a new introduction by the author, the book uses portraits of seven extraordinary individuals to reveal the patterns that drive the creative process—and to demonstrate how circumstance also plays an indispensable role in creative success.
About the Author
Howard Gardner is the John H. and Elisabeth A. Hobbs Professor in Cognition and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Among numerous honors, Gardner received a MacArthur Prize Fellowship in 1981. In 1990, he was the first American to receive the University of Louisville's Grawemeyer Award in education. In 2000, he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
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