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Book The Aha! Moment: A Scientist's Take on Creativity by David Jones (2011-12-12)


The Aha! Moment: A Scientist's Take on Creativity by David Jones (2011-12-12)

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  • PDF | Unknown pages
  • Johns Hopkins University Press (1750)
  • Unknown
  • 6
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Review Text

  • By Jim Stone on April 10, 2012

    This is a brilliant book about creativity by one of the most creative minds of the times. It is structured as a series of anecdotes, some of them covering parts of the history of science, some personal. As a long time fan of Daedalus, I may be just a little bit biased, but I should like to see this book used in schools to make it clear what motivates practising scientists and also to show how very personal and human an activity Science is, and also what enormous fun it provides the thinking person.I have doubts about the likelihood of this making uncreative people creative, the rigid minded, bureaucratic and power hungry will hate this book. But hey, who cares what the chicken-brained think?Can one learn to be more creative? Dr. Jones thinks that most people can, and gives his take on how to go about it.He pretty much ignores the standard literature, and there are good reasons for this. Which would you rather learn how to tell jokes from, a brilliant stand-up comedian or by reading Sigmund Freud on Humour? The connections between humour and creativity are not enlarged upon, but they animate the entire book.The gentle warmth and kindliness of the good Dr. Jones shine through, his fascination with the amazing world we live in, this is almost sutobiography in effect, the humanity of the scientific enterprise is deep in the texture of the book. This beautiful unassuming book deserves to be a classic.

  • By bronx book nerd on February 21, 2012

    This book was written by a scientist (a chemist) who had a ongoing column where he proposed apparently ridiculous ideas. Some of his ideas, it turned out, were not that crazy and were eventually carried out by him or others. The author, David Jones, also tried out some of his ideas on television. This book is the author's perspective on creativity - how he instigated it in himself, his theories about how creativity works, and examples from his professional and journalistic careers. I found it interesting that Jones never referred to any of the standard creativity authorities - De Bono, Osborne, etc - but instead develops his theory of creativity independently of the conventional wisdom on the same. As it turns out, his theory is an almost one-for-one match with what is already out there. Jones refers to his RIG, or Random Idea Generator, which is essentially his subconscious mind that plays with ideas and throws them back up to his conscious mind. He also refers to his Censor, which is the part of his mind which judges and filters potentially troublesome or silly ideas out. Jones strongly advises quieting the censor. Jones also advises using humor to generate creative ideas. In these and other components of his theory on creativity he is in line with the current state of knowledge. What's particularly useful is that he is not only a creativity theorist but also a practitioner and he is one in various fields of science. His work is filled with various examples of how he arrived at creative solutions to various problems and challenges. He also has a chapter on inventions he feels the world is missing, showing again via this chapter how he applies his creative mind to different topics. The only downside to his work is that he goes into great scientific details in some of his examples, about chemical bonds for example, or about the characteristics of certain chemicals or metals. For someone who thought they were done with this much detail after high school, some of this may be too much. Then again, here and there some of the details were quite interesting. These examples have made me think a little more deeply about some of the scientific aspects of daily life. This could lead to some interesting musings. The greatest benefit of this book, however, is that it encourages the reader to look at their own field and become curious in a deeper way, and ask more penetrating questions about why things are the way they are, in the hopes that this probing may result in some creative ideas.

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