The Genius Checklist: Nine Paradoxical Tips on How You Can Become a Creative Genius!

Dean Keith Simonton. MIT, $29.95 (336p) ISBN 978-0-262-03811-9
Simonton (Origins of Genius), a psychology professor emeritus at U.C. Davis, uses a tongue-in-cheek how-to format to provide readers with a surprisingly swift and wry overview of the occasionally contradictory factors that can foster creative genius. (One chapter is titled “Be the Oldest Kid in Your Family/Make Sure You’re Born Last.”) The arguments are balanced between historical anecdotes, featuring famed and obscure figures alike (respectively including Marie Curie and ill-fated child prodigy William James Sidis), and psychological case studies. Simonton’s enthusiasm for the topic is evident as he traces the field of genius research from its origins in the controversial work of Francis Galton to the pivotal development of standardized IQ tests. Well-deployed humor (“Hence the optimal advice is to prepare yourself for failure with the aspiration that a success or two will finally come your way. That’s not a very encouraging suggestion, to be sure, but certainly the most realistic”) will help make the more complex, academically oriented passages digestible to a broad audience. Though the book may not provide its readers with a clear path to attaining genius, it will certainly leave them with a better appreciation of the multitude of factors that underlie high levels of achievement. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/27/2018
Release date: 09/01/2018
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-0-262-53795-7
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