Fire in the Crucible: The Alchemy of Creative Genius

John Briggs, Author St. Martin's Press $18.95 (382p) ISBN 978-0-312-01383-7
Like a medieval alchemist, a genius is one who is driven to discover a new material form, a philosopher's stone, to capture some nonmaterial truth or essence. Alchemy is the guiding metaphor for Briggs's probe into the nature of genius, yet he is no mystic. Interviews with brain scientists, systems theorists, cognitive psychologists and physicists undergird his investigation. Briggs, coauthor of Looking Glass Universe, finds that geniuses are motivated by a drive to wholeness, a commitment to their gut feelings about how the world worksor ought to. In sifting the creative processes of Einstein, Picasso, Virginia Woolf, Emily Dickinson, Nikola Tesla and many others, he resorts to wily concepts devised by his intervieweesomnivalence (an openness to ambivalence), simultaneous opposition (thinking in opposites rapidly), nuance and possibility clouds. His refreshingly open-ended approach brings us closer to the elusive nature of genius. (July)
Reviewed on: 06/03/1988
Release date: 06/01/1988
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 382 pages - 978-0-87477-547-1
Hardcover - 382 pages - 978-1-890482-78-7
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