Uncommon Genius: How Great Ideas are Born

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9780140109863: Uncommon Genius: How Great Ideas are Born

Drawing on interviews with 40 winners of the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship—the so-called "genius awards"—the insightful study throws fresh light on the creative process.

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At the age of 38, John D. MacArthur, a destitute high-school dropout, borrowed $2,500 to buy the Bankers Life & Casualty Company of Chicago; eight years later he'd made a million dollars. At the time of his death in 1978 he was the second-richest man in America and "notoriously tightfisted." But he left most of his two-and-a-half-billion-dollar estate in the form of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, with only these instructions to his board of trustees: "I figured out how to make the money, you boys figure out how to spend it." Thus the MacArthur Prize, also known as the "genius grant," was born. The award cannot be applied for, and it is not limited to any particular field of interest. Its purpose "is to promote those leaps of creative thinking that may occur when gifted people are left to their own devices." For Uncommon Genius, Shekerjian interviewed forty MacArthur Prize winners--John Sayles, Peter Sellars, Ellen Stewart, and Derek Walcott among them--in an attempt to discover "how great ideas are born." While much of what she learns about the creative impulse is not exactly groundbreaking--it involves risk-taking, openness, concentration, resiliency, and a great love of the work--spending time with the creators she has chosen to include is fascinating. They bring these broad concepts to life by inviting us into their studios, offices, labs, even dorm rooms (the youngest interviewee, Mayan epigraphist David Stuart, was a Princeton student at the time) and discussing their own creative processes. There is much to be gleaned here, not only about how creativity applies itself to various fields (community action, political science, writing, art history, woodworking, and even being a clown), but about how to nurture your own "creative genius." --Jane Steinberg

About the Author:

Denise Shekerjian is a writer, author, and attorney. Shekerjian has published two nonfiction books and nearly a dozen literary essays. She also assists clients with memoirs, blogs, resumes, essays, grants, and other nonfiction material. Her writing specialties are the creative process, law, and politics. She has received two Pushcart Prize nominations, a New Jersey Council on the Arts award and was a Marshall Fellow in Civil Liberties. She holds an honorary doctorate in letters from the University of Vermont.

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Denise Shekerjian
Published by Penguin Books Ltd, United States (1991)
ISBN 10: 0140109862 ISBN 13: 9780140109863
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Book Description Penguin Books Ltd, United States, 1991. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reissue. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. Everyone from the budding entrepreneur to the weekend writer is looking for a great idea. Even Friedrich Nietzsche said that ideas come when they want, not when I want. But where do great ideas come from? In this searching look into the essence of creativity, forty winners of the coveted MacArthur Foundation Fellowship - the so-called genius award - provide a glimpse inside their own experience of the creative process. Paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould, opera director Peter Sellars, poets Joseph Brodsky and Brad Leithauser, social scientists Robert Coles and Sarah Lawrence Lightfoot, and others in fields as diverse as filmmaking, carpentry, and anthropology reveal how they sneak up on creativity. Blending conversation, theory, and examples from literature and life, this absorbing, thought-provoking book will also show you how to harness the creative spark in your life. Bookseller Inventory # BTE9780140109863

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Book Description Penguin Books Ltd, United States, 1991. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reissue. Language: English . Brand New Book. Everyone from the budding entrepreneur to the weekend writer is looking for a great idea. Even Friedrich Nietzsche said that ideas come when they want, not when I want. But where do great ideas come from? In this searching look into the essence of creativity, forty winners of the coveted MacArthur Foundation Fellowship - the so-called genius award - provide a glimpse inside their own experience of the creative process. Paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould, opera director Peter Sellars, poets Joseph Brodsky and Brad Leithauser, social scientists Robert Coles and Sarah Lawrence Lightfoot, and others in fields as diverse as filmmaking, carpentry, and anthropology reveal how they sneak up on creativity. Blending conversation, theory, and examples from literature and life, this absorbing, thought-provoking book will also show you how to harness the creative spark in your life. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780140109863

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Book Description Penguin Books Ltd, United States, 1991. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reissue. Language: English . Brand New Book. Everyone from the budding entrepreneur to the weekend writer is looking for a great idea. Even Friedrich Nietzsche said that ideas come when they want, not when I want. But where do great ideas come from? In this searching look into the essence of creativity, forty winners of the coveted MacArthur Foundation Fellowship - the so-called genius award - provide a glimpse inside their own experience of the creative process. Paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould, opera director Peter Sellars, poets Joseph Brodsky and Brad Leithauser, social scientists Robert Coles and Sarah Lawrence Lightfoot, and others in fields as diverse as filmmaking, carpentry, and anthropology reveal how they sneak up on creativity. Blending conversation, theory, and examples from literature and life, this absorbing, thought-provoking book will also show you how to harness the creative spark in your life. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780140109863

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