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The Eureka Factor: Aha Moments, Creative Insight, and the Brain

A few months ago I reviewed “Seeing What Others Don’t” by Gary Klein about the power of insight and how to get it. In this book Kounios and Beeman finish what Klein started by delving into the brain and its inner workings. Simply put, I am constantly surprised and frequently amazed at how our brains work. What the brain does on a daily basis just to keep us alive as well as what it is capable of achieving is hard to believe.

Kounios and Beeman are both neuroscientists whose explanation of cognitive brain function and analytical problem solving is complex. Yet it is told in such a way to make the complex , well, simple! The book tackles an intangible: how do we get insight? What happens in the brain when the lightbulb turns on? And how can we replicate it, or even can we? How can we tune into the power of the brain to get some more of that?

This topic can seem a bit overwhelming. The authors use of research and real life examples make it a very enjoyable read. The book is populated with great stories and pop culture references to make it more topical and less clinical. In one example used to illustrate a concept in the book, Paul McCartney wrote the song “Yesterday” from a flash of inspiration he had in a dream. Helen Keller’s “Eureka!” moment came when learning the word “water". Read this book and you may find your “Eureka!” moment.


John Kounios and Mark Beeman


Random House



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