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The Runaway Species

by Anthony Brandt and David Engleman

Book Review

· Art Science Links,Creativity Tools,Book Review
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I knew I’d enjoy ‘The Runaway Species’ when I saw who the authors were, a composer named Anthony Brandt and a neuroscientist , David Eagleman, a true intersection of the brains behind art and science.

Over three sections they focus on why humans innovate, how we’re creative and then build a case for more creativity in our schools and workplaces.

The authors show how we spend our lives creating and seeking novelty, by building on the best of existing ideas and making then better. To innovate is human starts with how our brains strive to conserve energy by predicting what comes next, but as we get bored easily, we seek surprise. Creativity lies in that tension.

Using examples from technology, manufacturing and the modern art, creators remodel what they inherit. How, by relying on three basic brain strategies by which all ideas evolve: bending, breaking and blending.

Bending is “a makeover of an existing prototype through alterations.” Breaking is fragmentation. Blending “combines two or more sources in novel ways”.

Most of all I loved the way each chapter consistently threaded the links between creativity in the arts, sciences, and technology and celebrated how we create the future by understanding and embracing our ability to innovate.

The narrative is filled with tips on how to produce successful ideas – key themes we are reminded of – practice- experiment – have lots of ideas and most of all be prepared to let ideas go.