Cover image for Uncommon genius : how great ideas are born
Uncommon genius : how great ideas are born
Shekerjian, Denise G.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Viking, 1990.
Physical Description:
xxvi, 244 pages ; 21 cm
Corporate Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BF408 .S448 1990 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Those who wonder how Stephen Jay Gould got to be a master of scientific connections, or where Peter Sellars gets his off-beat opera ideas, will relish this exploration of the paths the gifted take to their accomplishments. The history of the prestigious MacArthur Prize and the creativity it recognizes are analyzed through interviews with 40 winners. Comments on creativity and work methods are accompanied by parallel discussions of psychological and historical thought on creativity and invention; the latter provide context for understanding the intellectual traits common to MacArthur fellows and to the creative approach. Winners reject the label of genius and relate experiences as mavericks in their chosen fields, compelled by individualism and usually marked by a lack of self-importance about what they have achieved. Doing what comes naturally is one of many tenets observed in fascinating glimpses into these unusually productive and inspiring lives. Notes; to be indexed. --Deanna Larson-Whiterod

Publisher's Weekly Review

Poets John Ashbery and Joseph Brodsky, ecologist Lester Brown, psychiatrist Robert Coles, paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould, filmmakers John Sayles and Frederick Wiseman, writers Brad Leithauser and Ved Mehta, woodworker Sam Maloof and comic Bill Irwin are among the 40 MacArthur fellows who discuss the subject of creativity with Shekerjian ( Competent Counsel ), who proves to be an effective interviewer and catalyst. They express their thoughts about talent and genius, instinct and judgment; the effects of despair, isolation and madness; and the importance of inspiration, drive and discipline, learning through doing, taking advantage of luck, ``staying loose'' and building resiliency. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

This is a well-written, breezy, at times eloquent jaunt through the subject of creativity with 40 MacArthur award winners, including psychiatrist Robert Coles, art historian Henry Kraus, and conservationist Patrick Noonan. Sherkerjian, a former attorney and author of Competent Council , provides glimpses of the creative process in lively prose that both helps explain the work of the Fellows and illuminates for the rest of us the process-oriented, risky, unpredictable, and often frustrating conditions under which creative strides are made. For adult and young adult readers, something creative and hopeful.--Terry McMaster, Utica Coll. of Syracuse Univ. Lib., N.Y. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.