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Strange Brains And Genius

1 rating: 3.0
A book by Clifford A. Pickover

What is the connection between genius and madness? IBM-based polymath Clifford Pickover approaches the question in a characteristically eclectic way. First he looks at the lives of a collection of eccentric scientists, from Nikolai Tesla to the Unabomber, … see full wiki

Tags: Books, Cafe Libri
Author: Clifford A. Pickover
Publisher: Basic Books
1 review about Strange Brains And Genius

Unusual actions of people who think differently

  • Oct 8, 2000
If a strange brain is by definition one that is outside the "norm" then that of a genius is strange by definition. Incremental progress in fields of human endeavor is generally the purview of those whose thoughts reside within the standard band. However, the great leaps are often performed by those whose minds work differently, generating thoughts that are sometimes great. However, there still appears to be some form of 80/20 "rule" that applies to genius as well. This refers to the situation where 80 percent of the work is done by 20 percent of the workers. Applied to the strange brains, this means that 80 percent of what these brains generate is very unusual and often counterproductive. While Pickover does mention the successes, the bulk of this book is an examination of the unusual 80 percent.
The personalities described here range from the Unabomber Ted Kaczynski to the electrical genius Nikola Tesla. It is fascinating to read of the odd nature of these people. Clearly, if it were not for the tremendous creative talents that they exhibited, drugs and extended time in a lockup would have been their lot in life. It is a well-known principle of science that to begin to understand phenomena, you first examine the unusual cases. That most likely holds true in the understanding of genius as well. If cases like this are examined, it may be possible to learn why some brains seem to perform better than others.
This is a book about unusual people rather than the science that their talents produced. For that reason, this is a book about scientists that everyone can enjoy. Although at times, it may appear to be something that would best be read in Halloween style circumstances.

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