A Neuroscientist Reveals How to Think Differently
Harvard Business Press, 2010
EDUCATIONAL OBJECTIVES The reader will be able to:
• Apply neural principles to help clients think in an iconoclastic manner
• Describe how various innovative thinkers processed their world and explore psychological attributes present in innovation
• Describe how the brain receives, processes, and assimilates what is perceived
• Describe the connection between emotions and iconoclastic thinking
• Explore the relationship between imagination and the visual system
• Recognize when one sees the same thing repeatedly, the brain expends progressively less energy
• Demonstrate how to put oneself in new situations in order to make one see things differently and improve creativity
• Describe roadblock and how to demonstrate this to clients
• Help clients view reality differently, set fear aside and expand social intelligence
Gregory Berns is the Distinguished Professor of Neuroeconomics at Emory University, where he is Professor in the departments of Psychiatry and Economics, and at the Goizueta Business School.
No organization can survive without iconoclasts -- innovators who single-handedly upturn conventional wisdom and manage to achieve what so many others deem impossible. Though indispensable, true iconoclasts are few and far between. In Iconoclast, neuroscientist Gregory Berns explains why. He explores the constraints the human brain places on innovative thinking, including fear of failure, the urge to conform, and the tendency to interpret sensory information in familiar ways. Through vivid accounts of successful innovators ranging from glass artist Dale Chihuly to physicist Richard Feynman to country/rock trio the Dixie Chicks, Berns reveals the inner workings of the iconoclast's mind with remarkable clarity. Each engaging chapter goes on to describe practical actions we can each take to understand and unleash our own potential to think differently -- such as seeking out new environments, novel experiences, and first-time acquaintances. Packed with engaging stories, science-based insights, potent practices, and examples from a startling array of disciplines, this engaging book will help you understand how iconoclasts think and equip you to begin thinking more like an iconoclast yourself.
Psychiatry professor Berns (Satisfaction: The Science of Finding True Fulfillment) describes an iconoclast as "a person who does something that others say can't be done." Though keeping his promise to reveal the "biological basis" for the ability to think outside the box, Berns keeps technical explanation to a minimum, instead using themes like perception, fear and networking to profile a number of famous free-thinkers. While the ordinary person perceives the world based on his past experience and "what other people say," the iconoclast is both willing and able to risk seeing things differently; in the case of glass sculptor Dale Chihuly, his creative breakthrough (departing from symmetry in his ice-sculptures) came after a car crash blinded him in one eye, literally changing his view of the world. The will to take risks is also paramount; Cardinals baseball coach Branch Rickey and his controversial hire Jackie Robinson, the first black man in the Majors, provide models of imagination and fearlessness. Berns also looks at iconoclasts like Steve Jobs, Martin Luther King Jr., Henry Ford, the Dixie Chicks, Warren Buffett and Picasso, relating in lucid terms the mindsets that set them apart. --Publishers Weekly
This fascinating work lays out where great ideas come from, how our brain often works against us, and what we can do about it to seize the day. --Fast Company, Best Business Books of 2008