The Runaway Species
A review of

The Runaway Species

How Human Creativity Remakes the World

Bending, Breaking and Blending

by David Meyer

Neuroscientist David Eagleman and composer Anthony Brandt offer a primer on the intersection of culture and creation and of novelty and predictability in pursuit of a unified theory of creation.

Humans are uniquely creative because the brain is hardwired for ingenuity, and geared for breaking down problems and for answering “what if” questions. Neuroscientist David Eagleman – who also wrote Livewired; The Brain; and Incognito – and composer Anthony Brandt explore the powerful techniques that creators use, almost without conscious thought, to “bend, break and blend” ideas to make something new. Eagleman and Brandt describe processes that generate invention. They provide inspiring historical examples and sound advice for organizations seeking to unleash creative talent.


Eagleman and Brandt tell how, in the early 20th century, artist Pablo Picasso used what little money he had to buy a canvas and begin a painting of five prostitutes. As Picasso worked, his painting became increasingly less realistic. Over time, the painting became more famous and influential.

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