“The Brain is Fundamentally a Lazy Piece of Meat” Gregory Berns on iconoclasm and what neuroscience reveals about creativity


I am crazy about Iconoclast, a new book by Gregory Berns, out now via Harvard Business Press. Berns discusses the science behind creative thinking and how a creative professional or business professional (and don’t all of our jobs call for incredible creativity now with the economic situation, globalization and that whole digital revolution that changed the game?) can hack the normal processes of the brain in order to think creatively. 

This book reminds me of an incredible professor I had @ Emerson, Thomas Vogel, who assigned my creative principles class in college to take a weekly “artists date” that introduced new experiences into our routine in order to disorient our brain into having to “see with new eyes” (a quote from Proust featured in the book). 

It also reminds me of why I love being in this industry. Berns says we have to consistently throw ourselves into environments in which our “lazy piece of meat” brain has a hard time predicting what’s going to happen next. This forces our brain out of energy-saving static thinking and into fresh thinking and perception of our surroundings. As professionals in this space, we spend our days learning how to walk as a penguin in Club Penguin, learning how to fly in Second Life, learning how to develop microrelationships via communication that’s reduced to 140 characters. We’re in an especially ripe position to take advantage of everything Berns discusses in Iconoclast. 

Anyway, pick up the book. It’s one of the best I’ve read in a while.

-Amanda Mooney


4 Responses to ““The Brain is Fundamentally a Lazy Piece of Meat” Gregory Berns on iconoclasm and what neuroscience reveals about creativity”

  1. I insist, morning pages are the best thing ever. I keep meaning to buy a notebook for them and keep forgetting/getting distracted along the way… I should pick them up again and read Berns’ book. :)

  2. Helllllloooooo Amanda.
    I just got off the phone with Thomas Vogel and he directed me to your blog. I can say that this book sounds great, and yeah…we do distrupt our minds with every opportunity to do so. But at some point, is it disruption (TBWA’s mantra) or destruction? I am convinced that we slowly deteriorate our minds as creatives. Scatter brained fragments of humans. Maybe that is why we can’t get jobs as a creatives over the age of 25! lol. I think newness is good, disruption is good, challenge is good, and disorientation is good, but only as long as you are a strong person underneath it and are able to know how to control the process and when to step away from it…

  3. You might also enjoy two books I blogged about
    On Being Certain
    The Brain That Changes itself

  4. Thanks Kare- great suggestions. I’ll definitely have to check those out.

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