Aha!: The Moments of Insight That Shape Our World Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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Great ideas often develop gradually after studying a problem at length--but not always. Sometimes an insight hits like a bolt from the blue. For Archimedes clarity struck while he was taking a bath. For Gustav Mahler it came as the blades of his oars touched the water. And for Albert Einstein it emerged while he was talking to a friend. Why do these moments of insight strike so suddenly? Why do they so often come to us when we are focused on something completely unrelated? And when great ideas "come to" us, from where do they come? In Aha!: The Moments of Insight That Shape Our World, philosopher William B. Irvine, author of A Guide to the Good Life and On Desire, explores these epiphanies, from the minor insights that strike us all daily to the major realizations that alter the course of history. Focusing on aha moments as they take place in five different domains--religion, morality, science, math, and art --Irvine provides case studies that shed light on the different ways epiphanies happen in the different domains and on their differing social impacts. Along the way he describes some of the great aha moments in history, from ancient times to the present day.
We like to think that our greatest thoughts are the products of our conscious mind. Irvine demonstrates, though, that it is our unconscious mind that is the source of our most significant insights, and the role the conscious mind plays in eliciting these insights is to try, unsuccessfully, to solve certain problems. Only if the conscious mind is willing to do this--and thereby experience considerable frustration--is the unconscious mind likely to reward it with a breakthrough insight--for which the conscious mind will then take credit.
Irvine explores not only the neuroscience of aha moments but also their personal and social ramifications. How does a person respond to having a breakthrough insight that goes against a dominant paradigm? And how does the world respond when she shares that insight? Irvine shows that in many cases, what is most remarkable about those who have had the great insights of human history is their courage and perseverance in fighting for the world to accept those insights.
Aha! is a must-read for cognitive scientists, intellectual historians, philosophers, and anyone who has ever been blown away by the ideas that enlighten us when we least expect it.
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|Listening Length||9 hours and 21 minutes|
|Author||William B. Irvine|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||January 29, 2015|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #202,320 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#1,831 in Philosophy History & Survey
#2,647 in Medical Cognitive Psychology
#2,927 in Philosophy (Audible Books & Originals)
Top reviews from the United States
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Books on insight that do not reference Gary Klein's work are deficient as he studied closely and more scientifically the types and circumstances under which aha moments occur. One thing he established is that incubation is not as frequent or consistent as people think. If Irvine weer aware of that, he may not have written a chapter on it.
Despite its small format the book is lengthy at over 300 pages. There was something in the writing style that I could not quite put my finger on that made it ponderous to go through, given the relatively simple subject matter. Irvine's other books were far more engaging.
Top reviews from other countries
Although there was a bit of that, nothing much was substantial enough in helping to understand the process. The 5 categories also helped a little, but were more like interesting anecdotes of how aha moments work in different fields.
I found the religion one very vague in any scientific way, so skipped most of it. There were some interesting tidbits, like the ideas of preparation incubation, illumination and verification. These don't work in all realms, but made some sense to me.
Other than that, not much of substance was here.