Customer Review

Reviewed in the United States on March 9, 2015
I found reading through this book somewhat tedious. It may not be the author's fault, however, as I have read many books on creativity and the creative process, and many of the points and examples were very familiar to me. What was different about this take on "Aha" moments is that Irvine included religious and moral epiphanies in his study. I have never read a book on insight or creativity that included these types of insights. Irvine discusses the religious revelations of Muhammad and Joseph Smith, for example, and how someone in their shoes responds to them, as well as the reactions of those with whom they share their revelations. Irvine also discusses "moral" aha moments, like the one experienced by Gandhi when he was thrown off a train in South Africa. In these instances, an individual's moral beliefs are challenged, and he or she needs to decide how to act from that point forward. Strangely, Irvine opens the discussion about moral revelations with an example of consensual adult incest. Later on he tells us that his views on this have now changed, without explicitly stating what side he was on to begin with and where he ended. The other major areas of aha moments he covers are in mathematics, science and the arts. For the first, the discoverer usually has the comfort of certainty when he or she solves a problem; it is not like science where almost no conclusion is ever final. In art, except for a few exceptions, aha moments are small and gradual, more like trial and error that eureka.

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.
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