How to think differently

This blog has been too idle too long.

I’ve been reading the book Iconoclast: A Neuroscientist Reveals How to Think Differently written by Emory professor of neuroeconomics, Gregory Berns. Berns uses brain-scanning technologies to explain the decision-making process of human minds. As such he is a highly respected researcher and speaker on the science of innovation.

According to his publicist, his book asks these questions:
+   what makes true innovators so creative, so successful — and so rare?
+   what makes them tick?
+   how can we learn to be a little more like them?’

Here’s more from Berns’ publicist:
Gregory Berns is the Distinguished Chair of Neuroeconomics at Emory University, where he is a professor in the departments of Psychiatry and Economics, and at the Gouzueta Business School. The field he has helped put on the map, Neuroeconomics, is, fittingly, a blend of neuroscience, economics and psychology. In his work, he is breaking ground in everything from the biological roots of political conflict to predicting which teenagers are likely to make fatally bad judgments. Even better, he possesses a rare ability to translate dense technical material for a general audience. He has been profiled — and his work has been ecstatically reviewed — in The New York Times, Forbes and The Wall Street Journal, as well as other leading business and science publications. In addition to Iconoclast: A Neuroscientist Reveals How to Think Differently, he is also the author of Satisfaction: The Science of Finding True Fulfillment.

I’m digging the book. Great research and surprising observations. It will sit proudly on my shelf next to the books of Roger Martin, Gary Hamel, and Rollo May‘s classic The Courage to Create. Well written and funny. Here are a few of my favorite lines:

“This is a story of the search for the holy grail of creativity,
an almost childlike imagination and willful abandonment to dream crazy thoughts.”

“Before one can muster the strength to tear down conventional thinking,
one must first imagine the possibility that conventional thinking is wrong.”

“The brain is fundamentally a lazy piece of meat.” You gotta love that.

“The brain takes shortcuts whenever it can.” Well, that would explain a lot, wouldn’t it.

Business leaders looking to compete by being more innovative would do well to read and follow the professor’s advice. Or they could ask an  artist or designer who’s experienced in managing creative teams.