Book Review: The Creating Brain

The Creating Brain

A book review by Reg Adkins.
The Creating Brain: The Neuroscience of Genius (2005, Dana Press), by Nancy C. Andreason. This book is not written for the technical reader. It has a conversational tone and does very little to address neuroscience as the title would lead you to believe. However, the book is a good place to start if you are looking for an examination of the relationship between creativity and mental illness.

Andreason stipulates that there is indeed a correlation between creativity and certain type of mental illness.

The author notes some interesting statistics based on her study group.

  • 43% of accomplished writers show some form of bipolar brain function.
  • 80% of the writers studied had some form or mood disorder.

She goes so far as to say some forms of mental disorder may actually heighten creative thought.

There are actually some very interesting theories in the book about how creativity develops. Included is an examination of why some people are more creative than others.

The author also describes training and activities that are possible avenues for increasing your creative thought. But, will increasing my creative thought process also increase my risk of mental instability.

Many of us already feel our own specific perception of reality maybe somewhat and slightly askew.

At any rate, other than some annoying references to “Xanadu” (In Search of Xanadu, Reaching Xanadu…But, I must admit what the poem of Kublah Kahn had to do with brain study is beyond me) it is 197 pages of fairly interesting stuff.


The Creating Brain: The Neuroscience of Genius

Reg Adkins writes on behavior and the human experience at (

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