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The Aha! Moment: A Scientist's Take on Creativity Paperback – 12 Dec 2011

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Product details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press (12 Dec. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1421403315
  • ISBN-13: 978-1421403311
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.7 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 829,235 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


The Aha! Moment is not bogged down with scientific detail and tech talk; in fact, it asks a multitude of absurd questions meant to promote innovative and logical brainstorming. Jones gives dozens of examples from his own body of work... While his examples dominate more than half of the book, they are intriguing and stimulating, acting as a means to promote creativity in fellow scientists and artists.

(Aimee Jodoin Foreword Reviews)

A top pick not to be limited to science holdings, this will reach many a general-interest reader with its fascinating, readable and lively insights.

(Midwest Book Review)

David Jones sees himself as the court jester of science and, as with jesters of old, he is allowed to say things that other mortals might think but dare not speak... Most of the book is an eclectic blend of Jones the chemist and Daedalus the mad scientist and together they make entertaining reading. You’d be mad not to buy it

(John Emsley Chemistry World)

A practical blueprint to bolster one's own creative process, a treasure map to innovative insights.

(Bob Grant The Scientist)

A fascinating insight into one man's never-ending search for ideas.

(Jessica Griggs New Scientist)

About the Author

Now retired, David Jones continues to publish challenging articles, mostly for Chemistry World. He has worked in academia, industry, and television. A constant stimulus for his creativity was his weekly Daedalus column, probably the longest-running joke in science. Daedalus was the court jester in the Palace of Science; he appeared in New Scientist, Nature, and the Guardian newspaper. Each week Daedalus took some well-known bit of science and pushed it to a clever and often preposterous extreme―which sometimes came true. Daedalus frequently leaks into The Aha! Moment.

Inside This Book

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 12 Jun. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I don't know why, given the awe I feel for the author, it's taken me several months to write this tiny little review. David Jones' excellent book may have had its roots in a lunchtime stroll I enjoyed with him around the sunken garden in the grounds of IBM's UK software laboratory in Hursley in the summer of 2004. But those roots have very clearly been nourished by a life-long creative impulse, coupled with good-natured humour, that I can only deeply envy.

He seeks to explain, using his scientific and engineering background, all the diverse forms of human creativity across the arts, the sciences, and indeed the act of writing itself. If you've ever encountered "DREADCO" or that charmer Daedalus (which you could have done regularly during the last 40 years or more in "New Scientist" magazine, the "Guardian" newspaper, and the journal "Nature") you will already have a good idea of what to expect: the unexpected, sideways, offbeat examination of everyday phenomena (across the whole arena of what used to be called natural philosophy) from sometimes bizarre and often highly amusing angles.

Jones is a master of the seemingly-casual anecdote, and his book is a lot of fun, though with an entirely serious purpose behind it. After all, if one thing is blindingly obvious, the human species needs to be able to recognise and nurture its creative geniuses more than ever as we blunder along steering Spaceship Earth into the future.
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By J. Littler on 13 Mar. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Good fun, amusing examples, and a real feel for that sudden jump of intuition when insight suddenly comes to the scientist
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 2 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Fun and Challenging 21 Feb. 2012
By bronx book nerd - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This book was written by a scientist (a chemist) who had a ongoing column where he proposed apparently ridiculous ideas. Some of his ideas, it turned out, were not that crazy and were eventually carried out by him or others. The author, David Jones, also tried out some of his ideas on television. This book is the author's perspective on creativity - how he instigated it in himself, his theories about how creativity works, and examples from his professional and journalistic careers. I found it interesting that Jones never referred to any of the standard creativity authorities - De Bono, Osborne, etc - but instead develops his theory of creativity independently of the conventional wisdom on the same. As it turns out, his theory is an almost one-for-one match with what is already out there. Jones refers to his RIG, or Random Idea Generator, which is essentially his subconscious mind that plays with ideas and throws them back up to his conscious mind. He also refers to his Censor, which is the part of his mind which judges and filters potentially troublesome or silly ideas out. Jones strongly advises quieting the censor. Jones also advises using humor to generate creative ideas. In these and other components of his theory on creativity he is in line with the current state of knowledge. What's particularly useful is that he is not only a creativity theorist but also a practitioner and he is one in various fields of science. His work is filled with various examples of how he arrived at creative solutions to various problems and challenges. He also has a chapter on inventions he feels the world is missing, showing again via this chapter how he applies his creative mind to different topics. The only downside to his work is that he goes into great scientific details in some of his examples, about chemical bonds for example, or about the characteristics of certain chemicals or metals. For someone who thought they were done with this much detail after high school, some of this may be too much. Then again, here and there some of the details were quite interesting. These examples have made me think a little more deeply about some of the scientific aspects of daily life. This could lead to some interesting musings. The greatest benefit of this book, however, is that it encourages the reader to look at their own field and become curious in a deeper way, and ask more penetrating questions about why things are the way they are, in the hopes that this probing may result in some creative ideas.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
The Great Jones 11 April 2012
By Jim Stone - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a brilliant book about creativity by one of the most creative minds of the times. It is structured as a series of anecdotes, some of them covering parts of the history of science, some personal. As a long time fan of Daedalus, I may be just a little bit biased, but I should like to see this book used in schools to make it clear what motivates practising scientists and also to show how very personal and human an activity Science is, and also what enormous fun it provides the thinking person.
I have doubts about the likelihood of this making uncreative people creative, the rigid minded, bureaucratic and power hungry will hate this book. But hey, who cares what the chicken-brained think?
Can one learn to be more creative? Dr. Jones thinks that most people can, and gives his take on how to go about it.
He pretty much ignores the standard literature, and there are good reasons for this. Which would you rather learn how to tell jokes from, a brilliant stand-up comedian or by reading Sigmund Freud on Humour? The connections between humour and creativity are not enlarged upon, but they animate the entire book.
The gentle warmth and kindliness of the good Dr. Jones shine through, his fascination with the amazing world we live in, this is almost sutobiography in effect, the humanity of the scientific enterprise is deep in the texture of the book. This beautiful unassuming book deserves to be a classic.
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