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Aha!: The Moments of Insight that Shape Our World Hardcover – 26 Feb 2015

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 376 pages
  • Publisher: OUP USA (26 Feb. 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199338876
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199338870
  • Product Dimensions: 18 x 3 x 13.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 966,021 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


Though the subject is complex and difficult at times, Irvine writes with clarity, erudition and, yes, insight, as he draws on a wide range of examples, both modern and historical. Fascinating and instructive. (Fortean Times)

...a rich and informative resource. (Network Review, David Lorimer)

a brilliantly conceieved and wide-ranging book (Good Book Guide, Fiona Lafferty)

lucid, engaging and thought-provoking (Irish Mail, Simon Humphreys)

wide-ranging, accessible and lively (Engineering and Technology, Dominic Lenton)

Aha! is a remarkable work of insight into how the mind really works. So many of our thoughts and ideas are not the product of deliberative rational computation, but instead seem to bubble up from where we know not, spontaneous creations that we are only now beginning to study. William Irvine spans the spectrum of human cognition in many areas of life, and does so in a highly readable narrative. I had many aha moments myself while reading this book! (Michael Shermer, Publisher of Skeptic magazine, monthly columnist for Scientific American, author of The Believing Brain and The Moral Arc)

In this fascinating, instructive book, William Irvine explores the various conditions and methods by which exceptional people have invited revelation, solved problems, or simply stumbled onto life-changing discoveries and insights. As he traces individuals' paths toward epiphanies large and small, Irvine discusses the roles of cultural environment, genetics, brain function, and more. There is no single formula or blueprint for an 'aha' moment, he suggests, though getting to that moment usually requires an open, curious mind. Aha! is a significant addition to the literature of invention, perception, and creativity. (Ann McCutchan, author of The Muse That Sings)

With wide-ranging erudition and elegant style, Aha! is a fascinating study of the Eureka! phenomenon. In addition to asking how ideas happen, philosopher William B. Irvine delves deeply into how ideas transform us, individually and as a society, analyzing them from a variety of perspectives: psychological, evolutionary, sociological, and even political. Original, thought-provoking, and just a good read, this book is brimming with insights about moments of insight. (Elliot Samuel Paul, philosophy professor at Barnard College, Columbia University, and co-editor of The Philosophy of Creativity)

About the Author

William B. Irvine is Professor of Philosophy at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. He describes himself as a twenty-first century Stoic and is author of On Desire: Why We Want What We Want; A Guide to the Good Life: the Ancient Art of Stoic Joy; and A Slap in the Face: Why Insults Hurt―And Why They Shouldn't.

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13 March 2015
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