Tapping the well

andreasenNext week, people in the D.C. area will have two chances to catch up with Nancy Andreasen, whose latest book, The Creating Brain, dives into one of my favorite questions: What makes creative geniuses tick? And how can the rest of us extend our own capacities for creation?

Andreasen will lecture about the science of genius at the Smithsonian Tuesday evening. “I wanted to write about how extremely gifted people have created things that have made our lives, our society, and our civilization richer and more beautiful,” she says in the book, which was recently released in a paperback edition by Plume. And there are things us normals can do to up our creativity quotient, starting with letting ourselves play again.

She also may be the only scientist among the 70 or so authors invited to sign books at the always-crowded National Press Club’s annual book fair and authors’ night on Wednesday. The entry fee for this event is less ($5 compared with the Smithsonian’s $15-$25), but so is the access—less than a minute of face time with Dr. Andreasen compared with an hour of smart ideas and a signature on your book. Suit yourself, but I’m banking on the lecture.

— Nicky Penttila

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