Robin Eric Weiner, author, The Geography of Genius, talks about his book, his interests, and why geniuses are the way they are.
In The Geography of Genius, the New York Times bestselling author, Weiner, author of The Geography of Bliss, journeys from Athens to Silicon Valley—and takes a look back at history to show how truly creative geniuses flourished in very specific places at very specific times.
Weiner explains how we have been looking at geniuses all wrong. He talks about the myths of geniuses. Weiner states that myth number one is that geniuses are ‘born.’ He provides the example of Mozart, who was certainly born with amazing talent, but Weiner states that we must also consider that he was born into a very musical family in area that was musically-oriented, in an extremely musical period in history. Myth number two, he states, is that genius is made through hard work. Weiner states that hard work does play a role, but that’s not enough. Thus, Weiner proposes that geniuses are actually grown, cultivated. Weiner’s point: geniuses are not random, but there are groupings—certain places produce more geniuses, and he talks about the many factors that are involved. Weiner provides detailed information about some of the places in the world, and their companion times, that produced the world’s greatest geniuses.
Continuing, Weiner talks about the tyranny of expertise, and how there is a now common problem in academia in which individuals are not allowed to freely expound upon their ideas unless those ideas are specifically in their exact area of expertise. And Weiner talks about how we romanticize geniuses, but as the times change so do our perceptions.