I love this book and I realized that I've been referencing it in conversations ever since I finished it. I haven't done any book or product reviews but The Geography of Genius by Eric Weiner made me think its time to start sharing the things that inspire me. I hope you find them helpful as well. I don't plan on sharing products I don't like. Does that mean every review will be a puff-piece? No. I'll do my best to share an honest opinion on what works and doesn't work.
Where does genius come from and why, throughout history, does it clump in specific locations? I'm fascinated by the idea of genius and how individuals unlock there potential but it never occurred to examine genius by locale and time period. Yeah, I've been to museums and considered movements (the Impressionists, the Dadaists, the Surrealists, etc) but I hadn't really thought about the conditions that led to a creative movement across disciplines. That's one of the many fascinating things about The Geography of Genius: it sets a broader context for the clumping of genius and connects these ideas across disciplines. Weiner's interest is the framework for movements of genius.
The ideas are presented casually and with humor. Its an intelligent, funny, global travelog in which the author travels to locations around the world that have had some of the greatest concentrations of genius: Athens, Calcutta, Hangzhou, Edinburgh, Vienna and Silicon Valley. In each city he interviews locals and suggestions for why that place became a focus for innovation.
Readers expecting hard conclusions drawn from rigorous study might be disappointed. There are consistent themes across the cultures he highlights but those threads are never connected such that they present a satisfying, tidy, explanation. That said, the book is an informed exploration, a personal narrative on the nature of genius and the author leaves the reader with plenty to consider. if you're looking for a thought-provoking essay you'll likely enjoy this stroll through history and you'll have tons to talk about next time you get dinner or drinks with friends.