The Origins of Creativity

The Origins of Creativity

Book - 2017
Rate this:
WW Norton
An eloquent exploration of creativity, The Origins of Creativity grapples with the question of how this uniquely human expression—so central to our identity as individuals and, collectively, as a species—came about and how it has manifested itself throughout the history of our species.
In this profound and lyrical book, one of our most celebrated biologists offers a sweeping examination of the relationship between the humanities and the sciences: what they offer to each other, how they can be united, and where they still fall short. Both endeavours, Edward O. Wilson reveals, have their roots in human creativity—the defining trait of our species.Reflecting on the deepest origins of language, storytelling, and art, Wilson demonstrates how creativity began not ten thousand years ago, as we have long assumed, but over one hundred thousand years ago in the Paleolithic age. Chronicling this evolution of creativity from primate ancestors to humans, The Origins of Creativity shows how the humanities, spurred on by the invention of language, have played a largely unexamined role in defining our species. And in doing so, Wilson explores what we can learn about human nature from a surprising range of creative endeavors—the instinct to create gardens, the use of metaphors and irony in speech, and the power of music and song.Our achievements in science and the humanities, Wilson notes, make us uniquely advanced as a species, but also give us the potential to be supremely dangerous, most worryingly in our abuse of the planet. The humanities in particular suffer from a kind of anthropomorphism, encumbered by a belief that we are the only species among millions that seem to matter, yet Wilson optimistically reveals how researchers will have to address this parlous situation by pushing further into the realm of science, especially fields such as evolutionary biology, neuroscience, and anthropology.With eloquence and humanity, Wilson calls for a transformational "Third Enlightenment," in which the blending of these endeavors will give us a deeper understanding of the human condition and our crucial relationship with the natural world.

Baker & Taylor
A winner of the Pulitzer Prize grapples with the question of how the uniquely human expression of creativity—so central to our identity as individuals and, collectively, as a species—came about and how it has manifested itself throughout history.

Book News
The author of this book, Pulitzer Prize-winning biologist and naturalist Edward O. Wilson, is professor emeritus at Harvard University; he has written many popular science books. In his latest book for general readers, he considers the role of biology in human behavior and meditates on the expression of creativity as the nature of being human. He comes to the conclusion that we need both science and the humanities to understand the human condition and ensure survival of our species. B&w illustrations are included. Annotation ©2018 Ringgold, Inc., Portland, OR (

& Taylor

Explores the question of how the uniquely human expression of creativity--a central part of human identity, individually and collectively--came about and how it has manifested itself throughout history.

Publisher: New York : Liveright Publishing Corporation, c2017
ISBN: 9781631493188
Branch Call Number: 153.35 WIL
Characteristics: 243 p. :,ill. ;,22 cm.


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

There are no comments for this title yet.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at FVRL

To Top