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Smart World: Breakthrough Creativity And the New Science of Ideas


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Smart World: Breakthrough Creativity And the New Science of Ideas
Topic: Science 12:26 pm EDT, Jul  6, 2007

Richard Ogle has some ideas about ideas, though apparently he has never heard of memetics.

Since ancient times, people have believed that breakthrough ideas come from the brains of geniuses with awesome rational powers. In recent years, however, the paradigm has begun to shift toward the notion that the source of creativity lies “out there,” in the network of connections between people and ideas.

In this provocative book, Richard Ogle crystallizes the nature of this shift, and boldly outlines “a new science of ideas.” The key resides in what he calls “idea-spaces,” a set of nodes in a network of people (and their ideas) that cohere and take on a distinctive set of characteristics leading to the generation of breakthrough ideas. These spaces are governed by nine laws--illuminated in individual chapters with fascinating stories of dramatic breakthroughs in science, business, and art.

Smart World will change forever the way we think about creativity and innovation.

The introduction and part of the first chapter are available. After reading them, I can't say I'm planning to buy this book. The style strikes me as hokey. For example:

As will become evident, the successes of Dave Brubeck's "Time Out" and the iPod both exemplify the workings of network laws, demonstrating how the law of hotspots and the law of the fit get fitter lead to tipping points.

Ogle is clearly going after Gladwell's audience, but his vignettes, though considerably popularized, still seem a bit too academic. And many of his chapters are on well-trodden topics: relativity theory, DNA, cubism, printing with movable type, the personal computer, the Internet, the iPod. For each there is already a better book to read.

Smart World: Breakthrough Creativity And the New Science of Ideas

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