Open in the App Open in the App Open in the App
Get the key ideas from

The Eureka Factor

Creative Insights and the Brain

By John Kounios & Mark Beeman
13-minute read
Audio available
The Eureka Factor: Creative Insights and the Brain by John Kounios & Mark Beeman

The Eureka Factor (2015) looks at the remarkable phenomena of insights and creativity, and how the two are intertwined. By laying out the latest scientific research, it sheds light on how insights work, including what supports and hinders them. In addition, it provides powerful advice on how everyone can train themselves to have more eureka moments.

  • Anyone hoping to have more “aha moments” in their life
  • Curious thinkers interested in the origins of creativity

John Kounios is Professor of Psychology at Drexel University and is a specialist in neuroscientific research on insight, creativity and memory. His findings have been reported on by publications such as Scientific American, The Wall Street Journal and the New Yorker.

Mark Beeman is Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at Northwestern University and has worked extensively within the field of creative problem solving and creative cognition.

Go Premium and get the best of Blinkist

Upgrade to Premium now and get unlimited access to the Blinkist library. Read or listen to key insights from the world’s best nonfiction.

Upgrade to Premium

What is Blinkist?

The Blinkist app gives you the key ideas from a bestselling nonfiction book in just 15 minutes. Available in bitesize text and audio, the app makes it easier than ever to find time to read.

Discover
3,000+ top
nonfiction titles

Get unlimited access to the most important ideas in business, investing, marketing, psychology, politics, and more. Stay ahead of the curve with recommended reading lists curated by experts.

Join Blinkist to get the key ideas from

The Eureka Factor

Creative Insights and the Brain

By John Kounios & Mark Beeman
  • Read in 13 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 8 key ideas
The Eureka Factor: Creative Insights and the Brain by John Kounios & Mark Beeman
Synopsis

The Eureka Factor (2015) looks at the remarkable phenomena of insights and creativity, and how the two are intertwined. By laying out the latest scientific research, it sheds light on how insights work, including what supports and hinders them. In addition, it provides powerful advice on how everyone can train themselves to have more eureka moments.

Key idea 1 of 8

The Eureka Moment is a moment of sudden illumination and insight.

About 2,300 years ago, King Hiero II of Syracuse was in a bit of a conundrum. He wanted to know if his crown was made of pure gold, but didn’t know how to find out without melting it down and therefore destroying it. In search of an answer, he turned to Archimedes.

At first, the renowned mathematician and philosopher was stuck. But later, as he settled into a bath, he noticed that the water around him rose. Then he thought, why not put a lump of gold into the bath, measure the amount the water rises and then place the crown into the water as well? If the water rises by the same amount, it will mean it’s made of pure gold.

As this realization hit him, he leapt from the bathtub yelling “Eureka!”, the Greek term for “I have found it.” This story marks the symbolic birth of what we consider the aha moment, that moment of sudden revelation.

The aha moment may well be the culmination of years of observation and experience, but this moment of inspiration is unique in that our experiences combine suddenly to form a revelation. History is full of aha moments, like the fateful apple falling on Isaac Newton’s head.

Indeed, our insights seem to appear in our heads out of nothing, but they all share one feature: They produce an alternative perspective.

When you’re toiling away at a problem, failing to find a solution often lies in the fact that you can only see your task one way. The aha moment produces a drastic change in how you approach a problem.

This is what happened to Archimedes. Before his revelatory moment, people in Ancient Greece were sure that in order to find out the composition of an object, you had to destroy it. After his insight, a new approach was born that left the item intact.

You’ve no doubt had some of your own eureka moments, but why are they so important?

Key ideas in this title

No time to
read?

Pssst. Sign up to your secret to success: key ideas from top nonfiction in just 15 minutes.
Created with Sketch.