Academic journal article Pennsylvania Literary Journal

The Geography of Genius: A Search for the World's Most Creative Places, from Ancient Athens to Silicon Valley

Academic journal article Pennsylvania Literary Journal

The Geography of Genius: A Search for the World's Most Creative Places, from Ancient Athens to Silicon Valley

Article excerpt

Eric Weiner. The Geography of Genius: A Search for the World's Most Creative Places, from Ancient Athens to Silicon Valley. New York: Simon & Schuster, a CBS Company, January 2016. 368pp. ISBN: 9781-4516-9165-8. 6X9". $26.95.

Eric Weiner's humorous intellectual voice definitely sounds like something straight out of NPR, and since his background is as an NPR foreign correspondent this is natural enough. The concept behind the book is certainly enticing as the President and Publisher of Simon & Schuster explains in his introductory "Letter from the Publisher" in this Advance Reader's Edition (I'm not sure if these reappear in the final copy). The author sets out on a quest to understand how certain locations around the globe inspired large quantities of geniuses, in contrast to their neighbors that had less outstanding genius statistics. The book zooms in on these places: Athens, Hangzhou, Florence, Edinburgh, Calcutta, Vienna, and Silicon Valley. Since the last place is in the mix, clearly this is not a study of only literary and political genius, but also business and various other types of geniuses, with this concept being defined broadly as people with outstanding abilities and creativity that have come up with useful things that have been extremely influential for numerous people that followed their examples. The book reads like a comedy because the idea of genius is poked fun at in a slapstick fashion. The author travels to each of these destinations and attempts to discover what sights, sounds, smells, experiences, and other details about these places nurtured genius in so many of their inhabitants. …

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