The Creative Spark: How Imagination Made Humans Exceptional

In The Creative Spark, primatologist and biological anthropologist Agustín Fuentes challenges previous and current models of evolution. Where Charles Darwin argued for survival of the fittest, Fuentes argues that evolution promotes the survival of the most creative. By synthesizing research from numerous scientific disciplines, including psychology, genetics, biology and even philosophy, he presents a new, compelling model of human development. The jump from our early ancestors' stone tools to modern technology is huge, but in bridging this gap, Fuentes takes readers through a re-creation of our potential evolution and ponders what key moment could illustrate the beginnings of human inspiration. While the details are informed by science and extensive research, Fuentes presents his theories in a captivating narrative that feels like an intriguing mystery.

Though all primates develop creative solutions to address complex social problems, no other group of animals is as ingenious. Creativity and innovation are constantly driving the success of human life, and have been for thousands of years. This includes how early Homo made and used tools--acts that require coordination and skill--to more modern inventions of science, religion and art. Fuentes demonstrates that even the most ordinary of occurrences, such as how people agree to basic rules like standing in line at the grocery store, are a marvel. No other creature queues for food. Behind it is a long evolutionary history that he unravels with delight. To look up from The Creative Spark after finishing the last page is to see the world in new, complex ways. Fuentes's work adds depth to our reality and fosters a deep respect and appreciation for the many forms creativity takes. --Justus Joseph, Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, Wash.

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