The Mind's Best Work

Front Cover
Harvard University Press, 1981 - Psychology - 314 pages
Over the years, tales about the creative process have flourished-tales of sudden insight and superior intelligence and personal eccentricity. Coleridge claimed that he wrote "Kubla Khan" in one sitting after an opium-induced dream. Poe declared that his "Raven" was worked out "with the precision and rigid consequence of a mathematical problem." D. N. Perkins discusses the creative episodes of Beethoven, Mozart, Picasso, and others in this exploration of the creative process in the arts, sciences, and everyday life.

Table of Contents:

A Parable
1. Witnesses to Invention
2. Creative Moments
3. Ways of the Mind
4. Critical Moments
5. Searching For
6. Plans Down Deep
7. Plans Up Front
8. Lives of Inquiry
9. Having It
10. The Shape of Making

Notes
Sources
Index



Reviews of this book:
A delightful book, easy to read, amusing and jammed with intriguing "personal experiments," puzzles for the reader that offer insights into creative thinking. It is a valuable book because it summarizes well the results of recent investigations and effectively debunks a variety of cherished myths... Read the book for fun. Read it to find out what psychologists are up to.
--New York Times Book Review

Reviews of this book:
The Mind's Best Work [is] a guided tour of the new psychology of creative thinking... Perkins belongs in that rare company of Lewis Thomas and other popularizers of science who combine a lively style, playful wit and discriminating scholarship.
--Newsday

Reviews of this book:
A survey of scientific research that's also a work of playful wit.
--Newsweek

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Contents

WITNESSES TO INVENTION
9
CREATIVE MOMENTS
41
WAYS OF THE MIND
74
CRITICAL MOMENTS
102
SEARCHING FOR
130
PLANS DOWN DEEP
162
PLANS UP FRONT
190
LIVES OF INQUIRY
220
HAVING IT
245
THE SHAPE OF MAKING
275
NOTES
293
SOURCES
301
INDEX
311
Copyright

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About the author (1981)

D.N. Perkins is Director of Harvard Project Zero, Senior Research Associate, and Lecturer On Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education.

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