Sudden flashes of inspiration have triggered many discoveries and inventions throughout history. Are such aha! moments merely random, or is there a way to train the brain to harness these seemingly unpredictable creative insights? In this fascinating overview of the latest neuroscience findings on spontaneous thought processes, or "snaps," Dr. Katherine Ramsland describes how everyone-not just geniuses-can learn to improve the likelihood of their own "eureka" moments by adopting certain rewarding attitudes and habits.
As Dr. Ramsland explains, snaps are much more than new ideas. Snaps are insights plus momentum-they instantly compel or snap us toward action. They often occur after ordinary problem solving hits an impasse. We may feel stuck, but while we're in a quandary, the brain is rebooting. Then, when we least expect it, the solution pops into our heads.
Ramsland describes the results of numerous scientific experiments studying this phenomenon. She also recounts intriguing stories of people in diverse disciplines who have had a snap experience. Both the research and the stories illustrate that it's possible to enhance our facility for snap moments by training ourselves to scan, sift, and solve.
Scanning involves learning such habits as watching for opportunities and ideas, setting goals, coordinating short- and long-term memory, and letting the mind wander creatively. Sifting has to do with our mental maps, developing mental flexibility, balancing practice and play, and shaping information into new patterns. Finally, solutions occur when trust in our inner resources outweighs perceived risk, and we know when to stop thinking and to just relax.
Throughout this insightful book, Ramsland offers puzzles and exercises to demonstrate how the aha! experience can be achieved. Readers can use the suggestions for cultivating snaps in their own lives.
In the emerging economy, businesses and individuals need new strategies, and it's clear that just thinking harder no longer works. People who can snap are often a step ahead: they have a vigilance advantage from exercising brain cells that build mental agility. While snapping is rewarding, fun, and good for improving our mental skills, it's also much more: people who snap life-changing ideas that affect many others will redirect our future.
Written in an accessible, jargon-free narrative that weaves together the latest research with illuminating stories of innovative people, SNAP teaches us how to cultivate our own inner epiphanies to gain an edge in our imaginations, our careers, our goals-indeed, in every aspect of our lives.
Reviews and Endorsements:
“I’ve always said intuition is the highest form of knowledge. SNAP shows me why I might be right. This is a fascinating exploration of the mind when it’s in hyperdrive, as illuminating as it is fun to read. [Katherine] Ramsland reveals the science and psychology of the aha! moment in vivid detail, with intriguing examples, while being wise enough to leave room for the consideration of a mystical element to human consciousness. Highly recommended.”
Author of What the Night Knows
“Both motivational and informative, SNAP is a treat to read! Katherine Ramsland will singlehandedly increase the number of bright ideas to be born in the coming decade!”
—Shelley Carson, PhD
Author, Your Creative Brain: Seven Steps to Maximize
Imagination, Productivity, and Innovation in Your Life
“[O]ne of the most affirmative and encouraging books I’ve ever read. It goes right to the heart of human frustrations, of what gets us stuck when we’re in the midst of problems, and it suggests ways to build momentum and move forward, enlisting the full (and mostly unsuspected) powers of the human mind. . . . [W]ho better to take us on this journey than Ramsland, who has made a career out of teaching us about creativity, about thinking differently? SNAP will help many readers relax into their most powerful selves. This whole book is one big aha! moment.”
Assistant books editor, Philadelphia Inquirer
Katherine Ramsland is the author of forty books and over one thousand articles, reviews, and short stories. She holds graduate degrees in forensic psychology, clinical psychology, criminal justice, and philosophy, and teaches forensic psychology and criminal justice at DeSales University. Media such as USA Today, New York Times, 20/20, Today, Primetime, 48 Hours, and NPR often seek her expert commentary.