The Geography of Genius

A Search for the World's Most Creative Places from Ancient Athens to Silicon Valley

The Geography of Genius

“An intellectual odyssey, a traveler’s diary, and a comic novel all rolled into one. Smart, original, and utterly delightful.” —Daniel Gilbert, Harvard professor and bestselling author of Stumbling on Happiness

“A charming mix of history and wisdom cloaked as a rollicking travelogue.” —Walter Isaacson, bestselling author of Steve Jobs

Travel the world with Eric Weiner, the New York Times bestselling author of The Geography of Bliss, as he journeys from Athens to Silicon Valley—and throughout history, too—to show how creative genius flourishes in specific places at specific times.

In The Geography of Genius, acclaimed travel writer Weiner sets out to examine the connection between our surroundings and our most innovative ideas. He explores the history of places, like Vienna of 1900, Renaissance Florence, ancient Athens, Song Dynasty Hangzhou, and Silicon Valley, to show how certain urban settings are conducive to ingenuity. And, with his trademark insightful humor, he walks the same paths as the geniuses who flourished in these settings to see if the spirit of what inspired figures like Socrates, Michelangelo, and Leonardo remains. In these places, Weiner asks, “What was in the air, and can we bottle it?”

This link can be traced back through history: Darwin’s theory of evolution gelled while he was riding in a carriage. Freud did his best thinking at this favorite coffee house. Beethoven, like many geniuses, preferred long walks in the woods.

Sharp and provocative, The Geography of Genius redefines the argument about how genius came to be. His reevaluation of the importance of culture in nurturing creativity is an informed romp through history that will surely jumpstart a national conversation.
  • Simon & Schuster | 
  • 368 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781451691658 | 
  • January 2016
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About the Author

Eric Weiner
Photograph by Justin Tsucalas

Eric Weiner

Eric Weiner is author of the New York Times bestsellers The Geography of Genius and The Geography of Bliss, which has been translated into twenty languages, as well as the critically acclaimed Man Seeks God. A former correspondent for NPR and The New York Times, Weiner’s work has appeared in the New Republic, Slate, Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, Foreign Policy, The New York Times Magazine, and the anthology Best American Travel Writing. Visit EricWeinerBooks.com

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