The Eureka Factor: Aha Moments, Creative Insight, and the Brain

Unabridged Audiobook

Written By: Mark Beeman, John Kounios

Narrated By: John Kounios, Mark Beeman

Publisher: Random House (Audio)

Date: April 2015

Duration: 6 hours 27 minutes


In a book perfect for readers of Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habit, David Eagleman’s Incognito, and Leonard Mlodinow’s Subliminal, the cognitive neuroscientists who discovered how the brain has aha moments—sudden creative insights—explain how they happen, when we need them, and how we can have more of them to enrich our lives and empower personal and professional success.

Eureka or aha moments are sudden realizations that expand our understanding of the world and ourselves, conferring both personal growth and practical advantage. Such creative insights, as psychological scientists call them, were what conveyed an important discovery in the science of genetics to Nobel laureate Barbara McClintock, the melody of a Beatles ballad to Paul McCartney, and an understanding of the cause of human suffering to the Buddha. But these moments of clarity are not given only to the famous. Anyone can have them.

In The Eureka Factor, John Kounios and Mark Beeman explain how insights arise and what the scientific research says about stimulating more of them. They discuss how various conditions affect the likelihood of your having an insight, when insight is helpful and when deliberate methodical thought is better suited to a task, what the relationship is between insight and intuition, and how the brain’s right hemisphere contributes to creative thought.

Written in a lively, engaging style, this book goes beyond scientific principles to offer productive techniques for realizing your creative potential—at home and at work. The authors provide compelling anecdotes to illustrate how eureka experiences can be a key factor in your life. Attend a dinner party with Christopher Columbus to learn why we need insights. Go to a baseball game with the director of a classic Disney Pixar movie to learn about one important type of aha moment. Observe the behind-the-scenes arrangements for an Elvis Presley concert to learn why the timing of insights is crucial.

Accessible and compelling, The Eureka Factor is a fascinating look at the human brain and its seemingly infinite capacity to surprise us.

Advance praise for The Eureka Factor

“The Eureka Factor presents a fascinating and illuminating account of the creative process and how to foster it.”—James J. Heckman, Nobel laureate in economics, Henry Schultz Distinguished Service Professor, University of Chicago

“A vigorous voyage inside the mind to understand those electrifying but elusive moments of discovery—and how we can have them more often.”—Adam Grant, professor, Wharton School, and New York Times bestselling author of Give and Take

“The Eureka Factor is a highly engaging and informative look into sudden creative insights. John Kounios and Mark Beeman convincingly show that what once seemed to be a mysterious feature of the human mind is yielding to dramatic advances in the fields of psychology and neuroscience. Combining state-of-the-art research with compelling everyday examples, this book is essential reading for anyone who has ever wondered what makes it possible to experience an aha moment.”—Daniel L. Schacter, William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and author of The Seven Sins of Memory

“Kounios and Beeman bring insight down to earth in the best of all possible ways. They offer a whirlwind tour through fascinating examples and cutting-edge science to reveal the essence of the aha moment.”—Deborah Prentice, dean of the faculty, professor of psychology and public affairs, Princeton University