The Runaway Species is a deep-dive into the creative mind, a celebration of the human spirit, and a vision of how humanity can improve our future by understanding and embracing our ability to innovate. David Eagleman and Anthony Brandt rifle through the inventions of human society like paleontologists ransacking the fossil record. Exploring examples from Apollo 13 to Pablo Picasso, they seek to answer the question: what lies at the heart of humanity’s ability—and drive—to create?
If you took a snapshot of any animal species’ behavior, from apes to barnacles, and contrasted it with the same species 10,000 years ago, they’d all be carrying on pretty much as usual (and if they aren’t, it’s likely due to human influence). Humanity, on the other hand, would be nearly unrecognizable. Above all else, our drive to create is what makes us unique among all living things. Yet where does all this creation, innovation, and change come from? Why us? And if we better understand this “cognitive software,” can we harness it more responsibly to improve our lives, schools, businesses, and institutions? Eagleman and Brandt examine hundreds of examples of human creativity through dramatic storytelling and stunning images in this beautiful, full-color volume. By drawing out what creative acts have in common and viewing them through the lens of cutting-edge neuroscience, they uncover the essential elements of this critical human ability, and encourage a more creative future for all of us.