xiii In 1815, Germany’s General Music Journal published a letter: The letter was published in Allgemeine Musikalische Zeitung, or “General Music Journal,” in 1815, vol. 17, pp. 561–­66. For full descriptions of the Mozart letter hoax and its consequences, see Cornell University Library, 2002; Zaslaw, 1994; and Zaslaw, 1997.

xiv Mozart’s real letters: Mozart’s compositional process is described by Konrad in Eisen, 2007; by Zaslaw in Morris, 1994; and in Jahn, 2013.

xv In 1926, Alfred North Whitehead made a noun: Many scholars have concluded that Whitehead invented the word “creativity” in Whitehead, 1926, within the following sentence: “The reason for the temporal character of the actual world can now be given by reference to the creativity and the creatures.” Meyer, 2005, contains an excellent summary of this scholarship.

chapter 1: creating is ordinary

1 A bronze statue stands in Sainte-­Suzanne: There is a picture of the statue of Edmond Albius at

1 On Mexico’s Gulf Coast, the people of Papantla: The descriptions of vanilla and the story of Edmond Albius are based on Ecott, 2005, also Cameron, 2011.

7 The modern U.S. Patent and Trademark Office: The first patent issued by what was then called the U.S. Patent Office was granted to Samuel Hopkins, an inventor living in Pittsford, Vermont, for an improved way of making potassium carbonate—­in those days called “potash”—­out of trees, mainly for use in soap, glass, baking, and gunpowder. See Henry M. Paynter “The First Patent” (revised version), The eight millionth patent was granted to Robert Greenberg, Kelly McClure, and Arup Roy of Los Angeles for a prosthetic eye that electrically stimulates a blind person’s retina. See “Millions of Patents,” USPTO, Actually, this was probably closer to the 8,000,500th patent issued, as the Patent Office started numbering patents in series only in 1836.

7 economist Manuel Trajtenberg: See “The Mobility of Inventors and the Productivity of Research,” a presentation by Manuel Trajtenberg, Tel Aviv University, July 2006: Using a multistage analysis of inventors’ names, addresses, coinventors, and citations, Trajtenberg ascertained that the 2,139,313 U.S. patents granted at the time of his analysis had been issued to 1,565,780 distinct inventors. The granted patents had a mean of 2.01 inventors per patent. Trajtenberg’s analysis suggests that the average number of patents per inventor is 2.7. By taking the 2011 number of 8,069,662, multiplying it by 2.01 to get the total named inventors, and then dividing by 2.7 to account for the average number of patents per inventor, I calculated that there were around 6,007,415 unique inventors named on granted patents by the end of 2011.

7 The inventors are not distributed evenly: This analysis assumes that Trajtenberg’s numbers are constants, and so the number of “inventors” scales in exactly the same way as the number of patents, as published by the USPTO and cited above.

7 Even with foreign inventors removed: My own analysis, using USPTO data as cited above, U.S. Census data, and Trajtenberg’s numbers as constants. The USPTO started tracking patents awarded to foreign residents in 1837. The figure of 1,800 is six in a million, so closer to 1 in 166,666, but I rounded up to a clean number to keep both statistics as “1 in” something.

8 In 1870, 5,600 works were registered for copyright: See the Annual Report of the Librarian of Congress, 1886:

8 In 1946, register of copyrights Sam Bass Warner: See the 49th Annual Report of the Register of Copyrights, June 30, 1946:

8 In 1870, there was 1 copyright registration for every 7,000: History of registrations taken from Annual Report of the Register of Copyrights, September 30, 2009: The analysis is my own, using U.S. Census data. In 1870, there were 3 registrations for every in 20,000 people, which I rounded to 1 registration for every 7,000 people to match the format of following number, 1 in 400.

8 one for every 250 U.S. citizens: Data about the Science Citation Index from Eugene Garfield, “Charting the Growth of Science,” paper presented at the Chemical Heritage Foundation, May 17, 2007; The analysis is my own, using U.S. Census data.

9 a typical NASCAR race: The average NASCAR race attendance in 2011 was 98,818, based on data from ESPN / Jayksi LLC, at The number of U.S. residents granted first patents in 2011 was 79,805, based on USPTO data and Trajtenberg’s constants.

10 five African wildcats: See Driscoll et al., 2007.

11 Dolphins use sponges to hunt for fish: Krützen et al., 2005.

11 human tools were monotonous for a million years: Mithen, 1996, and Kuhn and Stiner in Mithen, 2014.

13 “Despite great qualitative and quantitative”: Casseli, 2009.

15 “The most fundamental facts”: Ashby, 1952.

15 A San Franciscan named Allen Newell: See Newell, “Desires and Diversions,” a lecture presented at Carnegie Mellon, December 4, 1991; the video is available at, courtesy of Scott Armstrong.

16 “The data currently available about the processes”: Newell, 1959. Available at

16 Weisberg was an undergraduate during the first years: Robert Weisberg’s résumé is available at

17 “when one says of someone that”: Weisberg, 2006.

17 Sprengel’s peers did not want to hear that flowers had a sex life: Zepernick and Meretz, 2001.

18 Titles available in today’s bookstores: Titles found at

18 Weisberg’s books are out of print: According to, where only a Kindle edition of Weisberg’s last, more academic title, Creativity: Understanding Innovation in Problem Solving, Science, Invention, and the Arts, is available “new.”

18 “creativity now is as important in education as literacy”: Ken Robinson, TED talk, June 27, 2006. Transcript at

18 Cartoonist Hugh MacLeod: MacLeod, 2009.

19 The best-­known version was started in 1921: See Terman’s own work, especially Terman and Oden, 1959. Shurkin, 1992, offers an excellent review of Terman’s work.

22 “within the reach of everyday people in everyday life”: Torrance, 1974, quoted in Cramond, 1994.

24 open our veins and bleed: Versions of this comment have been attributed to several writers. According to Garson O’Toole, the original is “It is only when you open your veins and bleed onto the page a little that you establish contact with your reader,” from “Confessions of a Story Writer,” by Paul Gallico, 1946;

25 bestselling literary series was begun by a single mother: J. K. Rowling; see

25 a career more than fifty novels long: “Four years before, I had been running sheets in an industrial laundry for $ 1.60 an hour and writing Carrie in the furnace-­room of a trailer,” King, 2010. See also Lawson, 1979.

25 world-­changing philosophy was composed in a Parisian jail: Paine, 1794.

25 The “man with a permanent position as a patent examiner” was Albert Einstein.

chapter 2: thinking is like walking

26 Thomas Mann prophesied the perils of National Socialism: Mann, 1930.

27 He made two applications to become a professor: Now the Humboldt University of Berlin (German: Humboldt-­Universität zu Berlin), founded in 1810 as the University of Berlin (Universität zu Berlin). In Duncker’s day it was known as the Frederick William University (Friedrich-­Wilhelms-­Universität), and later (unofficially) also as the Universität Unter den Linden.

27 Both were rejected: This and other Duncker biographical details from Schnall, 1999, published in Valsiner, 2007; see also Simon, 1999, in Valsiner, 2007.

27 He published his masterwork, On Problem Solving: Duncker, 1935. Translation: Duncker and Lees, 1945.

27 “Today the sun is brilliantly shining”: Quotation edited for length and clarity from Isherwood, 1939. The unedited passage is: “To-­day the sun is brilliantly shining; it is quite mild and warm. I go out for my last morning walk, without an overcoat or hat. The sun shines, and Hitler is master of this city. The sun shines, and dozens of my friends—­my pupils at the Workers’ School, the men and women I met at the I.A.H.—­are in prison, possibly dead. But it isn’t of them that I am thinking—­the clear-­headed ones, the purposeful, the heroic; they recognized and accepted the risks. I am thinking of poor Rudi, in his absurd Russian blouse. Rudi’s make-­believe, story-­book game has become earnest; the Nazis will play it with him. The Nazis won’t laugh at him; they’ll take him on trust for what he pretended to be. Perhaps at this very moment Rudi is being tortured to death. I catch sight of my face in the mirror of a shop, and am shocked to see that I am smiling. You can’t help smiling, in such beautiful weather. The trams are going up and down the Kleistsrrasse, just as usual. They, and the people on the pavement, and the teacosy dome of the Nollendortplatz station have an air of curious familiarity, of striking resemblance to something one remembers as normal and pleasant in the past—­like a very good photograph.”

28 an immigrant who’d left the tiny Lithuanian village of Sventijánskas: Detail from Kimble, 1998, in which Sventijánskas is transliterated as “Swiencianke.” Krechevsky was born Yitzhok-­Eizik Krechevsky and started using the first name Isadore when he attended school in the United States.

28 The joint paper, “On Solution-­Achievement”: Duncker, 1939.

29 Duncker published his second paper, on the relationship between familiarity and perception: Duncker, 1939b.

29 Duncker’s third paper of the year: Duncker, 1939c.

29 He drove to nearby Fullerton: New York Times, 1940.

30 In Berkeley, the University of California awarded: Rensberger, 1977.

32 “If a situation is introduced in a certain perceptual structure”: This is my translation—­the Lees translation uses “structuration” instead of “structure.”

32 Psychologists and people who write about creation: Duncker’s On Problem Solving has around twenty-­two hundred citations, according to Google scholar:

33 How did Charlie die?: Weisberg, 1986.

33 the Prisoner and Rope Problem: Described in Metcalfe, 1987, cited in Chrysikou, 2006, and Weisberg, 2006.

34 This is the source of the cliché “thinking outside of the box”: See A possible alternative origin story involves a man smuggling bicycles by distracting border guards with a box of sand balanced on the handlebars.

34 It is a summary of a Sherlock Holmes story: “The Adventure of the Speckled Band” in Doyle, 2011.

35 The surprising solution that a snake killed her follows: Doyle may have made a mistake in this story. When Doyle wrote “The Adventure of the Speckled Band,” in 1892 it was generally believed that snakes were deaf. This led to much speculation among Holmes’s enthusiasts about what kind of snake Doyle had in mind, or whether it was in fact, a lizard. Later research, starting in 1923, and culminating as recently as 2008, showed that snakes can hear, via their jaws, despite not having external ears.

35 Many people do not think using words: See Weisberg, 1986, and Chrysikou, 2006, for examples of how this has been established.

35 Robert Weisberg asked people to think aloud: Weisberg and Suls, 1973.

37 Six undergraduates talking their way through a puzzle: Weisberg and Suls, 1973. Weisberg’s paper describes six related experiments, one of which was evaluating solutions to the problem rather than solving it; 376 is the number of subjects who participated in the other five experiments.

38 Oprah Winfrey has trademarked it: Winfrey’s Harpo companies own two “live” trademarks using the phrase “aha! moment,” registration number 3805726 and registration number 3728350.

38 Greek general Hiero was crowned king of Syracuse: Vitruvius, 1960.

38 Hiero asked Syracuse’s greatest thinker: Biello, 2006.

39 Galileo pointed this out in a paper called “La Bilancetta”: Galileo, 2011. Translation from Fermi and Bernardini, 2003.

39 Buoyancy, not displacement: This is explained beautifully by Chris Rorres at

39 But let’s take Vitruvius’s story at face value: Vitruvius, 1960.

40 “In the summer of the year”: Edited from Coleridge, 2011. The complete quotation is:

In the summer of the year 1797, the Author, then in ill health, had retired to a lonely farm-­house between Porlock and Linton, on the Exmoor confines of Somerset and Devonshire. In consequence of a slight indisposition, an anodyne had been prescribed, from the effects of which he fell asleep in his chair at the moment that he was reading the following sentence, or words of the same substance, in “Purchas’s Pilgrimage”: “Here the Khan Kubla commanded a palace to be built, and a stately garden thereunto. And thus ten miles of fertile ground were inclosed with a wall.” The Author continued for about three hours in a profound sleep, at least o the external senses, during which time he has the most vivid confidence, that he could not have composed less than from two to three hundred lines; if that indeed can be called composition in which all the images rose up before him as things, with a parallel production of the correspondent expressions, without any sensation or consciousness of effort. On awaking he appeared to himself to have a distinct recollection of the whole, and taking his pen, ink, and paper, instantly and eagerly wrote down the lines that are here preserved. At this moment he was unfortunately called out by a person on business from Porlock, and detained by him above an hour, and on his return to his room, found, to his no small surprise and mortification, that though he still retained some vague and dim recollection of the general purport of the vision, yet, with the exception of some eight or ten scattered lines and images, all the rest had passed away like the images on the surface of a stream into which a stone has been cast, but, alas! without the after restoration of the latter!

40 Coleridge used a similar device—­a fake letter from a friend: See Coleridge, 1907, where a letter from a “friend” interrupts chapter 13 of his Biographia Literaria. Bates, 2012, describes the “friend” as “a humorous gothic counterfeit.”

41 Coleridge says the poem was “composed in a sort of reverie”: Hill, 1984.

41 “I was sitting writing at my textbook but the work”: Benfey, 1958.

42 This is a case of visual imagination helping solve a problem: Based on Weisberg, 1986 and Rothenberg, 1995.

42 A sudden revelation has also been attributed to Einstein: Einstein, 1982.

42 In Einstein’s own words: “I was led to it by steps”: Moszkowski, 1973, p. 96. The complete quotation is “But the suddenness with which you assume it to have occurred to me must be denied. Actually I was lead [sic] to it by steps arising from the individual laws.”

42 These psychologists conducted hundreds of experiments: Hélie, 2012, includes references to many of these experiments. Advocates of the “incubation” hypothesis now use the term “implicit cognition.”

42 They showed the subject pictures of entertainers: Read, 1982. “The research was initiated while both authors were on study leave at the University of Colorado.” Cited and discussed in Weisberg, 1986.

43 Other studies into the feeling: e.g., Nisbett, 1977.

43 In one experiment he sorted 160 people: Olton and Johnson, 1976.

44 He designed a different study: Olton, 1979. Cited in Weisberg, 1993.

44 Most researchers now regard incubation as folk psychology: The phrase “folk psychology” is used in Vul, 2007. See also Dorfman et al., 1996; Weisberg, 2006, which contains a thorough review of studies of incubation; Dietrich and Kanso, 2010; and Weisberg, 2013, which critiques attempts to study insight using neural imaging and also analyzes the popularization of incubation by journalist Jonah Lehrer. Incubation is not completely discredited, however; some psychologists are reviving the hypothesis under the name “implicit cognition.” Weisberg, 2014, attempts to incorporate theories of incubation into theories of ordinary thinking.

44 “ ‘Why doesn’t it work?’ or, ‘What should I change to make it work?’ ”: Duncker, 1945. I have adjusted the translation—­the Lees translation uses “alter” instead of “change.”

45 When Jobs announced Apple’s first cell phone: Talk by Steve Jobs at MacWorld San Francisco on January 9, 2007. Video: Transcript by Todd Bishop and Bernhard Kast:

45 Apple sold 4 million phones in 2007: Data from Apple Inc. annual reports summarized at Adjusted to convert fiscal years to calendar years and rounded to the nearest million.

46 This was true, irrelevant, and revealing: The microphone built into the original iPhone had a narrow frequency response of about 50Hz to about 4kHz, compared, for example, to the subsequent iPhone 3G, which ranged from below 5Hz to 20kHz. Analysis by Benjamin Faber at

46 If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”: This phrase was popularized by Bert Lance, director of the Office of Management and Budget in the Carter administration, who used it in 1977. See Nations Business, May 1977, p. 27, at

46 Korean electronics giant LG launched: The LG Prada, or LG KE850, was announced in December 2006 and made available for sale in May 2007. Apple announced the iPhone in January 2007 and made it available for sale in June 2007. The LG Prada was the first cell phone with a capacitive touch screen. See

47 The secret of Steve was evident in 1983: This was the IDCA, or International Design Conference Aspen, 1983. The IDCA is now part of the Aspen Design Summit, organized by the American Institute of Graphic Arts. More at

47 “If you look at computers, they look like garbage”: Brown, 2012, based on a cassette tape from John Celuch of Inland Design and a transcription by Andy Fastow at The transcription has been edited slightly for clarity. The description of Jobs’s appearance is based on photos by Arthur Boden, posted by Ivan Boden at

48 “One minute he’d be talking about sweeping ideas”: Mossberg, 2012.

48 One symbol lived long after the cat: TV Tropes, at Many Felix the Cat cartoons showing prop use are available online—­see, for example,

48 Psychologists adopted the image: Wallas, 1926.

49 The most famous is brainstorming: Osborn, 1942. See also

49 “Brainstorming is often used in a business setting”: Extract from “Brainstorming Techniques: How to Get More Out of Brainstorming” at Transcript at

50 Researchers in Minnesota tested this: Dunnette, 1963. Cited in Weisberg, 1986.

50 Follow-­up research tested whether larger groups: Bouchard, 1970. Cited in Weisberg 1986.

50 Researchers in Indiana tested this by asking groups of students: Weisskopf-­Joelson and Eliseo, 1961. Cited in Weisberg, 1986.

50 Subsequent studies have reinforced this: See, for example, Brilhart, 1964, as discussed by Weisberg, 1986.

50 Steve Wozniak, Steve Jobs’s cofounder at Apple: Wozniak, 2007. Cited in Cain, 2012.

51 According to novelist Stephen King: King, 2001.

51 political scientists William Ogburn and Dorothy Thomas: Ogburn and Thomas, 1922.

52 the moon chewed the sun in a partial solar eclipse: Eclipse details at 52 “Sacrifices must be made”: Details of Lilienthal’s death from Wikipedia, at

52 “The balancing of a flyer may seem”: Wright, 2012.

53 They saw an airplane as “a bicycle with wings”: Heppenheimer, 2003. Cited in Weisberg, 2006.

54 “a sport to which we had devoted so much attention”: Wright, 2012.

54 “Having set out” through “our own measurements”: Wright, 2012.

55 Wings needed to be much bigger: The Wrights’ math was correct. Today, aerodynamicists use a Smeaton coefficient of 0.00327. See Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum at

55 The Wrights’ aircraft are the best evidence: This point is beautifully illustrated in a presentation called “Invention of the Airplane” from NASA’s Glenn Research Center, available at See especially slide 56.

56 On November 1, 1913, Franz Kluxen entered: Little is known about Franz Kluxen of Münster (also listed in catalogs as Kluxen of Boldixum, a district of Wyk, a town on the German island of Föhr in the North Sea). According to Richardson, 1996, Kluxen may have been “one of the earliest (he started in 1910) and most serious buyers of Picasso in pre-­1914 Germany . . . By 1920, all the Kluxen Picassos that can be traced had changed hands. Kluxen may have been a victim of the war or of hard times.”

56 He forbade artificial chalk made from gypsum: Natural chalk is from the Cretaceous period, circa 145.5 + 4 to 65.5 + 0.3 million years ago; it includes ancient cell fragments visible only by microscope. Steele et al., in Smithgall, 2011.

56 The picture covered thirty square feet: Painting with White Border is 140 cm x 200 cm = 2.8 square meters = 30.14 square feet.

57 “extremely powerful impressions I had experienced”: Kandinsky, “Picture with the White Edge,” in Lindsay and Vergo, 1994. Cited in Smithgall, 2011.

57 a common Kandinsky motif and a symbol: See, for example, Kandinsky’s Painting with Troika, 1911. The troika symbolizes divinity by recalling the prophet Elijah’s fiery chariot ride to heaven.

59 His first works, painted in 1904: See, for example, Russische Schöne in Landschaft, from around 1904.

59 His last, painted in 1944: See, for example, Gedämpfter Elan, 1944.

chapter 3: expect adversity

60 One summer night in 1994, a five-­year-­old named Jennifer: Jennifer is real—­I have omitted her last name to help protect her privacy—­and so are all the important details of her story. A few narrative details—­that she had a pretty face, that her father signed the consent form, that she cried when given her shots—­are imagined or assumed. The sources for Judah Folkman’s story are Cooke, 2001; Linde, 2001; published academic papers; and Folkman’s obituaries.

62 “I had seen and handled cancers”: Linde, 2001.

63 Scientists had little respect for surgeons: Today it is common for the best medical doctors to also do basic research. Judah Folkman is one reason why. For data on the rise of physician-­scientists from the 1970s onward, see Zemlo, 2000.

65 Angiogenesis became an important theory: One promising line of investigation is whether regular doses of aspirin and other medicines modulate angiogenesis and reduce the risk of, for example, colon cancer, lung cancer, breast cancer, and ovarian cancer. See Albini et al., 2012; Holmes et al., 2013; Tsoref et al., 2014; and Trabert et al., 2014.

66 A journey of a thousand miles ends with a single step: The famous line “A journey of a thousand miles starts with single step” is from chapter 64 of the Tao Te Ching; Tsu, 1972.

66 He knows how many e-­mails he has sent: Wolfram, 2012. It is a year and a half or writing and deleting because 7 deletes out of a every 100 keystrokes is 7 percent, but you also have 7 percent of keystrokes then getting deleted; this means 14 percent of keystrokes result in no extra text; 14 percent of ten years rounded up is a year and a half. This assumes that, on average, it takes as long to decide to delete something as it does to decide to write it.

66 –67 Stephen King, for example, has published: Includes novels, screenplays, collections of short stories, and works of nonfiction. From Wikipedia’s Stephen King bibliography at

67 He says he writes two thousand words a day: King, 2001. “I like to get ten pages a day, which amounts to 2,000 words.”

67 Between the beginning of 1980 and the end of 1999: My count of Stephen King’s words starts with Firestarter (1980) and ends with The New Lieutenant’s Rap (1999); it excludes the unedited version of The Stand, which is essentially a reprint of a prior book, and Blood & Smoke, which is King reading stories published elsewhere. I used the page count in the Wikipedia bibliography at, which is for the hardback format of each book, and I assumed three hundred words per page. I subtracted six months because King was injured and barely writing after June 1999. King did not begin writing his Entertainment Weekly column, “The Pop of King,” until 2003, so that does not count toward his word total.

67 “That delete key is on your machine”: King, 2001.

67 One of King’s most popular books: King, 2001: “This is . . . the one my longtime readers still seem to like the best.”

67 “twelve hundred pages long and weighed twelve pounds”: King, 2010.

67 “If I’d had two or even three hundred pages”: King, 2001.

67 “There’s a misconception that invention”: From Dyson’s website, at

68 “just an ordinary person”: Dyson interviewed at a WIRED Business Conference, 2012. Video at

68 “The north and south winds met”: Baum, 2008.

69 house dust particles about a millionth of a meter wide: House dust dimensions from “Diameter of a Speck of Dust” in The Physics Factbook, edited by Glenn Elert, written by his students at, with sense checking by Matt Reynolds of the University of Washington.

69 “I’m a huge failure because I made 5,126 mistakes”: Dyson interviewed at a Wired Business Conference, 2012. Video at

69 “I wanted to give up almost every day”: Edited from Dyson’s website, at Full quotation: “I wanted to give up almost every day. But one of the things I did when I was young was long distance running, from a mile up to ten miles. They wouldn’t let me run more than ten miles at school—­in those days they thought you’d drop down dead or something. And I was quite good at it, not because I was physically good, but because I had more determination. I learned determination from it. A lot of people give up when the world seems to be against them, but that’s the point when you should push a little harder. I use the analogy of running a race. It seems as though you can’t carry on, but if you just get through the pain barrier, you’ll see the end and be okay. Often, just around the corner is where the solution will happen.”

69 a personal fortune of more than $5 billion: Dyson Ltd.’s 2013 revenues estimated at £6 billion by Wikipedia, at Dyson’s net worth was estimated at £3 billion by the Sunday Times in 2013. See

69 “Iterative Process”: Rubright, 2013.

69 “Try again. Fail again. Fail better”: Beckett, 1983.

70 A Hungarian psychology professor once wrote: Csikszentmihalyi, 1996.

71 “It is only half an hour”: Letter from Charles Dickens to Maria Winter, written on April 3, 1855, published in Dickens, 1894. Appears in Amabile, 1996, citing Allen, 1948. The complete quotation is: “I hold my inventive capacity on the stern condition that it must master my whole life, often have complete possession of me, make its own demands upon me, and sometimes, for months together, put everything else away from me. If I had not known long ago that my place could never be held, unless I were at any moment ready to devote myself to it entirely, I should have dropped out of it very soon. All this I can hardly expect you to understand—­or the restlessness and waywardness of an author’s mind. You have never seen it before you, or lived with it, or had occasion to think or care about it, and you cannot have the necessary consideration for it. ‘It is only half an hour,’—­‘It is only an afternoon,’—­‘It is only an evening,’ people say to me over and over again; but they don’t know that it is impossible to command one’s self sometimes to any stipulated and set disposal of five minutes,—­or that the mere consciousness of an engagement will sometimes worry a whole day. These are the penalties paid for writing books. Whoever is devoted to an art must be content to deliver himself wholly up to it, and to find his recompense in it. I am grieved if you suspect me of not wanting to see you, but I can’t help it; I must go my way whether or no.”

73 Semmelweis had convincing data to support his hypothesis: Ignaz Semmelweis was not the only doctor to suspect that puerperal fever was being transmitted to patients by doctors. He didn’t know it, but he was one of several physicians who had reached the same conclusion. Fifty years earlier, in Scotland, a surgeon named Alexander Gordon wrote about it; in 1842, Thomas Watson, a professor at the University of London, started recommending hand-washing; and in 1843, American Oliver Wendell Holmes published a paper about it. All were ignored or condemned.

73 Semmelweis saved the lives: Data from Semmelweis, 1859. Semmelweis’s numbers are not entirely clear, and there is no way to know exactly how many women would have died without hand-washing. The mean patient death rate in the First Clinic in the fourteen years before hand-washing was introduced was 8 percent, versus 3 percent in the Second Clinic over the same period. The average death rate in the First Clinic dropped to 3 percent in the years 1846 (when hand-
washing was introduced in May), 1847 and 1848 (when Semmelweis was terminated in March). If the average death rate in the First Clinic had remained at 8 percent in these three years, then 548 more women would have died. This
is the basis for the statement that Semmelweis “saved the lives of around
500 women.” This number is undoubtedly low. It does not include the fact that the average death rate only returned to its pre-­hand-washing levels several years after Semmelweis’s dismissal, nor, as mentioned, does it include babies, as there is not enough data about newborns in Semmelweis’s paper to estimate how many babies were saved. (I have assumed that Semmelweis’s use of the term “patients” in his data about deaths means the numbers refer to women only, as this is how he uses the word elsewhere in the paper.)

75 “A wise man proportions his belief to the evidence”: The Hume quotation is from Hume, 1748; the Sagan quotation is from the opening lines of the PBS television program Cosmos, episode 12, first aired on December 14, 1980, available at; the Truzzi quotation is from Truzzi, 1978. Laplace’s quotation has a more complicated pedigree. The original source is Laplace, 1814, which states, “We are so far from knowing all the agents of nature and their diverse modes of action that it would not be philosophical to deny phenomena solely because they are inexplicable in the actual state of our knowledge. But we ought to examine them with an attention all the more scrupulous as it appears more difficult to admit them.” This was rewritten as “The weight of the evidence should be proportioned to the strangeness of the facts” and called “The Principle of Laplace,” by Théodore Flournoy in Flournoy, 1900, but is most commonly repeated as “The weight of evidence for an extraordinary claim must be proportioned to its strangeness.” All four quotations are cited in the Wikipedia entry for Truzzi, at; the story of Laplace’s quotation is told in the Wikipedia entry for Laplace, at

76 “If a man has good corn, or wood, or boards”: Emerson, 1909.

76 “If a man can write a better book”: Yule, 1889. Cited in Hope, 1996.

76 “Build a better mousetrap”: Much of this section is based on a brilliant article by Jack Hope. Hope, 1996.

76 More than five thousand mousetrap patents: Hope, writing in 1996, estimated 4,400 patents, growing at 40 a year. His projection appears to be accurate: by May 2014 there were around 5,190 mousetrap patents, and applications show no sign of slowing down. See:

77 Almost all of them cite the quotation: Hope, 1996, quoting Joseph H. Bumsted, vice-­president of mousetrap manufacturer Woodstream Corporation: “They feel it was written just for them, and they recite it as if that in itself were reason for Woodstream to buy their ideas!”

77 Emerson could not have written it: Emerson died in 1882; the first mousetrap patent was issue in 1894.

77 This changed in the late 1880s: Hooker’s mousetrap has U.S. Patent Number 0528671. See

77 Hooker’s “snap trap” was perfected within a few years: See In May 2014, you could buy 20 traps for $15, with free shipping.

78 “Nation’s most precious natural resource”: Ergenzinger, 2006.

78 One company, Davison & Associates: At first, Davison was ordered to pay $26 million in compensation. The FTC and the company then reached a settlement and Davison made a “non punitive” payment of $10.7 million, which I rounded up to $11 million to keep the prose simple.

79 Many of their inventions are based on Davison’s own ideas: See, for example, the “Swingers Slotted Spoon” at Despite being listed on the “Samples of Client Products” section of the Davison Web site the product information reveals: “This corporate product was invented and licensed by Davison for its own benefit.”

79 sales of $45 million a year: This is calculated based on the disclosed number of 11,325 people a year buying a “pre-­development agreement” at the published price of $795 and the disclosed number of 3,306 people buying a “new product sample agreement” at $11,500 which is halfway between the published estimated price of $8,000—­$15,000. This adds up to gross annual revenue from these services of $47,022,375. Sources:>/legal/ads1.html, and, viewed and saved on December 31, 2012. “Other public information” refers to Dolan, 2006: “Last year [presumably 2005], he [George Davison] says, his shop netted $2 million on $25 million in revenue.”

80 He denounced Hervieu’s use of a dummy as a “sham”: The word in French is chiqué, which could also be translated as “bluff,” or “deception.” Reichelt: “Je veux tenter l’expérience moi-­même et sans chiqué [sic], car je tiens à bien prouver la valeur de mon invention.” Le Petit Journal, February 5, 1912, “L’Inventeur Reichelt S’est Tué Hier,” at

80 Reichelt had made sure his test: He met with journalists the evening before the jump; the Pathé news footage of his jump, which was never aired, is at The description of Reichelt’s preparations, leap, and subsequent death, are based on this film.

80 “I am so convinced my device will work properly”: Edited and translated from the French: “Je suis tellement convaincu que mon appareil, que j’ai déjà experimenté, doit bien fonctionner, que demain matin, après avoir obtenu l’autorisation de la préfecture de police, je tenterai l’expérience du haut de la première platforme de la Tour Eiffel.” From Le Petit Journal, February 5, 1912, “L’Inventeur Reichelt S’est Tué Hier,” at

81 Reichelt fell for four seconds: Calculated from Green Harbor Publications, “Speed, Distance, and Time of Fall for an AverageSized Adult in Stable Free Fall Position,” 2010, at

82 Hervieu was not the only one: Le Matin, February 5, 1912 (number 10205), “Expérience tragique,” at “La surface de votre appareil est trop faible, lui disait-­on; vous vous romprez cou”—­“The surface of your device is too small, he was told; you will break your neck.”

82 “For a successful technology”: From Volume 2, Appendix F, of the United States Presidential Commission on the Space Shuttle Challenger Accident, 1986, at

83 In the 1950s, two psychologists: “High school” is assumed based on the grade level and birth years the children mentioned in their autobiographical essays. Getzels 1962. There were 533 children in total.

83 Getzels and Jackson found that the most creative students: These are all bright children to begin with. The mean IQ at the school was around 135. The difference in IQ scores between the “most creative” and “least creative” here is relative to their peers.

84 It has been repeated many times: See, for example, Bachtold, 1974; Cropley, 1992; and Dettmer, 1981.

84 98 percent: Feldhusen, 1975. Cited in in Westby, 1995. Westby also hypothesizes that teachers favor less creative childen over more creative children in part because more creative children tend to be harder to control.

84 The Getzels-­Jackson effect is not restricted: Staw, 1995.

85 In one experiment, Dutch psychologist Eric Rietzschel: Rietzschel, 2010, Study 2.

85 When Rietzschel asked people to assess their own work: Rietzschel, 2010, Study 1.

86 When we are in familiar situations: Gonzales, 2004: “Normally, hippocampal cells fire perhaps only once every second on average. But at that mapped place, they fire hundreds of times faster.”

86 Uncertainty is an aversive state: See, for example, Heider, 1958; Whitson, 2008

86 Psychologists can show this in experiments: See, for example, Mueller, 2012.

86 rejection hurts: For the neural basis of why this is so, see Eisenberger, 2004; Eisenberger, 2005.

86 comes from the Old English spurnen, “to kick”: “Old English” means English spoken from the mid-­fifth through mid-­twelfth centuries.

86 In 1958, psychologist Harry Harlow proved: Artistotle, 2011, VIII.1155a5: “Without friends no one would wish to live, even if he possessed all other goods.” Cited in Eisenberger and Lieberman, 2004.

87 We know we should not suggest: Flynn and Chatman, 2001; Runco, 2010. Both cited in Mueller et al., 2012.

87 “Luddism,” our closest word: There is also the word “neophobia,” but this is uncommon and normally used only in technical literature. See, for example, Patricia Pliner and Karen Hobden. “Development of a Scale to Measure the Trait of Food Neophobia in Humans.” Appetite 19, no. 2 (October 1992):105–­20.

87 Luddism was, in the words of Thomas Pynchon: Pynchon, 1984.

87 Children’s is one of America’s highest-­ranked hospitals: As of 2012, U.S. News & World Report has ranked Children’s near or at the top of its honor roll for more than twenty years. Comarow, 2012.

88 “A man does not attain the status of Galileo”: From “Velikovsky in Collision,” in Gould, 1977.

90 William Syrotuck analyzed 229 cases: Syrotuck and Syrotuck, 2000. Cited in Gonzales, 2004.

chapter 4: how we see

92 “It contains numerous bacteria”: Warren, 2005.

92 Every patient with a duodenal ulcer: A “duodenal ulcer” is sometimes known as a “peptic ulcer.” The “acidic passage” is “the duodenum.”

93 It was eventually given the name Helicobacter pylori: H. pylori was known as Campylobacter pylori, also “pyloric campylobacter,” for some years—­H. pylori is its final and current name.

93 the Lancet, one of the world’s highest-­impact medical journals: In the 2011 Journal Citation Report: Science Edition (Thompson Reuters, 2012), the Lancet’s impact factor was ranked second among general medical journals, at 38.278, after the New England Journal of Medicine, at 53.298. From Wikipedia’s entry on the Lancet, at

93 “appeared to be a new species”: Marshall and Warren, 1984.

93 Ian Munro was no ordinary journal editor: Freeman, 1997.

93 even adding a note saying: Munro, 1984. Quoted in Van Der Weyden, 2005.

93 We now know that there are hundreds of species of bacteria: See, for example, Sheh, 2013.

94 “As my knowledge of medicine and then pathology increased”: Warren, 2005.

94 “I preferred to believe my eyes”: Marshall, 2002. Cited in Pincock, 2005.

94 a group of American scientists: Ramsey et al., 1979. Six scientists, variously from the University of Texas, Harvard Medical School, and Stanford University, authored the paper.

95 they were led by a decorated professor of medicine: John S. Fordtran, who is the last-­named author on the paper. Biographical details at Boland, 2012.

95 H. pylori was clearly visible: From Munro, 1985: “That outbreak was in a series of volunteers taking part in a study involving multiple gastric intubations and the cause was then assumed to have been viral. However, biopsy specimens have now been examined retrospectively and pyloric campylobacters have been found.”

95 “Failing to discover H. pylori was my biggest mistake”: W. I. Peterson, in a profile: “What is the biggest mistake that you have made? Failing to discover H. pylori in 1976.” Available at

95 In 1967, Susumo Ito, a professor at Harvard Medical School: Ito, 1967. Cited in Marshall, 2005.

95 In 1940, Harvard researcher Stone Freedberg: Freedberg and Barron, 1940. Cited in Marshall, 2005: “The new spiral organism was not just a strange infection occurring in Western Australia, but was the same as the ‘spirochaete’ which had been described in the literature several times in the previous 100 years. . . . In 1940, Stone Freedberg from Harvard Medical School had seen spirochaetes in 40% of patients undergoing stomach resection for ulcers or cancer. About 10 years later, the leading US gastroenterologist, Eddie Palmer at Walter Reid [sic] Hospital, had performed blind suction biopsies on more than 1000 patients but had been unable to find the bacteria. His report concluded that bacteria did not exist except as post mortem contaminants.” See also Altman, 2005.

95 H. pylori has now been found in medical literature: See Kidd and Modlin, 1998; Unge, 2002; and Marshall, 2002.

95 “inattentional blindness”: Mack and Rock, 2000.

95 “Something that we can’t see, or don’t see”: Adams, 2008. The quotation consists of two separate elements edited and combined: “An S.E.P.,” he said, “is something that we can’t see, or don’t see, or our brain doesn’t let us see, because we think that it’s somebody else’s problem. That’s what S.E.P. means. Somebody Else’s Problem. The brain just edits it out; it’s like a blind spot. If you look at it directly you won’t see it unless you know precisely what it is. Your only hope is to catch it by surprise out of the corner of your eye,” and, later, “The Somebody Else’s Problem field is much simpler and more effective, and what is more can be run for over a hundred years on a single flashlight battery. This is because it relies on people’s natural predisposition not to see anything they don’t want to, weren’t expecting or can’t explain.”

96 The path from eye to mind is long: Description of visual loop based on Seger, 2008.

96 This is why it is a bad idea: The literature on this point is unequivocal: see, for example: Harbluk et al., 2002; Strayer et al., 2003; Rakauskas et al., 2004; Strayer and Drews, 2004; Strayer et al., 2006; Strayer and Drews, 2007; and Young et al., 2007.

97 In one study, researchers put a clown on a unicycle: Hyman et al., 2010.

97 Harvard researchers Trafton Drew and Jeremy Wolfe: Drew et al., 2013, “The Invisible Gorilla Strikes Again.”

97 In 2004, a forty-­three-­year-­old woman: Lum et al., 2005. The incident took place at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, New York. Cited in Drew et al., 2013.

98 When Robin Warren accepted his Nobel Prize: Warren, 2005, citing Doyle, 2011, from “The Boscombe Valley Mystery,” first published in 1891.

98 They can diagnose a disease after looking at a chest X-­ray: Drew et al., 2013.

99 Adriaan de Groot, a chess master and psychologist: De Groot, 1978. Cited in Weisberg, 1986.

103 In 1960, twelve elderly Japanese Americans: Biographical details about Shunryu Suzuki are from Chadwick, 2000.

103 these men and women were imprisoned: Americans of Japanese descent living in San Francisco were interred at Tanforan Racetrack, now a shopping mall at 1150 El Camino Real, San Bruno, California, where they were housed in stables and barracks before being moved to other camps farther inland. University of Southern California, 1942; San Francisco Chronicle, 1942.

103 They were Zen Buddhists and congregants of Sokoji: Chadwick, 2000: “The name he gave the abandoned synagogue had a simple meaning: Soko stood for San Francisco and the ji meant temple.” The original temple was at 1881 Bush Street, four miles southeast of Fort Point and the southern end of the Golden Gate Bridge. The building was originally the Ohabai Shalome synagogue of the Jewish Congregation Ohabai Shalome; it was sold to Japanese American Teruro Kasuga in 1934 after the congregation experienced misfortunes, including a loss of membership due to religious reforms and the murder of its rabbi during what may have been a homosexual encounter. Kasuga turned it into Sokoji, also known as the “Soto Zen Center.” The congregation moved to larger facilities on Page Street between 1969 and 1972, partly as a result of the increased interest in Zen Buddhism that Shunryu Suzuki had helped create. The building’s history is beautifully described in Kenning, 2010.

103 As the sun rose: Suzuki arrived on May 23, 1959. Sunrise that day was at around 5:55 a.m. (see Japan Air Lines flight 706 arrived at 6:30 a.m. ( The plane was a DC-­6B, with silver-­and-­white livery, as shown at; also The “Pacific Courier” designation is from>. Suzuki’s clothing is described in Chadwick, 2000: “He was wearing his priest’s traveling robes with a rakusu hanging around his neck, zori, and white tabi socks.”

103 “I sit at 5:45 in the morning”: Chadwick, 2000.

103 People in India and East Asia: From Wikipedia, “The UN subregion of Eastern Asia and other common definitions of East Asia contain the entirety of the People’s Republic of China, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Mongolia and Taiwan.” According to Everly and Lating, 2002, meditation has been practiced since 1500 b.c.e. Writer Alan W. Watts helped introduce meditation to the United States in the 1959 as the presenter of KQED San Francisco’s public television series Eastern Wisdom and Modern Life. His episode on meditation, “The Silent Mind,” is at

103 Suzuki made his students sit on the floor: Chadwick, 2000. Picture at

103 If he suspected they were sleeping: The name of the stick is typically transliterated as keisaku, but it is called kyōsaku in the Soto school, of which Suzuki was a member. Picture at

104 His was American Buddhism’s first voice: Suzuki, 1970. From Fields, 1992: “It was, in fact, an American Buddhist voice, unlike any heard before, and yet utterly familiar. When Suzuki Roshi spoke, it was as if American Buddhists could hear themselves perhaps for the first time.” Fields is cited in the 2011 edition of Suzuki, Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind.

104 Nyogen Senzaki, one of the first Zen monks in America: Senzaki, 1919.

104 David Foster Wallace made the same point: Wallace, 2009.

105 Kuhn was recovering from a great disappointment: Biographical details about Thomas Kuhn are from Nickles, 2002.

106 This change in Kuhn’s path: Kuhn, 1977: “One memorable (and very hot) summer day those perplexities suddenly vanished.” Nickles, 2002, citing Caneva, 2000, quotes Kuhn describing the event as taking place during an “afternoon,” while attending a ceremony at the University of Padua, Italy, in 1992. Weinberg, 1998, also describes talking with Kuhn at this event about his understanding of Aristotle.

106 The conventional view was that the book: See, for example, Heidegger, 1956: “Aristotelian ‘physics’ . . . determines the warp and woof of the whole of Western thinking, even at that place where it, as modern thinking, appears to think at odds with ancient thinking. But opposition is invariably comprised of a decisive, and often even perilous, dependence. Without Aristotle’s Physics there would have been no Galileo.” Cited in the Wikipedia entry on Aristotle’s Physics, at

106 “Everything that is in locomotion”: Edited from Aristotle, 2012. The complete quotation is: “Everything that is in locomotion is moved either by itself or by something else. In the case of things that are moved by themselves it is evident that the moved and the movement are together: for they contain within themselves their first movement, so that there is nothing in between. The motion of things that are moved by something else must proceed in one of four ways for there are four kinds of locomotion caused by something other than that which is in motion, viz.: pulling, pushing, carrying, and twirling. All forms of locomotion are reducible to these.”

106 Science is not a continuum, he concluded: Another example, discussed at length by Kuhn, 1962: in 1667, German Johann Joachim Becher published a book called Physical Education, in which he first described his theory of how and why things burned. Becher identified a new element called “terra pinguis,” which was a part of anything that burned. Burning released terra pinguis into the air until the air was so full of terra pinguis that it could take no more, at which point the burning stopped. Things that did not burn contained no terra pinguis. In the eighteenth century, Georg Ernst Stahl changed the name of terra pinguis to “phlogiston,” and the theory dominated physics for almost a hundred years. Phlogiston, or terra pinguis, has no modern equivalent—­according to current science, it does not exist.

107 Despite its obscure topic, Kuhn’s book: Garfield, 1987: “The 10 most-­cited books, in descending order, are Thomas S. Kuhn’s Structure of Scientific Revolutions . . .” In May 2014, Google Scholar listed more than seventy thousand citations for the book ( In 2012, on the fiftieth anniversary of its release, the University of Chicago Press said, “We had no idea that we had a book on our hands that would sell over 1.4 million copies.” Press release at

107 “the most influential work of philosophy”: Gleick, 1996. The book started a debate in philosophy that continues today. Critics have accused Kuhn of using “paradigm” to mean many different things (see, for example Masterman, 1970, in Lakatos et al., 1970; Eckberg and Hill, 1979; Fuller, 2001), but they all add up to one thing: a paradigm is a way of seeing the world. The word “paradigm” also became so well known that it appeared in several cartoons in the New Yorker, including one in which a doctor tells a patient, “I’m afraid you’ve had a paradigm shift” (J. C. Duffy, December 17, 2001, at and one in which one unlucky-­looking man says to another, “Good news—­I hear the paradigm is shifting” (Charles Barsotti, January 19, 2009, at

107 “During revolutions scientists see new and different things”: Kuhn, 1962. The sudden appearance of H. pylori is not a new phenomenon. One example from Kuhn: in 1690, Britain’s astronomer royal John Flamsteed saw a star and called it “34 Tauri.” In 1781, William Herschel looked at it through a telescope but saw a comet, not a star. He pointed it out to Nevil Maskelyne, who saw a comet that might be a planet. German Johann Elert Bode saw a planet, too, and this soon led to a consensus: the object was a planet and was eventually called Uranus. Once one new planet had been discovered, the paradigm changed: finding new planets seemed possible. Astronomers, using the same instruments as before to look at the same sky, suddenly found twenty more minor planets and asteroids, including Neptune, which, like Uranus, had looked like a star since the seventeenth century. Something similar happened when Copernicus said the earth revolved around the sun: the previously unchangeable sky suddenly filled with comets that had been made visible not by new instruments but by a new paradigm. Meanwhile, Chinese astronomers, who had never believed that the sky was unchangeable, had been seeing comets for centuries.

108 Neil deGrasse Tyson, speaking at the Salk Institute: Tyson, 2006. Video at Quotation edited from the transcript at The complete quotation as transcribed is: “And we so much praise about the human eye, but anyone who has seen the full breadth of the electromagnetic spectrum will recognize how blind we are, okay, and part of that blindness means we can’t see, we can’t detect, magnetic fields, ionizing radiation, radon. We are like sitting ducks for ionizing radiation. We have to eat constantly, because we’re warm blooded. Crocodile eat a chicken a month, it’s fine. Okay, so we are always looking for food. These gases at the bottom [referring to a slide, with the words CO (carbon monoxide), CH4 (methane), CO2 (carbon dioxide)]: you can’t smell them, taste them you breath [sic] them in you’re dead, okay.”

109 “After work you have to get in your car”: Heavily edited for length from Wallace, 2009.

110 the original Chinese idea of yin-­yang: In simplified Chinese: 阴阳; traditional Chinese: 陰陽. The characters mean “sunny-­side, shady-­side.” There is no “and.”

111 “an investigation into the condition”: Lowell’s comments are edited from a quotation in Sheehan, 1996, which cites Strauss, 1994. The original quotation from Sheehan is: “What Percival Lowell hoped to accomplish through this ‘speculative, highly sensational and idiosyncratic project’ is well documented in an address he gave to the Boston Scientific Society on May 22, 1894, which was printed in the Boston Commonwealth. His main object, he stated, was to study the solar system: ‘This may be put popularly as an investigation into the condition of life on other worlds, including last but not least their habitability by beings like [or] unlike man. This is not the chimerical search some may suppose. On the contrary, there is strong reason to believe that we are on the eve of pretty definite discovery in the matter.’ To Lowell, the implications of the lines that Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli figuratively called canali were self-­evident: ‘Speculation has been singularly fruitful as to what these markings on our next to nearest neighbor in space may mean. Each astronomer holds a different pet theory on the subject, and pooh-­poohs those of all the others. Nevertheless, the most self-­evident explanation from the markings themselves is probably the true one; namely, that in them we are looking upon the result of the work of some sort of intelligent beings. . . . The amazing blue network on Mars hints that one planet besides our own is actually inhabited now.’ ” Sheehan’s work is available from the University of Arizona at

111 Lowell inspired a century of science fiction: The word “Martian” predated Lowell—­it first appeared in 1883, in a story almost certainly inspired by Schiaparelli (Lach-­Szyrma, 1883) but did not become famous until 1898, after Lowell’s announcements, when H. G. Wells published The War of the Worlds. Burroughs’s Under the Moons of Mars was a series of short stories first published in 1912, as a series under the pen name “Norman Bean,” and renamed A Princess of Mars when released in book form (Burroughs, 1917). The complete quotation is: “The shores of the ancient seas were dotted with just such cities, and lesser ones, in diminishing numbers, were to be found converging toward the center of the oceans, as the people had found it necessary to follow the receding waters until necessity had forced upon them their ultimate salvation, the so-­called Martian canals.”

111 One of Lowell’s opponents was Alfred Wallace: Wallace had already concluded that “the Earth is the only habitable planet in the solar system” when Lowell started publishing (Wallace, 1904).

111 “The totally inadequate water-­supply”: Edited from Wallace, 1907.

112 The argument was resolved in Wallace’s favor: Momsen, 1996. The complete quotation is: “And then the real wonder came—­picture after picture showing that the surface was dotted with craters! It appeared uncannily like that of our own Moon, deeply cratered, and unchanged over time. No water, no canals, no life.” Momsen was described as “the imaging engineer for JPL’s [Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s] Mariner series of missions” by John B. Dobbins on December 12, 2005, in a message to the NASA Spaceflight Forum at

112 His maps of Martian canals are mirror images: Sheehan and Dobbins, 2003. Lowell describes the “Tores” he saw on Saturn in Lowell, 1907.

113 “Perhaps the most harmful imperfection of the eye”: See Sheehan and Dobbins, 2003; also Douglass, 1907.

113 “I am not sure of the significance”: Warren, 2005.

113 –114 Ketamine, phencyclidine, and methamphetamine: Burton, 2009. Phencyclidine is also known as PCP, or angel dust. Methamphetamine is also known as “meth”; the derivatives MDMA, or ecstasy, and methamphetamine hydrochloride salt, or “crystal meth,” can also create feelings of certainty. For more on the effects of entorhinal cortex stimulation, see Bartolomei, 2004.

114 cognitive psychologists Ulric Neisser and Nicole Harsch: Neisser and Harsch, 1992. Cited in Burton, 2009.

114 Thirty-­three were sure they had never been asked: This was actually thirty-­three out of forty-­four. The study had three parts. In part one, 106 students completed a questionnaire the day after the Challenger explosion. In part two, administered two and a half years later, forty-­four of those students agreed to complete a follow-­up questionnaire. In part three, forty of those students particpated in an interview where the two questionnaires were compared. Part three, the interview, took place six months after part two, the second questionnaire, had been completed. Four students dropped out between the second and third parts of the test, which is why the base size in the test is forty.

114 This unshakable certainty was first studied in 1954: Festinger et al., 1956, in which Martin is given the pseudonym “Mrs. Marian Keech” to protect her identity.

115 “The group began reexamining the original message”: Edited from Festinger et al., 1956. Complete quotation: “At any rate, in the next hour and a half, the group began to come to grips with the fact that no caller had arrived at midnight to take them to the saucer. The problem from here on was to reassure themselves and to find an adequate, satisfying way to reconcile the disconfirmation with their beliefs. They began by re-­examining the original message which had stated that at midnight the group would be put into parked cars and taken to the saucer. In response to some of the observers’ prodding about that message during the coffee break, the Creator stated that anyone who wished might look up that message. It had been buried away among many others in a large envelope and none of the believers seemed inclined to look for it, but one of the observers volunteered. He found it and read it aloud to the group. The first attempt at reinterpretation came quickly. Daisy Armstrong pointed out that the message must, of course, be symbolic, because it said we were to be put into parked cars; but parked cars do not move and hence could not take the group anywhere. The Creator then announced that the message was indeed symbolic, but the ‘parked cars’ referred to their own physical bodies, which had obviously been there at midnight. The ‘porch’ (flying saucer), He went on, symbolized in this message the inner strength, the inner knowing, and inner light which each member of the group had. So eager was the group for an explanation of any kind that many actually began to accept this one.”

115 “From the mouth of death have ye been delivered”: Edited from Festinger et al., 1956. Complete quotation: “And mighty is the word of God—­and by his word have ye been saved—­for from the mouth of death have ye been delivered and at no time has there been such a force loosed upon the Earth. Not since the beginning of time upon this Earth has there been such a force of Good and light as now floods this room and that which has been loosed within this room now floods the entire Earth.”

116 Leon Festinger, named this gap: The term used throughout When Prophecy Fails is “dissonance.” Later, in Festinger, 1957, the term became “cognitive dissonance.”

115 In one experiment, he gave volunteers: Festinger, 1962.

116 “When dissonance is present, in addition to trying to reduce it”: Festinger, 1957.

116 Dorothy Martin had a long career: After the events described in the book, Martin moved to the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico, was involved with “the Brotherhood of the Seven Rays,” a group that included another purported “UFO contactee,” George Hunt Williamson, and at some point became known as “Sister Thedra.” According to another spiritualist, “Dr. Robert Ghost Wolf,” while she was in Mexico, Martin “had an experience which changed her in an instant when as it is told by her that [sic] Jesus Christ physically appeared to her and spontaneously cured her of cancer. He introduced himself to her by his true, [sic] name, ‘Sananda Kumara,’ thereby revealing his affiliation with the Venusian founders of the Great Solar Brotherhoods. By his command that [sic] Sister Thedra went to Peru. Sister Thedra eventually left Peru upon felling [sic] her experience there was complete. She then traveled to Mt. Shasta in California and founded the Association of Sananda and Sanat Kumara.” Dorothy Martin died in May 1992. She did her last “automatic writing” on May 3, 1992: “Sori Sori: Mine beloved, I am speaking unto thee for the good of all. It is now come the time that ye come out from the place wherein ye are. Ye shall shout for joy! Let it be, for many shall greet thee with glad shouts! So be it, no more pain . . . Amen . . . Sananda.” (Ellipses in original.) After Martin’s death, the Association of Sananda and Sanat Kumara changed its address to a location next to a pizza restaurant called “Apizza Heaven” in Sedona, Arizona. See and Martin’s story is also mentioned (rather inaccurately) in Largo, 2010.

116 “The psychologists determined that when people”: From “Extraordinary Intelligence,” a website created by a woman using the pseudonym “Natalina,” sometimes “Natalina EI,” who lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma;

chapter 5: where credit is due

118 Sleet like crystal tears fell on cobbles: Biographical details about Rosalind Franklin are from Maddox, 2003, and Glynn, 2012.

118 Physicist Erwin Schrödinger captured the spirit: Schrödinger gave a series of lectures at the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies at Trinity College in 1943 (published as a book in 1944) in which he anticipated the discovery of DNA with the statement “the most essential part of a living cell—­the chromosome fibre may suitably be called an aperiodic crystal” (Schrödinger, 1944).

120 Mendel’s work was ignored: Mendel’s work did not become widely known until the start of the twentieth century; Darwin died in 1882. Darwin proposed a “provisional hypothesis,” quite different from Mendel’s, which he called “pangenesis,” in Darwin, 1868. “Chromosome theory” is also known as “Boveri-­Sutton chromosome theory,” “the chromosome theory of inheritance,” and “the Sutton-­Boveri theory.”

120 Rosalind Franklin believed life’s messengers: It was not until the 1930s that the acids were first considered as candidate information carriers by the Canadian American scientist Oswald Avery Jr. (Maddox, 2003).

121 a crystal is any solid with atoms or molecules arranged: A crystal can also consist of a three-­dimensional, repeating arrangement of ions; I excluded that point here for clarity and simplicity.

122 Franklin published her results at the start: Franklin published regularly on the tobacco mosaic virus between 1955 and 1958 (see works by Franklin and by Franklin with others in the bibliography, below), and her work culminated in two papers published in 1958: “The Radial Density Distribution in Some Strains of Tobacco Mosaic Virus,” coauthored with Kenneth Holmes and published before her death (Holmes and Franklin, 1958), and “The Structure of Viruses as Determined by X-­ray Diffraction,” which was published posthumously (Franklin et al., 1958).

123 “Credit does not entirely belong to her”: A letter from Charles Eliot to Marie Meloney, December 18, 1920, part of the Marie Mattingly Meloney papers, 1891–­1943, Columbia University Library; Quoted in Ham, 2002.

124 Curie used the word “me” seven times: See Curie, 1911. The quotation also appears in Emling, 2013.

124 In total, only 15 women have won: “Science” means prizes in “chemistry,” “physics,” or “physiology or medicine.” The 15 women (as of 2014) are Maria Goeppert Mayer (physics, 1963), Marie Curie (physics, 1903, and chemistry, 1911), Ada E. Yonath (chemistry, 2009), Dorothy Hodgkin (chemistry, 1964), Irène Joliot-­Curie (chemistry, 1935), Elizabeth H. Blackburn (physiology or medicine, 2009), Carol W. Greider (physiology or medicine, 2009), Françoise Barré-­Sinoussi (physiology or medicine, 2008), Linda B. Buck (physiology or medicine, 2004), Christiane Nüsslein-­Volhard (physiology or medicine, 1995), Gertrude B. Elion (physiology or medicine, 1998), Rita Levi-­Montalcini (physiology or medicine, 1986), Barbara McClintock (physiology or medicine, 1983), Rosalyn Yalow (physiology or medicine, 1977), and Gerty Theresa Cori (physiology or medicine, 1947). See

126 It protected DNA specimens from humidity: Pictures of Franklin’s camera are at

127 There are many similar stories: These examples are a selection from Byers and Williams, 2010.

127 One reason is an imbalance first recorded: Zuckerman, 1965.

127 “The world is peculiar in this matter”: Quotations are from Merton, 1968.

127 Until Zuckerman, most scholars assumed: See, for example, Pareto et al., 1935, discussed in Zuckerman, 1977.

128 “For whoever has will be given more”: New International Version. Other translations and commentaries at

128 Zuckerman collaborated with Merton, then married him: Merton and Zuckerman married in 1993. Merton separated from his first wife, Suzanne Carhart, in 1968, soon after Zuckerman completed her PhD (Hollander, 2003; Calhoun, 2003; and Wikipedia entry on Robert K. Merton at

128 Patent law is complicated: See U.S. Patent and Trademark Office web page at

128 If the female scientist named the male scientist: See Radack, 1994, for a discussion of the risks of assigning inventorship to non-­inventors.

129 the average number of people who “contribute”: See discussion of Trajtenberg in chapter 1.

129 part of the macroenvironment: Merton used the word “paradigm” twenty-­five years before Kuhn, but, Merton says, with a less precise, “more limited,” meaning. See video of “Robert K. Merton Interviewed by Albert K. Cohen, May 15, 1997,” posted by the American Society of Criminology at

130 In 1676, Isaac Newton described this problem: Letter from Isaac Newton to Robert Hooke, dated “Cambridge, February 5, 1675–­6,” published in Brewster, 1860.

130 Newton got it from George Herbert: See Merton, 1993. There is an excellent summary of the life of this quotation, written by Joseph Yoon, formerly of NASA, on Aerospace Web at (although the date given for Didacus Stella’s quotation is incorrect). Bernard of Chartres may have found the idea in the work of Talmudic scholars (it appears in the writings of Talmudist Isaiah di Trani, who lived after Bernard, but Isaiah may have inherited it from other, earlier Talmudists, rather than getting it from Bernard); it could also have been inspired by the ancient Greek myth of Cedalion, who rides on the shoulders of the giant Orion.

131 a subject of curiosity at least since the winter: There are other, earlier discussions of snowflakes, including Han Ying (韓嬰, 150 b.c.e.), Albertus Magnus (1250), and Olaus Magnus (1555). I start with Kepler because he was one of the first to try to explain snowflakes by connecting them to crystals—­“Let the chemists, then, tell us whether there is any salt in snow, and what kind, and what shape it takes”—­and crystals, not snowflakes, are the subject of the discussion.

132 Geissler’s invention was a novelty: Shepardson, 1908.

132 “I have seen my death”: Markel, 2012.

133 Were they particles, like electrons: This question about X-­rays was asked before Einstein proposed wave-­particle duality.

133 In 1915, at the age of twenty-­five: Jenkin, 2008, and Authier, 2013.

134 One of them was a woman named Polly Porter: Polly was not her real name. She was christened “Mary Winearls Porter” but had always been called “Polly.”

134 While her brothers studied, Porter wandered the city: The result was a book, What Rome Was Built With. See Porter, 1907.

134 Henry Miers, Oxford’s first professor of mineralogy: Price, 2012.

135 “Dear Professor Goldschmidt”: Letter dated January 14, 1914, edited from Arnold, 1993. The quotation as it appears in Arnold is: “Dear Professor Goldschmidt: I have long had the purpose of writing you to interest you in Miss Porter, who is working this year in my laboratory and whom I hope you will welcome in your laboratory next year. Her heart is set upon the study of crystallography and I hope she will remain with you for more than one year. Her income is not sufficient for her to live in Bryn Mawr College without earning money. This Miss Porter is doing now, but her work takes too much time from her studies and besides she should go to the fountainhead of inspiration. . . . Miss Porter thinks she will, in Germany, be able to live upon her income. Miss Porter’s life has been unusual, for her parents (her father is corresponding editor of the London Times) have been almost constant travellers and she has never been to school or college save for a very brief period. There are therefore great gaps in her education, particularly in chemistry and mathematics, but to offset this I believe you will find that she has an unusual aptitude for crystal measurement, etc., and certainly an intense love of your subject. I want to see her have the opportunities which have so long been denied her—­Miss Porter is perhaps about 26 years of age, very modest and unselfassertive but with a quiet initiative. I hope you will be interested to have her as a student and 1 think she will repay all you may do for her. She must eventually be self-­supporting and I hope she will be fitted for the position of curator and crystallographer of some mineral collection. Miss Porter is spending this year only with me and if she does come to you, it will be apparent to you, I fear, that she has but made a beginning. I am, however, both ambitious for her and with faith in her ultimate success. . . .”

135 She stayed at Oxford, conducting research: Haines, 2001.

136 Bragg’s topic in 1923: The title of Bragg’s lectures was “Concerning the Nature of Things.” Bragg, 1925.

136 Dorothy Hodgkin: Biographical details about Dorothy Hodgkin are from Ferry, 2000.

137 That same year, Japanese physicist Ukichiro Nakaya: Nakaya, 1954. Summarized in nontechnical terms in Libbrecht, 2001.

137 They form around another particle: See Lee, 1995, for more. Christner et al., 2008, “examined IN [ice nucleators—­particles that act as a nucleus for ice crystals that form in the atmosphere] in snowfall from mid-­ and high-­latitude locations and found that the most active were biological in origin. Of the IN larger than 0.2 micrometer that were active at temperatures warmer than –­7°C, 69 to 100% were biological, and a substantial fraction were bacteria.”

137 Nucleobases, essential components of DNA: Callahan et al., 2011.

137 glycolaldehyde, a sugarlike molecule: Jørgensen et al., 2012.

138 Franklin likely inherited: Gabai-­Kapara, 2014, suggests that only 2 percent of Ashkenazi Jews carry a BRCA mutation, split evenly between the BRCA1 mutation and the BRCA2 mutation. (Only about three in ten thousand Ashkenazim have mutations in both their BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes.) Not all women with BRCA mutations develop ovarian cancer, and not all ovarian cancers among
Ashkenazi Jewish women are caused by BRCA mutations: only 40 percent
of Ashkenazi Jewish women who develop ovarian cancer have BRCA2 mutations. It is Franklin’s death from ovarian cancer at such a young age, combined with her Ashkenazi Jewish descent, that indicates she was likely to have been a carrier of a mutated BRCA gene.

138 The BRCA2 mutation makes: Antinou, 2003. While 1.4 percent of all women develop ovarian cancer, 39 percent of women with a BRCA1 mutation and 11 to 17 percent of women with a BRCA2 mutation develop ovarian cancer. BRCA mutations also increase breast cancer risk: while 12 percent of all women develop breast cancer, 55 to 65 percent of women with a BRCA1 mutation and 45 percent of women with a BRCA2 mutation develop breast cancer. See the National Cancer Institute at for more information about the impact of BRCA mutations on both diseases.

138 all literal cousins of Rosalind Franklin: According to genetic analysis by Carmi, 2014, all Ashkenazi Jews are descended from a population of about 350 people who lived seven hundred years ago, around 1300 CE. If we assume a generation is, on average, twenty-­five years, and the founding people were interrelated, this suggests that all living Ashkenazim are about thirtieth cousins or closer.

chapter 6: chains of consequence

140 William Cartwright’s dog started barking: Details of the attack on Cartwright’s mill taken from the “Luddite Bicentenary” website at:

141 The new and improved Enoch sledgehammers: Details about “the Great Enoch” are available on the Radical History Network blog at

142 “Governments must have arisen”: Paine, 1791.

146 He begins with Frenchman Philippe Lebon: Lebon’s patent is dated 1801, but Ehrenburg describes him developing the engine in 1798 (Ehrenburg, 1929).

147 “It really boils down to this”: Dr. King first delivered this sermon at Ebenezer Baptist Church, where he served as co-­pastor. On Christmas Eve 1967, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation aired the sermon as part of the seventh annual Massey Lectures. Available at

149 “We do not consider modern inventions to be evil”: This quotation, and other details about the Amish, are from Kraybill et al., 2013.

150 “Not everything that could be fixed should be fixed”: Morozov, 2013.

156 When all the processes in Coca-­Cola’s tool chain: Analysis based on Ercin et al., 2011.

158 Come on, my love: This is the English translation of a traditional Scottish walking, or “waulking,” song “Coisich, A Ruin” (“Come On, My Love”), probably from around the fourteenth century. There is a beautiful recording by Catriona MacDonald at Craig Coburn summarizes the tradition of the Scottish walking song at Fulling in England is discussed in Pelham, 1944; Lennard, 1951; Munro, 1999; and Lucas, 2006.

160 jobs that, less than a century later: Dating this to Towne, 1886.

161 Between 1840 and 1895, school attendance: Cipolla, 1969.

161 In 1990, America had 30 million: Statistics from Snyder, 1993, summarized at; full version at

161 The number of Americans earning college degrees: Analysis based on demographic data from InfoPlease, “Population Distribution by Age, Race, and Nativity, 1860–­2010” (; U.S. Census at; Snyder, 1993 (; and Joseph Kish’s table “U.S. Population 1776 to Present” (

chapter 7: the gas in your tank

163 In March 2002, Woody Allen did something: Biographical details about Woody Allen from Wikipedia entry at In 2002 he had won three Academy Awards—­two for Annie Hall (Best Original Screenplay and Best Director, 1978) and one for Hannah and Her Sisters (Best Original Screenplay, 1987). He had also been nominated for seventeen other awards: Annie Hall (Best Actor in a Leading Role, 1978), Interiors (Best Original Screenplay and Best Director, 1979), Manhattan (Best Original Screenplay, 1980), Broadway Danny Rose (Best Original Screenplay and Best Director, 1985), The Purple Rose of Cairo (Best Original Screenplay, 1986), Hannah and Her Sisters (Best Director, 1987), Radio Days (Best Original Screenplay, 1988), Crimes and Misdemeanors (Best Original Screenplay and Best Director, 1989), Alice (Best Original Screenplay, 1990), Husbands and Wives (Best Original Screenplay, 1993), Bullets Over Broadway (Best Original Screenplay and Best Director, 1994), Mighty Aphrodite (Best Original Screenplay, 1996), and Deconstructing Harry (Best Original Screenplay, 1998). As of 2014, since appearing at the 2002 Academy Awards ceremony, he has won a fourth award for Midnight in Paris (Best Original Screenplay, 2011) and received three other nominations: Match Point (Best Original Screenplay, 2006), Midnight in Paris (Best Director, 2011), and Blue Jasmine (Best Original Screenplay, 2014). A complete list of Allen’s awards is available at the Internet Movie Database, The speech in which he said, “For New York City, I’ll do anything” can be seen on YouTube at

163 He gives several tongue-­in-­cheek excuses: From Block and Cornish, 2012: “Audie Cornish, Host: Woody Allen is a favorite to take home at least one Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, but don’t expect the camera to cut to him when the nominees’ names are announced. Melissa Block, Host: With one exception, Woody Allen has never attended the Academy Awards. In spite of his previous 21 nominations and three wins, he declines the invites. He’s known for it, so notoriously so that urban myths are told as to why. Cornish: No, it’s not because of a standing gig playing the clarinet at a New York pub. We were assured of that by Eric Lax, who wrote ‘Conversations with Woody Allen.’ Eric Lax: It was a polite excuse. I think that, if he has a gig that night, he can say, well, I had a gig that night. I needed to be there. You know, that goes all the way back to ‘Annie Hall.’ ” Allen, quoted in Hornaday, 2012: “They always have it on Sunday night. And it’s always—­you can look this up—­it’s always opposite a good basketball game. And I’m a big basketball fan. So it’s a great pleasure for me to come home and get into bed and watch a basketball game. And that’s exactly where I was, watching the game.”

164 “The whole concept of awards is silly”: From Lax, 2000: “There are two things that bother me about [the Academy Awards],” he said in 1974 after Vincent Canby had written a piece wondering why Sleeper had received no nominations. “They’re political and bought and negotiated for—­although many worthy people have deservedly won—­and the whole concept of awards is silly. I cannot abide by the judgment of other people, because if you accept it when they say you deserve an award, then you have to accept it when they say you don’t.”

164 “I think what you get in awards is favoritism”: From Weide, 2011. Video clip on YouTube at

164 Psychologist R. A. Ochse lists eight motivations: Ochse, 1990.

164 “I want to feel my work good and well taken”: Plath, 1982, as quoted in Amabile, 1996.

165 Amabile asked ninety-­five people: Amabile, 1996.

166 Olympia SM2 portable typewriter: Australian blogger Teeritz gives a detailed description of the SM2, with photographs, at

166 “It still works like a tank”: Woody Allen quotations throughout from Lax, 2000, and Weide, 2011; descriptions (e.g., type of typewriter) based on Weide, 2011.

167 Poet John Berryman congratulated him: Simpson, 1982. Cited in Amabile 1983.

167 “When I began to think of what”: Edited from Eliot, 1948. Full text at

168 an address to the Nordic Assembly of Naturalists: Einstein, 1923.

168 The days are cold and dry: Sausalito weather in February 1976 from Old Farmer’s Almanac at

168 A strange redwood hut: Record Plant Studios, 2200 Bridgeway, Sausalito, CA 94965. Photographs of the entrance, with carved animals, at

169 Christine McVie calls it a “a cocktail party”: Crowe, 1977. Complete quotation: “ ‘Trauma,’ Christine groans. ‘Trau-­ma. The sessions were like a cocktail party every night—­people everywhere.’ ”

169 Warner Bros. compares it to the rocket: Tusk has a mixed reputation now. Some critics, and some members of Fleetwood Mac, regard it as the band’s best work.

170 Don’t Stand Me Down confused reviewers: As with Tusk, some now consider Don’t Stand Me Down to be a misunderstood masterpiece. See, for example, comments on the Guardian website at, such as, “Don’t Stand Me Down is the statement of a maverick genius that went over the heads of all but the connoisseurs.”

170 Dexys Midnight Runners would not record: Details about Dexys Midnight Runners and Don’t Stand Me Down at Wikipedia: and General discussion of “second album syndrome” in Seale, 2012.

170 “This is my story”: Dostoyevsky, 1923; partly quoted in Amabile 1983, citing Allen, 1948.

171 After getting a doctorate in psychology: Biographical details about Harry Harlow are from Sidowski and Lindsley, 1988, and the Wikipedia entry for Harry Harlow at

171 Harlow left puzzles consisting of a hinge: See Harlow, 1950.

172 “tended to disrupt, not facilitate”: Harlow et al., 1950.

172 They consistently rated the commissioned art: Amabile, Phillips, and Collins, 1994, cited in Amabile, “Creativity in Context,” 1996.

172 Princeton’s Sam Glucksberg investigated the question: Glucksberg, 1962, cited in Amabile, 1983.

172 Follow-­up experiments by Glucksberg: For example, McGraw and McCullers, 1979.

172 There are more than a hundred studies: See for example, reviews by Cameron and Pierce, 1994; Eisenberger and Cameron, 1996; and Eisenberger et al., 1999.

173 Rewards are only a problem: McGraw and McCullers, 1979, cited in Amabile 1983.

173 Amabile explored and extended this finding: Amabile,Hennessey, and Grossman (1986), cited in Amabile, “Creativity in Context,” 1996.

174 People in America’s Deep South: Among many excellent books about Robert Johnson are Wardlow, 1998; Pearson and McCulloch, 2003; and Wald, 2004.

177 One has even attributed it to “cramping”: Flaherty, 2005.

177 He wrote a play called Writer’s Block: Writer’s Block is two one-­act plays. The description given in many playbills is: “In Riverside Drive, a paranoid schizophrenic former-­screenwriter stalks a newly successful but insecure screenwriter, believing he has stealing not only his ideas but his life. Old Saybrooke, a combination of old-­fashioned sex farce and an interesting look at a writer’s process, involves a group of married couples who have cause to ponder the challenges of commitment.” See, for example, Theatre in LA at and Goldstar at

177 “For the first time in my life”: Transcript of Deconstructing Harry corrected from Drew’s Script-­O-­Rama at

177 Allen took the role of Harry: Details about Allen’s process, and Allen quotations, from Lax, 2000.

179 “You have to dip your pen in blood”: Allen may be thinking of the following comment, reported by pianist Alexander Goldenveizer in a memoir translated
by S. S. Koteliansky and Virginia Woolf as Talks with Tolstoi, published by the
Hogarth Press in 1923: “One ought only to write when one leaves a piece of one’s flesh in the ink-­pot each time one dips one’s pen.” This extract from the memoir is also referenced in Walter Allen’s Writers on Writing, 1948.

181 Popular Science described them as “savages”: Barrows, 1910.

181 The last anthropologist to live: Boston Evening Transcript, 1909.

181 Rosaldo captured the Ilongots’ insights in a book: Rosaldo, 1980.

182 “The force of any passion or emotion”: Spinoza, 1677.

182 “We can’t be misled by passions”: Descartes, 1649.

182 Daquan Lawrence celebrated his sixteenth birthday: Daquan Lawrence’s story and lyrics are from Hansen, 2012.

184 the Irene Taylor Trust claimed: The claims, which have been repeated in several of the Trust’s publications as well as by other sources, refer to a production of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar at Bullingdon Prison in Oxfordshire, England, in May 1999. According to the Trust’s original evaluation report, “94% of participants did not offend during the time that they were involved in the Julius Caesar Project” and “There was a 58% decrease in the offence rates of participants in the six months following the project, compared to the offence rates in the six-month period before the project began.” The full report, which is called “Julius Caesar—H.M.P Bullingdon,” and is undated and attributed only to the “Irene Taylor Trust,” can be downloaded from

185 In the 1950s, George “Shotgun” Shuba: George Shuba story from Kahn, 1972, cited in Glasser, 1977, which mistakenly calls Shuba “Schuba.”

185 what psychologist William Glasser later called: Glasser, 1976.

186 “I’ll start with scraps and things”: Allen in Weide, 2011.

186 “To begin, to begin”: From the movie Adaptation (2002), directed by Spike Jonze. These lines are written by Charlie Kaufman and said by the character “Charlie Kaufman,” a screen writer struggling with a script, played by Nicholas Cage.

187 “Work brings inspiration”: Notes about Stravinsky, including this quotation, from Gardner, 2011.

188 Science describes the destruction unequivocally: See, for example, Bailey, 2006, which details experimental results and also includes a good literature review.

191 Woody Allen has pondered that: Lax, 2010. The complete quotation from Allen is:

“Why not opt for a sensual life instead of a life of grueling work? When you’re at heaven’s gate, the guy who has spent all his time chasing and catching women and has a sybaritic life gets in, and you get in, too. The only reason I can think of not to is, it’s another form of denial of death. You delude yourself that there’s a reason to lead a meaningful life, a productive life of work and struggle and perfection of one’s profession or art. But the truth is, you could be spending that time indulging yourself—assuming you can afford it—­because you both wind up in the same place.

“If I don’t like something, it doesn’t matter how many awards it’s won. It’s important to keep your own criteria and not defer to the trends of the marketplace.

“I hope that somewhere along the line it will be perceived that I’m not really a personal malcontent, or that my ambition or my pretensions—­which I freely admit to—are not to gain power. I only want to make something that will entertain people, and I’m stretching myself to do it.”

chapter 8: creating organizations

193 In January 1944, Milo Burcham strolled: Descriptions of the Skunk Works drawn mainly from Johnson, 1990, and Rich, 1994.

193 Lulu Belle’s official name: To be precise: Lockheed’s prototypes, or “experimental” aircraft, had the prefix “X” in their names, so Lulu Belle’s full official name was the “XP-­80.” The P-­80 was the name of subsequent production aircraft based on her design.

198 “When you’re dealing with a creative process”: Frank Filipetti quotation from Massey, 2000.

199 In November 1960, Robert Galambos figured: Robert Galambos’s biographical details from Squire, 1998.

200 “Quite possibly the most important roles of glia”: Barres, 2008. This quotation also appears in Martin, 2010. For more on the importance of glia, see Barres, 2008; Wang and Bordey, 2008; Allen, 2009; Edwards, 2009; Sofroniew and Vinters, 2010; Steinhäuser and Seifert, 2010; and Eroglu and Barres, 2010.

201 “Truth-­tellers are genuinely passionate”: Edited from a pre-­press edition of Downes and Nunes, 2014. Downes and Nunes interviewed me for this part of their book as an example of a “truth-­teller.”

205 In 1960, the Puppeteers’ annual Puppetry Festival: There is a photograph of the event program in the Jim Henson Archive at

205 Mike and Frances befriended a first-­time attendee: Biographical details about Jim Henson and Frank Oz are mainly from Jones, 2013; Davis, 2009; and the Muppet Wiki at

205 he wanted to be a journalist, not a puppeteer: Douglas, 2007.

206 Henson and Oz found two new Muppets: The story of Bert and Ernie draws from the Wikipedia entry at

207 After the words “In Color,” two clay animation: The first episode of Sesame Street can be seen on YouTube at

208 “Bert and Ernie are two grown men sharing a house”: Various sources, including the Muppet Wiki, attribute this quotation to a radio broadcast by Chambers in 1994. See

210 an animated television series they created: South Park, the television series, which first aired in 1997, is based on two animated shorts that Parker and Stone created in 1992 and 1995.

210 Parker and Stone let filmmaker Arthur Bradford: Six Days to Air: The Making of South Park (2011), sometimes known as Six Days to South Park, directed by Arthur Bradford.

214 In 1998, Viacom asked the two men: Quotations and details about the making of the South Park movie from Pond, 2000.

216 In 2006, Peter Skillman, an industrial designer: TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) 2006. Video at

216 developed with Dennis Boyle: Skillman gives details on the genesis of the marshmallow challenge on the TED website at

217 Creative professional Tom Wujec confirmed this: Wujec’s slides, and a talk he gave at the 2010 TED conference, at

217 “Several teams will have the powerful desire”: From Wujec’s marshmallow challenge instructions at

218 “Although children’s use of tools”: Quotations from Vygotsky, 1980.

222 In 1954, something unprecedented happened: Cornwell, 2010.

223 Before microsociology, the dominant assumption: Model adapted from David McDermott’s website Decision Making Confidence at

224 Sociologist Erving Goffman called the moves: Collins, 2004.

225 the average office worker attends: Data from my own online survey of 123 self-­described “office workers,” working at various levels of their organizations.

225 the more creative an organization is: See Mankins et al., 2014.

226 “I was assigned to work with Bill Mylan”: Johnson, 1990.

226 In 1966, Philip Jackson: From Jackson, 1966: “The other curriculum might be described as unofficial or perhaps even hidden, because to date it has received scant attention from educators. This hidden curriculum can also be represented by three R’s, but not the familiar one of reading, ’riting, and ’rithmetic. It is, instead, the curriculum of rules, regulations, and routines, of things teachers and students must learn if they are to make their way with minimum pain in the social institution called the school.”

226 “The crowds, the praise, and the power”: Jackson quotations in this section from Jackson, 1968.

228 “The personal qualities”: The complete quotation from Jackson is:

“The personal qualities that play a role in intellectual mastery are very different from those that characterize the Company Man. Curiosity, as an instance, is of little value in responding to the demands of conformity. The curious person typically engages in a kind of probing, poking, and exploring that is almost antithetical to the attitude of the passive conformist. The scholar must develop the habit of challenging authority and questioning the value of tradition. He must insist on explanations for things that are unclear. Scholarship requires discipline, to be sure, but this discipline serves the demands of scholarship rather than the wishes and desires of other people. In short, intellectual mastery calls for sublimated forms of aggression rather than for submission to constraints.”

229 –230 airplanes killed 2.2 million people: Wartime casualty figures are notoriously unreliable and always disputed. To quote statistical historian Matthew White (White, 2013): “The numbers that people want to argue about are casualties.” Here, 2.2 million is the sum of casualties and losses listed in the Wikipedia entry “Strategic Bombing During World War II” (, which reflects the consenus of historians: 60,595 British civilians; 160,000 airmen in Europe; more than 500,000 Soviet civilians; 67,078 French civilians killed by U.S.-­U.K. bombing; 260,000 Chinese civilians; 305,000–­600,000 civilians in Germany, including foreign workers; 330,000–­500,000 Japanese civilians; 50,000 Italians killed by Allied bombing. Adding these numbers together and taking the high end where there are ranges gives a total of 2,197,673. The sources for these numbers (all of which are listed in the entry itself) include Keegan, 1989; Corvisier and Childs, 1994; and White, 2003.

230 fired three thousand shells for each bomber: This number is based on the efficiency of German 88mm guns, or “eighty-­eights,” at destroying Boeing B-­17 Flying Fortresses, which was 2,805 shells per bomber destroyed. Westermann, 2011, cited in Wikipedia at

231 the Lockheed SR-­72: Demonstrations of the SR-­72 could begin in 2018, with initial flights in 2023, and full service in 2030, according to Brad Leland, Lockheed’s portfolio manager for air-­breathing hypersonic technologies, in Norris, 2013.

chapter 9: good-­bye, genius

232 whenever he removed his Quaker-­style “wide-­awake” hat: Galton recommends the wide-­awake in his book The Art of Travel (Galton, 1872)—­“I notice that old travellers in both hot and temperate countries have generally adopted a scanty ‘wide-­awake’ ”—­so I have assumed he may have worn one. The wide-­awake is also known as the “Quaker hat.” Images at

232 He wrote later that they were “savages”: Comments from Galton, 1872. For example: “Seizing Food—­On arriving at an encampment, the natives commonly run away in fright. If you are hungry, or in serious need of anything that they have, go boldly into their huts, take just what you want, and leave fully adequate payment. It is absurd to be over-­scrupulous in these cases.”

234 in Britain, for example, an “E3” carcass is “excellent”: From the EC, or EUROP, classification grid in the U.K. Rural Payments Agency’s “Beef Carcase Classification Scheme,” available at

234 “The negro race has occasionally, but very rarely”: Galton, 1869.

237 In 2010, the average person: According to the Global Burden of Disease 2010 study (Wang, 2013), the world average life expectency is 67.5 for men and 73.3 for women. The unweighted average of these two values is 70.4, which rounds to 70.

238 “The power of population is indefinitely greater”: Malthus quotations from Malthus, 1798, and subsequent editions.

239 famine declined as population increased: See Devereux and Berge, 2000, for a comprehensive study of famine in the twentieth century.

239 the First and Second World Wars combined: Data from Pinker, 2010, which uses Brecke, 1999; Long and Brecke, 2003; and McEvedy and Jones, 1978 as sources.