Robinson studies geniuses and his book is a study of ten geniuses in field ranging from science and film, to music and literature. Because the sweep is so grand, he cannot find similarities. For example, he says there is no creative personality.
Similarly, he finds that formal education plays no role in creativity, but formal education is only a small part of most genius’s education. Family and marriage sometimes help, but not really. In other words, there is no clue how to increase one’s own creativity, which is the reason I read books like this. He does say that it takes ten years to master any subject. That is common to nearly all his subjects.
Mental illness and alcoholism play a role in literary genius but apparently in no other kind. This makes me feel better. I am a recovering alcoholic and I am bipolar so this gives me a leg up when I am writing, I suppose.
The book focuses mostly on scientific genius and as such, had little interest for me. And again, it has no information on how to become more creative, on lessons one could learn from each genius’s life. In other words, if you want biographical information about a bunch of geniuses, go at it, but for the rest of us, I’d recommend skipping it.