** The Geography of Genius by Eric Weiner

The Geography of Genius: A Search for the World’s Most Creative Places From Ancient Athens to Silicon Valley often reads like an indulgent travelogue to locales that share little more than having been, once upon a time, happening places of one kind or another. The author attempts to identify a common thread between Athens,  Edinburgh, Hangzhou, Florence, and Silicon Valley, but it’s not always easy to distinguish between the cause and the consequence of creativity. Of course, creative places are cosmopolitan and chaotic, and of course they will recycle ideas already in the air and not be too rich (there goes Silicon Valley) but what came first, creativity or chaos?

Still, the narrative is charming and the author describes many non-obvious geniuses such as James Hutton and Shen so the book is fun to read, if not entirely convincing.


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