Harvard Business Review Press

(March 17, 2010)

272 pages

ISBN: 978-1422133309





No organization can survive without iconoclasts — innovators who single-handedly upturn conventional wisdom and manage to achieve what so many others deem impossible.


Though indispensable, true iconoclasts are few and far between. In Iconoclast, neuroscientist Gregory Berns explains why. He explores the constraints the human brain places on innovative thinking, including fear of failure, the urge to conform, and the tendency to interpret sensory information in familiar ways.


Through vivid accounts of successful innovators ranging from glass artist Dale Chihuly to physicist Richard Feynman to country/rock trio the Dixie Chicks, Berns reveals the inner workings of the iconoclast’s mind with remarkable clarity. Each engaging chapter goes on to describe practical actions we can each take to understand and unleash our own potential to think differently — such as seeking out new environments, novel experiences, and first-time acquaintances.


Packed with engaging stories, science-based insights, potent practices, and examples from a startling array of disciplines, this engaging book will help you understand how iconoclasts think and equip you to begin thinking more like an iconoclast yourself.

Praise from Publishers Weekly and Fast Company

"This fascinating work lays out where great ideas come from, how our brain often works against us, and what we can do about it to seize the day."

Fast Company

Best Business Books of 2008


"Though keeping his promise to reveal the “biological basis” for the ability to think outside the box, Berns keeps technical explanation to a minimum, instead using themes like perception, fear and networking to profile a number of famous free-thinkers."

Publishers Weekly

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