01/05/2012. Contributed by Geoff Willmetts
pub: Prometheus Books. 283 page indexed hardback. Price: $25.00 (US), GBP21.95 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-61614-464-7.
check out website: www.prometheusbooks.com
One thing I never get short of is inspiration. By nature, I’m a problem solver. A lot of my inspiration derives from seeing something that has been done to death and finding a new take on it or looking for solutions to self-created problems. I did this with my own ‘Psi-Kicks’ stories and finding elements of it, like sharing abilities, not explored and now appearing in other work now. As with all things, there has to be someone finding a new take on something for others to follow.
Katherine Ramsland’s book, ‘Snap: Seizing Your AHA! MOMENTS’ (caps from the book cover), examines this point of view and from the start I could find something I could easily relate to. She provides plenty of examples of where people get the Eureka! moment without streaking down the street. You also have to have the initiative to do something with the idea and realisation which is probably tougher than it appears. If anything, Ramsland tends to gloss over a bit of that problem, mostly because her examples have sufficient wealth or can use that of others if you can convince them you’re right, which is probably the biggest obstacle. It might pay to give them this book to them as an example that when such apparently wild ideas are right, they can also make a lot of money, just don’t give them your copyright.
A lot of these examples are from modern times and things you use regularly like the Internet, search engines and even the likes of Facebook, for those of you who use it. The one thing about digital developments is that if they are sound, then they can escalate across the world in no time. The development of the mobile phone by Martin Cooper and D.H. Ring came about largely by being inspired by the ‘Star Trek’ communicator which has ultimately got more functions these days. With DNA, Kary Mullis recognising the DNA blocks in genes led to rapid development of how to manipulate it.
Ramslake does a series of cognitive tests throughout the chapters so you can get your own personal Ah-hah! moments of discovery as well. I’m going to give the example from page 143 here, but mostly to show an alternative solution I came up with. Her puzzle was: ‘I start with an e and end with an e, and I contain only one letter, but I’m not an e. What am I?’ Her answer was an envelope but I went a little more lateral and thought that ‘eve’ would also fit the same criteria and just as potent a meaning. Ergo, don’t always assume one ending is correct.
There is much examination of how things can occur to people, whether awake or asleep, the latter depending more on how much you remember when you wake up. A combination of other factors can help develop your own personal Ah-hah! moments in reading up on a lot of subjects and also how to relax and let your unconscious mind do the analysing. Both of which I can testify does work. When I type, like I am here, I let my fingers do the typing rather than formulate what I’m thinking, I do that far more when I switch into edit mode. As such, I’m just projecting what’s going through my head than dwelling on it too much. Ramslake makes a good case for developing this trait but I do think there needs to be some level of control or giving some decisions a second’s conscious thought to ensure you’re making the right decision.
If you have a writer’s block or with any other thought process, Ramslake points out that doing something else, like mowing the lawn, gives your brain an opportunity to put itself together. She even sites Asimov having a break at the cinema when he got to a story problem. Having the ability to look from someone else’s perspective is also useful and is probably the root to why I tend to second-guess people in my articles and cover all issues. Things like this I find pretty obvious but I suspect less for other people. If you want to develop your creative juices, then this section will certainly point you into areas you’ve never considered before.
As you might guess from this review, I’m more affirming a lot of the things that I do normally as second nature. For others, I can see this book offering you encouragement to develop such abilities and by the examples of others to feel inspired by them. She slips the information on how to do much of this in such an easy manner that you’d probably start doing some things without realising so which is always the sign of a good book.
Whether this book will motivate you to find your own inspired realisation or cultivate your own discovery is really up to the individual. If anything, it should make you think how much of your live depends on the inspiration of others and then starting to do the same yourself. If you want to stand out from the crowd or do it better then you will learn a lot from this book.
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