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  • Writer's pictureHannah Anderson

The Pure Genius of Eric Weiner's Book Geography of Genius

Updated: Oct 3, 2023

Whether we are conscious of it or not, everyone is an influencer, in one capacity or another. The range of that influence revolves around who you are and what particular things you find interest in. You may encourage your husband to watch that new show that you just discovered over the weekend. You may suggest a new restaurant to your parents. Or, perhaps, like myself and my friends, you send custom-made song playlists to each other to share the music and lyrics that you love! In many ways, you and I influence others.

Right now, I am going to use the same powerful everyday influence to suggest a book to you that I have found great value in. The Geography of Genius by Eric Weiner is that book.

I quite literally stumbled upon Eric Weiner's book two summers ago as I perused the book section of a small Ollies in Pennsylvania. What began as a slight curiosity of the book's plot quickly and unexpectedly turned into an obsession: a page-turner that I could not put down. Being the history and travel intrigued person that I am, I could not keep my eyes away from the stories and knowledge that Eric intricately wove together.

The Geography of Genius follows its author Eric Weiner throughout his travels to some of the world's best "golden-age" locations. While traveling, Weiner analyzes the histories, themes, differences, and similarities of these unique locations and the everyday genius of the people who lived there. The author dissects the different traits that cultivate intelligence and creativity, with chapters exploring golden-age Athens, Hangzhou, Florence, Edinburgh, Calcutta, Vienna, and Silicon Valley. With each chapter, the author presents his material with a humorous and conversational tone. Like a good teacher, Eric Weiner makes the content he covers clear and engaging to readers.

The Geography of Genius delves into many different facets of creativity while also showing the potential for creativity in our day-to-day lives. I especially appreciated one specific part of chapter 3 and am reminded daily of what was said about the creative process. Eric Weiner (2016) suggests that instead of just a typical museum that displays successes and masterpieces, there should also be a museum of mistakes, remarking,

"...W. H. Auden observed, "In the course of his lifetime, the major poet will write more bad poems than the minor." There's a simple reason for this. The more shots you get at the target, the more likely you'll eventually score the bull's-eye, but the more misses you'll accrue, as well. The bull's-eyes in museums and on library shelves, not the misses. Which, when you think about it, is a shame. It feeds the myth that geniuses get it right the first time, that they don't make mistakes, when in fact, they make more mistakes than the rest of us (p. 116)."

If you are wanting to give this book a read and see what you think for yourself, I am inserting a link to it on Amazon. ON ONE CONDITION- that you come back to me once you're through to tell me all about it! ;)

Here are some questions for you once you finish the book-

  • What inspired you the most about some of the different locations of genius?

  • What places did you connect with the most?

  • Will this impact the way you see traveling, or better yet- will this book impact the way you see your daily life experiences?

  • Does this change your view on the impact of your choices where you are placed?

  • What current habits do you think you will change after reading to pursue a more intentional and creative life?

  • I truly enjoyed sharing this gem with you all! I apologize for not writing for so long, though I promise I have some very good reasons! Some, I will sure to be sharing soon!

I thoroughly enjoyed sharing this gem with you all! Trust me, I have some excellent reasons for not posting in so long. Some I may touch on soon in future posts!

Until next time, readers!

Hannah Anderson


Weiner, Weiner Eric. The Geography of Genius: a Search for the World's Most Creative Places from Ancient Athens to Silicon Valley. Simon & Schuster, 2016.

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