Friday, December 15, 2006
"Eragon" author reveals the secret to his genius
"Eragon" author Christopher Paolini
Editor's note: Christopher Paolini is the 23 year-old author of the young-adult fantasy books "Eragon" and "Eldest." A film based on "Eragon" opens nationwide today. Paolini was featured in the Dr. Sanjay Gupta Special "Genius" earlier this year. We invited him to blog on planting and cultivating the seeds of genius.

When I met Sanjay Gupta this summer, we spent a long time talking about creativity: how to define it, the importance of encouraging it in childhood and early adulthood, its importance in nearly every aspect of modern life, and what people can do to develop creativity in themselves and in others.

The conversation reminded me of certain methods my parents used when home schooling my sister and me, techniques that helped us express ourselves freely and find unique solutions to problems. For example, whenever we became curious about a particular subject, my mother would surround us with information on that topic: books from our local library, pictures, music, sticker books... anything relevant to the subject. She would encourage us to draw pictures and write a few paragraphs on the subject, and then she would take these pages and bind them into booklets.

The rich environment my parents provided taught us to embrace new knowledge and to enjoy educating ourselves. These are habits that anyone can learn on their own. Whenever you come across an unfamiliar fact or skill, grab hold of it and learn everything possible about it. By doing so, you can acquire a vast pool of facts, figures, and abilities: the primordial soup from which creativity can arise. For creativity, at its simplest, is the art of putting together seemingly unrelated things and combining them in new ways. By doing that- by looking at the world from a different perspective - it's possible to achieve greater success in work, play and in artistic endeavors.
Chris Paolini also taught me a lot about creativity and genius. It is no secret that, at 15, he wrote a book that could become one of the biggest movies of the holiday season. What was amazing to me was how he sees the link between creativity and genius.

Sure, there are a lot of people who are very good at taking tests and even assimilating lots of information. They are unquestionably bright. A creative genius, though, seems to be someone who creates something new or looks at something and suddenly puts an entirely new spin on it.

When Chris looked at the Paradise Valley around his beautiful Montana home, he saw more than a vast wilderness. He saw Palancar Valley, in a mystical land called Alagaesia, and his creative genius began to soar. He created colorful characters and an entire storyline that revolved around... no surprise, a 15-year-old. And, Eragon was born. Congratulations, Chris.
Great, I'll try what your mother tried on my kids. It's obviously better than drilling what they don't want to do. Its kind of how researchers operate, its too bad elementary schools have to mainstream everyone.
Hooray for another home schooler success story. We have homeschooled 5 children and the two old enough to go to college went early, did well, and really followed their passion for their fields (multi-media/film and paleo-climatology). The creativity and enhanced problem solving skills allowed to flourish in home schooling is one of its greatest benefits. Thanks for the article. And for promoting thinking outside the traditional education 'box'.
I did not know that cheap literature (even when popular) counts as genius
It is my understanding that the synthetic HRT's mimic the body's hormones but are not hormones, their chemical makeup has variations that are slightly but very significantly different. But natural replacement hormone therapy is identical in chemistry to human hormones, does not increase the risk of cancer and does relieve symptoms. The reason women are not prescribed natural HRT is that it is not patentable, ie. cannot be sold at a profit by drug companies. A person seeking natural HRT must be tested for her current hormone levels. Currently a natural HRT prescription is obtained from a naturopath or a nurse practitioner and the prescription is made up by a compounding pharmacist at a compounding pharmacy. (Do most people even know such a pharmacy exists?) Everything about this is "individual" and cannot be mass marketed. Drug companies and most doctors are offering HRT to women based on statistidal 'average' levels of decreased hormones. This says nothing about what an individual women's hormone levels are. You have to be tested for what your individual body's needs are, and then take exactly the 'natural' hormones you are deficient in. Most people already know that Premarin comes from pregnant mare urine. Think about it.
I am a 62 year old granny and my daughter who is 30 got me hooked on your books, we loved them! We are going to the movie this weekend and we are astounded that someone so young could write such a story! Actually, I am astounded that ANYONE could! Thank you, you woke up the little child in me and gave a spark to my old imagination which was dusty and crusty from lack of use. You are amazing, and fortunate to have parents to put the spark into you in the first place! Namaste young peace warrior!
Dr Gupta I just finished watching Ac 360 and a man blind folded, working on the Rubik's cube. I couldn't believe what i saw with my eyes. This person is the real deal. He matched all the colors on the cube. I was disappointed that Anderson pick up the cube, and made no real effort, was quickly bord because he couldnt do what this guy did. Wow that genius!
My little brother has read this book and i can already see him staring at things like trees and old pots- and thinking about them. Whereas before these things seemed ordinary and as though they were always here and no one needs to pay attention to them. He's brighter than he thinks and its reading and writing and drawing which are pushing him further.
What's good enough for a congress person is good enough for all of americans. We should all have the health care that the american president or congress person has. After all, we are their bosses. In addition, we spend billions of dollars around the world. Why should you or any one else feel that there should be a price tag on our health and well being. We pay the cost to be the boss.
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