The Creative Spark

Here’s a great new book by Agustin Fuentes, The Creative Spark. He starts with a pretty standard claim: that compared to all other animals, including our close primate relatives, creativity is what makes humans special. But what’s new here is that Fuentes says that it’s not just creativity–it’s creativity combined with social collaboration. I make a similar argument in my book, Group Genius: The Creative Power of Collaboration–that collaboration drives all creativity.

Here are some of Fuentes’ statements:

Our humanness can be attributed to our ancestor’s collaborative creativity.


The spark of creativity emerges from the way that our ancestors made social lives and social innovations central.


Science is rooted in deep patterns of human creativity and collaboration.

This is great stuff!

Note: in the quotations I’ve drawn on paraphrases from a book review by David Barash, in the WSJ July 22-23 2017.


2 thoughts on “The Creative Spark

  1. Hello Keith: What a nice surprise to see your shout-out for a book I happened to have pulled from the library and have been devouring as avidly as a page-turner thriller. It’s an extremely well-written “science for the layperson” book that presents some recent findings in archeology and anthropology that are really exciting and challenge many of our pre-conceptions about pre-history.

    In addition to his emphasis on creativity and collaboration, I was fascinated by his close attention to the role of empathy, “mirror neurons” assisting our ability to observe animals and plants and think like them, and how these same capacities extended to our own bonding – not only with children but even with domesticated animals. As a musician who is getting more and more interested in what evolutionary biology and neuroscience has to say about the role of music, I look forward to ways this new research might illuminate the central importance of music as a kind of training of our neuro-sensory systems to find patterns, to identify with the observed, and to create empathic bonds that are a key component of both creativity and collaboration.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s