Reading List: The Seventh Sense

UPDATED: October 12, 2015
PUBLISHED: May 30, 2015

We often think of aha moments or epiphanies as unexpected strokes of genius—dazzling ideas that pop into our minds fully formed. Not so, according to this author, in The Seventh Sense.

While a flash of insight happens in an instant, the brain activity behind it takes much longer. Rather than being an original idea that springs up in a vacuum, it’s a “new combination of previous elements,” writes William Duggan, who teaches a Columbia Business School course on the subject. Duggan explains how to cultivate and sharpen your seventh sense, applying methods and practices gleaned from neuroscience, Asian philosophy and even military strategy to help you recognize, register, mentally record and follow through on those revelations.

While Duggan succeeds in explaining the cumulative nature of insight and conveying the importance of freeing the mind to create space for such flashes to break through, he doesn’t weigh in on how to vet the merits of a big idea. Readers might be left wondering: How do I know if it’s a flash of genius or a flash in the pan?

by William Duggan
May; Columbia University Press; $29.95