The Geography of Genius

Book Cover: The Geography of Genius

In this “intellectual odyssey, traveler’s diary, and comic novel all rolled into one” (Daniel Gilbert, author of Stumbling on Happiness), acclaimed travel writer Weiner sets out to examine the connection between our surroundings and our most innovative ideas. A “superb travel guide: funny, knowledgeable, and self-deprecating” (The Washington Post), he explores the history of places like Vienna of 1900, Renaissance Florence, ancient Athens, Song Dynasty Hangzhou, and Silicon Valley to show how certain urban settings are conducive to ingenuity. With his trademark insightful humor, this “big-hearted humanist” (The Wall Street Journal) walks the same paths as the geniuses who flourished in these settings to see if the spirit of what inspired figures like Socrates, Michelangelo, and Leonardo remains. In these places, Weiner asks, “What was in the air, and can we bottle it?”

“Fun and thought provoking” (Miami Herald), The Geography of Genius reevaluates the importance of culture in nurturing creativity and “offers a practical map for how we can all become a bit more inventive” (Adam Grant, author of Originals).

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Right after being born in Saudi Arabia, I was taken to the Callen house. Since then, Bryan and I have travelled the world with our Citibank fathers and somehow ended up in LA together. There we'd run into each other at family gatherings and do something that no one else in LA seemed to be doing: we talked about books. Since Bryan was kind of a big deal, Hunter and Bryan hatched a scheme to use his podcast to get on their favorite authors and professors. Out of that evolved Mixed Mental Arts and this tribe. For me, the marriage of entertainment and education is a return to how things used to be before our culture split story into two separate things. It's exciting to be able to build on the work Katie O'Brien and I did for The Straight-A Conspiracy and expand it out to every area of life. While I play a series of roles in the Mixed Mental Arts community (including Shitty Dutch Uncle and Bryan's #1 fan) my favorite role is as Toto who pulls back the curtain and let's the world see that there are no wizards...only men and women who try and puff themselves up to seem important.