To imagine to see that which is not there is the startling ability that has fuelled human development and innovation through the centuries. As a species we stand alone in our remarkable capacity to refashion the world after the pictures in our minds.
Traversing the realms of science, politics, religion, culture, philosophy and history, Felipe Fernandez-Armesto reveals the thrilling and disquieting tales of our imaginative leaps from the first Homo sapiens to the pioneers of the digital age. Through ground-breaking insights in cognitive science, he explores how and why we have ideas in the first place, providing a tantalising glimpse into who we are and what we might yet accomplish.
A magisterial paean to the human imagination from a wonderfully elegant thinker, Out of Our Minds is a unique history of our species.
`...a triumph. Preternaturally erudite, always intelligible, often witty, Out of Our Minds should be essential reading not just for historians of ideas, but for all readers interested in the human past.' -- Niall Ferguson, Milbank Family Senior Fellow, the Hoover Institution, Stanford
`A sparkling account of how imagination and ideas have shaped the strange history of Homo sapiens over more than two hundred thousand years.' -- David Christian, author of Origin Story
`Brilliant and profound, Out of Our Minds is a masterly survey of humanity's unique imaginative leaps, from hominid cannibalism to our current global convergence. Fernandez-Armesto is the leading practitioner of big history, and here he takes on no less than the entire span of human history. Gone are the great men, replaced instead by the ideas - good and bad - that have made us human. Written with his trademark panache and wry humour, this book challenges every assumption you've ever had about who we are and where we came from.' -- Jerry Brotton, Professor of Renaissance Studies, Queen Mary University of London, and author of A History of the World in 12 Maps
`With its majestic sweep, this refreshing book covers a great many subjects with considerable authority. Felipe Fernandez-Armesto is a gifted writer, guiding the reader through subtleties without failing to illustrate his complex ideas with a telling example.' -- Daniel Lord Smail, Frank B. Baird, Jr. Professor of History, Harvard University