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Strange Brains and Genius:
What is the connection between genius and madness? IBM-based polymath Clifford Pickover approaches the question in a characteristically eclectic way. First he looks at the lives of a collection of eccentric scientists, from Nikolai Tesla to the Unabomber, giving each a name ("The Fly Man from Galway"; "The Rat Man from London") deliberately reminiscent of Sigmund Freud's names for his cases. Then Pickover discusses obsessive-compulsive disorder and the relationship between brain structure and genius. The book is organized less by an overall thesis than by what interests Pickover; thus, it includes descriptions of vaults filled with brains in formaldehyde, what it means to say that we use only 10 percent of our brains, e-mail replies to a poll on what a supergenius might be, and the latest research on the biochemistry of intelligence. Dedicated "to the cracked, for they shall let in the light," the book is engaging, haphazard, thought-provoking, and genial. --Mary Ellen Curtin [via]