While the book concentrates on many of these fascinating medical happenstances, the author brings serendipity into other aspects of our lives. He writes about how it influences art. One of his examples talks about the Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky, who walked into his studio studio one evening to see a "dazzling object" on his easel. The light was low, and he couldn't make out what it was, but the shapes and colors dazzled him. He then realized it was his painting resting on its side, and was taken with the importance and emotional powers of colors. He used this knowledge to ultimately became known as the father of abstract art.
The author explains that in medicine, like in all areas, we are often mislead by preconceived notions. He illustrates this with a poem by John Godfrey Saxes, The Blind Men and the Elephant. In it, each man touches a different part of the elephant (trunk, tusk, knee, etc) and imagines the elephant an entirely different way than the other. Each were partly right, but wrong. These preconceived notions can stymie the best of scientists until serendipity helps them find a breakthrough.
This book is fascinating and fun, while not something to be read through like a novel. I read it bit by bit, enjoying the information and examples that Dr. Meyers shared with us. This is a terrific book for the curious reader who enjoys learning the story behind the important discoveries in our lives.
Publisher - Arcade Publishing
Date of Publication - September 1, 2011