Audiobook now available

At last, Leonard Shlain’s best-selling book, The Alphabet Vs The Goddess is available as an audiobook.


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Who changed the sex of god?  this groundbreaking book proposes that the rise of alphabetic literacy reconfigured the human brain and brought about profound changes in history, religion and gender relations. Making remarkable connections across brain function, myth and anthropology, Dr. Shlain shows why pre-literate cultures were principally informed by holistic, right-brain modes that venerated the Goddess, images and feminine values. Writing drove cultures toward linear left-brain thinking and this shift upset the balance between men and women, initiating the decline of feminine and ushering in patriarchal rule. Examining the cultures of the Israelites, Greeks, Christians and Muslims, Shlain reinterprets ancient myths and parables in light of this theory. Provocative and inspiring, this book is a paradigm-shattering work that will transform your view of history and the mind.

Leonard Shlain (1937-2009) was a surgeon, author and inventor. He was also the author of Art and Physics, Sex, Time and Power, How Women’s Sexuality Shaped Human Evolution, and Leonardo’s Brain, Understanding Da Vinci’s Creative Genius.

Leonardo’s Brain Book Tour

Art Appreciation for Engineers | link >

If you want to learn more about major trends in both art and physics, Leonard Shlain’s book is a good resource.

Athough artists and scientists may view nature and the physical world in different ways, many parallels exist between the way they interpret the major insights relating to time and space. In his recent blog titled “Who says engineers can’t think”, Martin Rowe bemoaned the down-their-nose attitude of some liberal arts majors and professors toward engineers. In my mind perhaps the worst of all are some of those involved in the art world. Not the artists and painters themselves. The artists I have met, like engineers, have been down-to-earth people usually focused on the job at hand and eager to find the best way to express an idea.

If you want to get a thought-provoking education in both significant trends and themes in painting as well as the relationship between significant ideas in art and physics, I recommend you read Leonard Shlain’s book <href=”http:”” 9780061227974=”” art-and-physics”target=”new”>”Art & Physics: Parallel Visions in Space, Time, and Light” (Harper Perennial, 2007). Published first in 1993 and re-issued in 2007, selected chapters are also available online. But if you are like me and the process of reading for information involves a lot of underlining and commenting in the margins, I suggest you buy the print version. There are numerous copies on Amazon to purchase..

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Leonardo Da Vinci and the nature of
‘‘Creative Genius’’

BioEssays | pdf

For most questions of the sort, “Who is the best (or most) [something] in the world?,” such as “Who is the most brilliant living scientist?” or “Who is the most beautiful woman?,” polls would reveal a variety of answers and often as fervently held beliefs. Such variety of opinion is hardly surprising; choices of this sort are highly subjective ones and for most qualities or abilities, there is either no metric at all or at best a proxy metric (such as IQ for intelligence) whose adequacy is debatable. (The world of sports is different, however, because it does possess good metrics of performance.) One might think, therefore, that the answer to the question, “Who was the greatest creative genius who ever lived?”, would be equally contentious, since there is no way to measure creative genius.

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Leonardo’s Brain featured in Feb issue of Vanity Fair



Five years ago, right before dying of brain cancer, best-selling author, inventor, and surgeon Leonard Shlain finished his final manuscript and charged his three children— Kimberly Brooks, Tiffany Shlain and Jrodan Shlain— with getting it published. Mission accomplished: in October, the siblings gathered at the Strand bookstore, in New York City, to celebrate the release of Leaonrdo’s Brain. Through a virtual autopsy of Da Vinci’s brain, Shlain’s book points to the extraordinary potential of an integrated consciousness for humankind. For more information, visit

Strand event

The Original Renaissance Man and His Brain


LOS ANGELES — As he raced against cancer to finish his fourth and final book, Leonardo’s Brain, author/inventor/surgeon Leonard Shlain was motivated by the possibility that his manuscript-in-progress might help answer a very vital question: How can mankind achieve a more creative and peaceful future?

Shlain, who viewed Leonardo as having owned the “most creative brain in history,” was following his personal hunch that analyzing the biology and functioning of Da Vinci’s brain from a neuroscientific perspective could lead to invaluable revelations about human potential.

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Brain Pickings: Best Science Books of 2014


Leonardo’s Brain: What a Posthumous Brain Scan Six Centuries Later Reveals about the Source of Da Vinci’s Creativity

One September day in 2008, Leonard Shlain found himself having trouble buttoning his shirt with his right hand. He was admitted into the emergency room, diagnosed with Stage 4 brain cancer, and given nine months to live. Shlain — a surgeon by training and a self-described “synthesizer by nature” with an intense interest in the ennobling intersection of art and science, author of the now-legendary Art & Physics — had spent the previous seven years working on what he considered his magnum opus: a sort of postmortem brain scan of Leonardo da Vinci, performed six centuries after his death and fused with a detective story about his life, exploring what the unique neuroanatomy of the man commonly considered humanity’s greatest creative genius might reveal about the essence of creativity itself.

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The Osgood File. This is Charles Osgood. Fisher Investments Annuity Insights booklet is now available. It’s important you read this. In a moment I’ll tell you why and how you can get a copy of it free. Speaking of insights there’s also a fascinating book now out about the BRAIN of the first true Renaissance man, Leonardo Da Vinci. I have no idea what Leonardo would have thought about annuities. But we’ll get back to his creative brilliance after this for Fisher Investments.

Leonard Shlain was pretty creative spirit himself. A distinguished inventor, surgeon, author of books including one titled Alphabet vs. The Goddess. This last one, “Leonardo’s Brain,” was about the brain of Leonard’s hero and kindred spirit Leonardo da Vinci…who died five centuries ago. Shlain died five years ago at the age of 71. His daughter filmmaker Tiffany Shlain.

SOT – Tiffany Shlain, daughter of author Leonard Shlain.
“He was working on this book for seven years when he himself was diagnosed with brain cancer and given nine months to live. And he was actually in those nine months able to finish the last chapter – and then days later, he passed away. And it was really his dying wish to his children that we would get the book published.” (:19)

Another of Shlain’s children is artist and editor Kimberly Brooks..who says.

SOT – Kimberly Brooks, daughter of author Leonard Shlain.
“Leonardo da Vinci is known more as an artist – and our father sought to set the record straight that he was also really one of the first scientists. And now we know that he presaged many theories and discoveries by Newton, Galileo and Copernicus.” (:20)

In some schools now the arts are being downplayed in favor of math and science. As if creativity and human imagination aren’t important now. Wong says Tiffany Shlain.

SOT – Tiffany Shlain, daughter of author Leonard Shlain.
“Our father looked at da Vinci as a glimpse into what our species can become. Today, we’re really starting to see the importance of both of those modes of thinking, both art and science. He really believed that both da Vinci’s brain and way of thinking is what we call can become.” (:17)

The Osgood File. Charles Osgood on the CBS Radio Network.

Leonardo’s Brain, The Future of the Brain, Dodging Extinction, and Arrival of the Fittest

Leonardo’s Brain: Understanding Da Vinci’s Creative Genius

By Leonard Shlain
Lyons Press, October 2014

He was the archetypal genius. A painter. A scientist. An inventor. An engineer. Even today, he remains the dictionary definition of a Renaissance man: Leonardo da?Vinci. In Leonardo’s Brain, surgeon and best-selling author Leonard Shlain undertakes a hypothetical dissection of the ancient master’s intellect, attributing the roots of his creativity to a particular arrangement of his gray and white matter. Da?Vinci’s brain must have functioned unlike any that came before or after, the author postulates, thanks in part to enhanced white-matter connections between his right and left hemispheres. Shlain applies modern neuroscience to probe one of history’s most innovative brains and uses da?Vinci as a lens through which to view the broader issues of brain organization, creativity, and consciousness.

Ironically, Shlain’s own brain was being ravaged by cancer as he finished what would be his final work. Dying just eight days after completing the book in May 2009, Shlain instructed his children to see to its publication. The work stands as the last in a line of probing and entertaining books from a thinker who possessed his own brand of genius.

3 Events Celebrating the Launch of Leonardo’s Brain


It is with great joy and gratitude that we announce the posthumous publishing of Leonardo’s Brain: Understanding Da Vinci’s Creative Genius which he completed shortly before he passed five years ago.

The Shlain Siblings are hosting a book parties for Leonardo’s Brain in San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles. This means it will be Shlaintastic! (Anyone who ever attended a Shlain Party in Mill Valley in the 70s and 80s knows exactly what we’re talking about.) The Icons below link to the Eventbrite pages where you can RSVP.







Leonardo’s Brain is not only one of his grand intellectual journeys akin to his books Art & Physics, The Alphabet vs The Goddess and Sex, Time and Power, but in many ways, represents a synthesis of so many of his ideas connecting neurology, history, philosophy, art, science, creativity and ourselves. He believed Da Vinci offered a glimpse of the future of our species.

We hope to see you at one of the events in a city near you!

Tiffany Shlain, Kimberly Shlain Brooks and Jordan Shlain c. 1979

Tiffany Shlain, Kimberly Shlain Brooks and Jordan Shlain c. 1979

Special Thanks to:

IndependentBookSellers copy

AND Jon Sternfeld at Lyon’s Press (Globe Pequot), Literary Agent Robert Stricker (Art & Physics, Sex, Time & Power), Andy Ross, the literary agent for Leonardo’s Brain, Editor Ann Patty, (The Life of Pi) , Independent booksellers Book Passages of Mill Valley, Diesel Books in Brentwood and The Strand Bookstore in NYC and everyone who has been so supportive and instrumental in bringing this last manuscript of Leonard Shlain’s to life!