Why are we so innovative? Where do new ideas come from? Why are human beings so exceptionally good at innovation, leaving other species mentally in the dust? How can we hold onto new ideas once they are formed? This book explores the claim that the human spark, the source of innovation and the origin of ideas, was an advance that occurred in a particular kind of mental operation, which Turner calls blending. Blending is our ability to take two ideas or more and create a new idea from the "blend." And what is so fascinating is how human beings are able to engage in blending almost without effort and usually unconsciously. It appears to be second nature to us, how we live and breathe in the course of processing information and ideas. Human beings are profoundly different from all other species in this ability. While many species can do what we cannot-fly, run amazingly fast, see in the dark-only human beings can innovate. Beginning somewhere in the Paleolithic Age, everything changed in the course of human events. Before that, we were a bunch of large mammals. After that, we were poised to take over the world. Turner makes the controversial and provocative claim that what made human advances possible was the ability to engage in the virtuosity of blending, which is everywhere apparent in our cultural record-in our creations and innovations-it is the origin of our ideas. Turner's theory of blending is featured in Jonah Lehrer's bestselling book, Imagine, and this book will be the first to lay out this theory in detail for a lay audience and academics tackling the nature of the human brain and the fascinating puzzle of what it means to be human.