I’m happy to announce that Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, publisher of many a fine book over the decades, will be publishing “The Orchid and the Dandelion” (working title), in which I’ll explore further the emerging “orchid-dandelion hypothesis” I wrote about in my recent Atlantic story. (In brief, that hypothesis — a simple but deeply transformative amendment of current views — hoids that many ‘risk genes’ for behavior and mental problems magnify not just maladaptive responses to bad environments but advantageous responses to good environments. That is, these “risk genes” confer not just vulnerability, but greater responsiveness, sometimes to bad effect, sometimes to good.)
I’ll be working with editor Amanda Cook, whom I met at the sensible urging of my compadre Jonah Lehrer. No publication date yet set, and I’m not crazy enough to promise one here. It will, of course, take some time. But if the Atlantic story left you wanting to read more about this hypothesis, and about how genetics and environment constantly interact to create everything from murder and madness to benevolence and high art, ye shall be satsified — soon as I get a bit of work done. Okay, a lot of work. (I’m on it. Don’t rush me.)
Meanwhile, I’ll use
Orchid Neuron Culture to share ruminations on research and reading; published studies old and new that relate to the bidirectional sensitivity emphasized by the hypothesis; outtakes, sidetracks, etc — in short, a parallel but non-duplicative exploration of this emerging hypothesis, its study, and its implications.