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Discover Your Genius: How to Think like History's Ten Most Revolutionary Minds Paperback – 1 Jan 2002

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Product details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (1 Jan. 2002)
  • ISBN-10: 0965431495
  • ISBN-13: 978-0965431491
  • Product Dimensions: 21.1 x 18.8 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,931,968 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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You were born with the potential for genius. Read the first page
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Philip Carnall on 5 Feb. 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
At first I wasn't sure I'd like this, but as I worked through its value became apparent. Good for coaching.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 30 reviews
57 of 58 people found the following review helpful
Engaging biographies and life-improving advice 17 Mar. 2002
By Tom Means - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Much like Michael Gelb's brilliant "How to Think Like Leonardo DaVinci" this book succeeds in giving the reader engaging and informative biographies, while at the same time encouraging you to live and think like them.
The book is written in an easy, conversational style that gives the reader the feeling that he/she is having a delightful talk with the writer about the world's greatest thinkers.
Many times I have attempted to read up on geniuses like Plato, Darwin, and Ghandi with the intent of modeling my life after their examples, but I couldn't find the time to finish the marathon-length biographies I came across; "Discover Your Genius" is exactly what I was looking for--it gave me vast amounts of interesting information on each of the 10 geniuses and immediately showed me what I can do to improve myself with their examples.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who has ever wondered what a genius is like and how you can enrich your life everyday by emulating them.
32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
These 10 are good. But, not as good as Leonardo 29 May 2003
By Gaetan Lion - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book seems like a sequel of How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci. And, this other book is superior to this one. Michael Gelb did a more cohesive and detailed job of fleshing out the cognitive faculties of the mind by studying Leonardo, than he did by studying this Dream Team. Occasionally, the exercises appear a bit repetitive, boring, and uninspiring.
If I had not read this other book, I would have said that this book is great. Instead, it is very good.
Michael Gelb touches on the same subjects, concepts, and exercises as in 'Leonardo.'
35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
Useful book that helps you unleash your creativity 6 Mar. 2002
By Blaine Greenfield - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I must admit to being a big Michael Gelb fan . . . I've heard him
speak (he is great!), and I loved his previous book: HOW TO
THINK LIKE LEONARDO DA VINCI . . . so naturally, when
available, I tore into it--and was not disappointed . . . it is equally great!
Imagine being able to draw upon the collected wisdom of Plato,
Brunelleschi, Columbus, Copernicus, Elizabeth I, Shakespeare,
Jefferson, Darwin, Gandhi, and Einstein . . . Gelb
looks at these great thinkers to help you unleash your own
creavity . . . each of the invididuals profiled embodies a
special "genius" charactersitic, ranging from
optimism to courage . . . you then get to integrate these principles
into your daily life through a series of self-assessment questionnaires
and a complete program of practical exercises.
There were many memorable passages; among them:
[on how to read a Shakespeare play]
Each Shakespeare play offers a master class in emotional
intelligence and the lack thereof. As you read each play
approach it with the following questions in mind:
What can I learn from this play that will help me know myself better?
What can I learn from this play that will help me understand others better?
(It's useful to think of specific people you might wish to
understand better.)
[Thomas Jefferson's ten-point plan for personal improvement]
1. Never put off til tomorrow what you can do today. (Jefferson rose
before sunrise each day to get a head start on his massive to-do lists.)
2. Never trouble another for what you can do yourself. (Jefferson
believed in the spirit of personal as well as political independence
and thought that it began with the ability to solve one's own problems.)
3. Never spend your money before you have it. (Jefferson learned
this the hard way by violating this advice repeatedly and suffering
the consequences.)
4. Never buy what you do not want because it is cheap; it will be
dear to you. (Jefferson loved life and saw material objects as means
to experience rather than ends in themselves.)
5. Pride costs us more than hunger, thirst and cold. (At the center
of power for many years, Jefferson witnessed the disastrous
effects of egotism and believing one's own publicity on many
powerful people.)
6. We never repent of having eaten too little. (Jefferson's
extraordinary vitality was in part a function of his healthy diet and
his practice of leaving the table before he was full.)
7. Nothing is troublesome that we do willingly. (As a natural
optimist, Jefferson was able to choose to see the best in all life's
circumstances. This was his way of saying, "To get what you
choose, choose what you've got.")
8. How much pain has cost us the evils which have never
happened. (Jefferson reminds us that worry is pointless. His
optimism helped protect him from anxiety about the future.)
9. Take things away by their smooth handle. (Jefferson was an
elegant mind with a talent for finding the path of least resistance.)
10. When angry, count ten before you speak; if very angry, a
hundred. (As a man of the Enlightenment, Jefferson championed
the voice of reason and understood the great power of words to
cause harm as well as good.)
[an exercise to help you think like Einstein]
In your notebook or on a piece of scrap paper, take two minutes
and write down as many uses as you possibly can for a paper clip.
How many uses did you write down? Take the total number of
answers and divide by two to calculate your score in terms
of uses-per-minute.
The international average score is four uses per minute. A score of
eight is excellent and a score of twelve or more correlates
significantly with other genius-level measures of idea generation
Does the alternate use test creativity? Not really. It tests one's
comfort with free association, and free association is an important
aspect of the creative process.
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Very Disappointing Book 29 Dec. 2007
By Soccerfan - Published on
There are many good books with research based studies on how to improve your IQ or creativity on the market. Unfortunately, this book isn't one of them. Most of the exercises just seemed like silly stuff the author thought up on his own without any testing or research to prove the exercises actually work. For example, in the chapter on Columbus, one of the exercises is to get the tub with your sweetie, splash around and try to chart new waters in your relationship. For another example, the chapter on Plato recommends inviting guests to come to a toga party, dressed as ancient Greeks, and to bring their favorite poems and essays about love. Well, I suppose it is possible that might be a good way to improve a person's creativity, but I think most of our friends would find that a pretty weird party invitation.

Instead of this book I would recommend The Cambridge Handbook of Expertise and Expert Performance. It is more of a research based book and written rather formally, but it actually has practical, research based factors on what it takes to make people experts in their fields. Tips from this book include the findings that experts are made and not born (with the exception of some sports) and that expertise is usually associated with years of experience that include deliberate practice (practice with continual feedback).
20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
More than just a great idea...10 Greats who just did it. 24 July 2002
By Bruce V. Culver - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This was a fun and entertaining book. Focused on innovation and how to unleash your abilities to be creative, this book provides insight into 10 Famous people that dramatically influenced the world with their ideas and actions.
I will immediately say that I naturally enjoy learning from history, particularly from the people that influence history. To understand why historical figures acted in difficult times, how they adapted, what aspects of their upbringing formed their thinking and how they influenced others to accept their thinking has always intrigued my mind.
The stories will not give you a full life biography on each person...just a synopsis of who the person is, what they did that was so revolutionary and how you can apply their actions to being innovative.
From Plato, Brunelleschi, Columbus, Copernicus, Elizabeth I, Shakespeare, Jefferson and Darwin to Gandhi and Einstein...each will challenge you to reflect on your own gifts and how you might see things differently.
I especially liked how the author provided with each story sections for personal reflection and excercises that allow you to share thoughts with others.
Even before I finished the book, I was already enjoying the discussions with my kids about their views on the subjects and quizzing their minds about how they would have handled the situations these great people were a part of.
I highly recommend this book, especially to those that are involved with consulting or facilitating others through innovation or creative expression in business.
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