Genius

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DISCOVER YOUR GENIUS
How to Think Like History’s Ten Most Revolutionary Minds

Michael J. Gelb

To my parents, Joan and Sandy Gelb, whose example brings to life these sacred words: Happy are those who find wisdom She is more precious than jewels, And nothing you desire can compare with her Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.

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The Talmud says, “In the worldto come each of us will be called to account for all the good things God put on earth that we refused to enjoy.” My wish for you is that you will use the wisdom of these great characters to keep that session as brief as possible.
— Mi c h a e l J. G e l b

C O N T E N T S

FOREWORD ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I N T R O D U C T I O N:

On the Shoulders of Giants
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1

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Plato
Deepening YourLove of Wisdom
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2

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Brunelleschi
Expanding Your Perspective
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3

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Columbus
Going Perpendicular: Strengthening Your Optimism, Vision, and Courage
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4

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Copernicus
Revolutionizing Your Worldview

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5

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Elizabeth I
Wielding Your Power with Balance and Effectiveness
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6

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Shakespeare
Cultivating Your Emotional Intelligence
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LJefferson
Celebrating Your Freedom in the Pursuit of Happiness
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8

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Darwin
Developing Your Power of Observation and Opening Your Mind
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9

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Gandhi
Applying the Principles of Spiritual Genius to Harmonize Spirit, Mind, and Body
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10

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Einstein
Unleashing Your Imagination and Combinatory Play

C O N C L U S I O N:

I Link, Therefore I Am “Work and Days: Timelinesof Genius”

PERFECTBOUND E-BOOK EXTRA:

BIBLIOGRAPHY

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

OTHER BOOKS BY MICHAEL J. GELB

CREDITS

ABOUT THE PUBLISHER

FRONT COVER IMAGE

COPYRIGHT

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d i s c o v e r yo u r g e n i u s

F O R E W O R D

Michael Gelb invites us to explore and apply the essential qualities of ten geniuses in a uniquely engaging personal manner. These extraordinaryindividuals all changed the world, and Gelb guides us to use their inspiration and example to change the way we look at our lives. Each of the geniuses he introduces was driven by an unquenchable passion for their particular kinds of truth and beauty. Copernicus’s act of remodeling the heavens, for example, was one of aesthetic cleansing, creating, as he claimed, a harmonious celestial body or perfecttemple where the efforts to save the old theory had resulted in a monstrous structure. We all have experienced the surprise at how different a street looks when we turn around and see it from another point of view. Most of history walks in one direction. Some geniuses have enabled us to turn around and look the other way, backwards or sideways. Leonardo, for example, noted how the so-calledvanishing point toward which furrows in a ploughed field appear to converge seems to move with us as we walk beside the field. The genius not only alters our viewpoint, but also pulls our perspective into line with his or hers. Through some magnificent act of insight, intuition, inspiration, brain wave, conviction, whatever we might call it, the genius sees or senses something from a differentperspective. Their new perspective provides a view that ultimately proves so compelling that we can never see things in quite the same way again. What they see is often a bigger picture than we can readily grasp. And they can do this because they sense how the parts

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fit into the whole, the deeper harmonic resonance of things that may seem on the surface to be unrelated. Originally conceived as anexternal guardian spirit, the notion of genius (from the root genare, “to generate, or beget”) evolved by the Renaissance to represent an innate talent, or special kind of in-built virtue in a specific area of accomplishment. Some argue, however, that the notion of individual genius is fundamentally flawed, nothing more than a construct of the Romantic era of the late eighteenth and early...
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