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This Author: Michael J. Gelb
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Discover Your Genius by Michael J. Gelb

Discover Your Genius

How to Think Like History's Ten Most Revolutionary Minds

by Michael J. Gelb

Title Details

Abridged Edition
Running Time
6 Hrs. 17 Min.
User Rating
  3.7  Stars Based on 3 ratings


From Amazon.com:
The introduction to Discover Your Genius shows off the double meaning of the book's title in plain language: it is meant to help you find both your own potential for greatness and a meaningful role model to provide focus. In an effort to lead you to both simultaneously, Michael J. Gelb has created a combination workbook, guided journal, and historical biography of 10 outstanding humans.

Arranged chronologically, Discover Your Genius begins with Plato and ends with Einstein, meeting up with Brunelleschi, Columbus, Copernicus, Elizabeth I, Shakespeare, Jefferson, Darwin, and Ghandi in between. Each chapter highlights a few specific achievements while analyzing the methods and motivations of the geniuses in question.

Accompanying exercises encourage you to talk with friends, create lists and goals, seek additional reading and musical selections, and uncover your dreams. From designing a personal coat of arms filled with meaningful symbols to developing the habit of taking regular walks, these exercises balance quickly achievable activities with ongoing life changes. Several chapters urge you to involve your friends, with evenings of special, themed dinners, like the toga party with Symposium Lamb Delight, gallons of wine, and recitations of personal "odes to love."

What you'll get out of all this is dependent on your own individual views of history and politics, but keep in mind it's hard to find a truly great figure who is not controversial. If you are able to overlook the inherent hypocrisy in, for example, Thomas Jefferson (slave owner) as bastion of personal freedom, and the great explorers' (Columbus) direct responsibility for a number of known atrocities, you'll find plenty to ponder and enjoy.

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Reviews & Ratings
User Reviews         Rate this title  

Reviewer LOLJPB
 February 17, 2006
General Content: Michael Gelb’s Discover Your Genius is a follow-up to his highly successful title “Think Like Leonardo da Vinci”. In it, Gelb discusses the lives of ten geniuses throughout history and provides lessons as to what we can learn from those individuals. While there is a lot of valuable content in this book, it’s important to point out that this book tends to be heavier on the biographical content and lighter on practical tips for creativity and cultivating genius. If you’re interested in learning more about the lives of individuals like Plato, Copernicus and Shakespeare, this is a great book. If you’re more interested in the creativity exercises you might find wading through all of the biographical information to be a bit tedious.

The other thing that I had a slight problem with was the selection of the “geniuses”. Out of 10 people selected as being representative of genius throughout history only one was a female (Queen Elizabeth I) and only one was of non-European descent (Gandhi). In other words, a tongue-in-cheek title for the book could have been “Discover Your White, Male, European Genius”. In all fairness to Gelb though he does seem to recognize this inequity and does make mention of it in the passage about Queen Elizabeth I. He also takes note of character flaws in Columbus and Jefferson that somewhat taint their historical accomplishments.

Overall, this audiobook is a good one if you’re interested in stories about the lives of some of history’s geniuses. If you’re looking more for hands-on exercises, either buy the book (it’s easier to practice exercises while reading rather than listening to them) or grab “Think Like Leonardo da Vinci” instead which contains more exercises and less biographical information.

Audio-Specific Content: I listened to the abridged version (6 hours on 5 CDs) of this title. It was read by the author who did a passable job. There were times when there were fluctuations in volume (in which seemed to be shouting a bit more than talking). However, on the whole it was fine. A small companion booklet with a listing of some of the exercises in this title would have been very helpful. Otherwise, on the whole it was a good production and abridgement of this book.

More Details

  • LearnOutLoud.com Product ID: D003290
Available On
Audio CD