Discover your Genius

date Jul 25, 2007
authors Michael Gelb
reading time 5 mins
  • Book Title: Discover your Genius: How to Think like History’s 10 most Revolutionary Minds
  • Author: Michael J. Gelb
  • Year written/published: 2003
  • Book Source: Amazon, Library
  • Summary:Based on 10 most revolutionary historical figures, Gelb tells us the patterns about the way they led their life and thought about their dreams and desires.
  • My Comments: It’s a brilliant book full of little pondering exercises and examples from these historical men and women.
  • Contents page:
  1. Plato: Deepening your love of Wisdom
  2. Brunelleschi: Expanding your perspective
  3. Columbus: Going Perpendicular: Strengthening your optimism, Vision and Courage
  4. Copernicus: Revolutionising your Worldview
  5. Elizabeth 1: Wielding your Power with Balance and Effectiveness
  6. Shakespeare: Cultivating your Emotional Intelligence
  7. Jefferson: Celebrating your freedom in the pursuit of happiness
  8. Darwin: Developing your power of observation and opening your mind
  9. Gandhi: Applying the principles of spiritual genius to harmonise spirit, mind and body
  10. Einstein: Unleashing your imagination and combinatory Play

Some thought provoking quotations…

  • life must be lived as play ~ Plato -We shall not cease from exploration And the end of all our exploring Will be to arrive where we started And know the place for the first time ~T. S. Elit’s The 4 Quartets
  • History knows of no man who ever did the like ~ Inscription on Columbus’ tomb in Seville Cathedral
  • Success does not always go along with merit: America is not named after Columbus ~Sigmund Freud
  • the speculations of a philosopher are far removed form the judgement of the multitude, for his aim is to seek truth in all things ~Copernicus, preface to the Revolution of the heavenly spheres
  • Video et taceo (I see but i say nothing) ~Elizabeth I’s motto
  • All the world’s a stage And all the men and women are merely players: They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts… ~Shakespeare, As You Like It
  • For a bowl of water give a goodly mean; For a kindly greeting bow thou down with zeal; For a simple penny pay thou back with gold; If thy life me rescued, life do not withhold; Thus the words and actions of the wise regard; Every little service tenfold they reward; But the truly noble know all men as one, And return with gladness good for every evil done. ~ Hindi sacred text
  • Study and in general the pursuit of truth and beauty is a sphere of activity in which we are permitted to remain children all our lives ~ Albert Einstein

Plato self assessment:

  • My Happiness is based on my success at work
  • My happiness is based on how others see me
  • My happiness is based on my financial success and material possessions
  • My happiness is based on nurturing my soul
  • I have a well-reasoned perspective on goodness and a strong code of ethics and moral behaviour
  • I seek the essence of beauty every day
  • i ask probing, challenging questions of myself and others
  • For which principles would i be willing to sacrifice?


  • When i begin a project i start with visualisation of its successful completion
  • I keep my priorities when i’m under stress
  • I have faith in my own ideas
  • I can think out of the box and then apply creative solutions to real-life problems
  • I have faith in my own ideas


  • I have a dream or vision that sets the course for my life
  • I can persuade others to share my dream or vision
  • i can communicate my ideas clearly to others
  • i am an optimist
  • i take the word ‘impossible’ as a challenge
  • i have the courage to pursue new ideas
  • i believe that my dreams will become a reality


  • My mind is open to new ideas
  • i am willing to question my assumptions and beliefs
  • i am sensitive to others when presenting them with my ideas
  • i seek truth in all things
  • i use my reason and logic to solve problems
  • i cultivate my memory power

Elizabeth I:

  • I am self-reliant and can keep important information to myself
  • I can wait patiently for the right moment
  • I am tolerant of other’s views
  • I am calm in crisis
  • I am no easily intimidated
  • i study something new everyday
  • i have a strong sense of purpose


  • I am aware of the different roles i play
  • I can laugh at myself at any time
  • I take delight in the richness of languages
  • I make my time to give my imagination free rein


  • I understand and embrace the responsibilities that come with freedom
  • I actively protect the rights and freedoms of other people
  • I cherish and support intellectual freedom
  • I regard religious freedom as a fundamental human right


  • i accentuate the positives in my life
  • i do not cling to old familiar ideas when they are proved wrong
  • i am patient and persistent
  • i do not let illness, childhood issues, or other people’s criticism intimidate me, dampen my spirits or affect my self confidence
  • my love for truth is greater than my need to be right


  • I can forgive those who upset, offend, or oppose me
  • I regularly experience service to others as a source of joy
  • i’m vigilant in monitoring my own integrity
  • i believe in and practise nonviolence in dealings with others


  • I like to daydream
  • i can take serious challenges and play with in my mind
  • i balance logic with my gut feeling in making decisions
  • i seek solace and inspiration in nature
  • i maintain my sense of humour in the face of serious problems
  • i maintain my sense of humility in the face of great success
  • i nurture the rational and imaginative sides of myself
  • i create a brain nourishing environment at work and home
  • i can take an open, childlike approach to problems
  • i notice things that others wouldn’t think were important and wonder about them