“An unusually engaging book on the forces that fuel originality across fields.” –Adam Grant
Looking at the 14 key traits of genius, from curiosity to creative maladjustment to obsession, Professor Craig Wright, creator of Yale University’s popular “Genius Course,” explores what we can learn from brilliant minds that have changed the world.
Einstein. Beethoven. Picasso. Jobs. The word genius evokes these iconic figures, whose cultural contributions have irreversibly shaped society.
Yet Beethoven could not multiply. Picasso couldn’t pass a 4th grade math test. And Jobs left high school with a 2.65 GPA. What does this say about our metrics for measuring success and achievement today? Why do we teach children to behave and play by the rules, when the transformative geniuses of Western culture have done just the opposite? And what is genius, really?
Professor Craig Wright, creator of Yale University’s popular “Genius Course,” has devoted more than two decades to exploring these questions and probing the nature of this term, which is deeply embedded in our culture. In The Hidden Habits of Genius, he reveals what we can learn from the lives of those we have dubbed “geniuses,” past and present.
Examining the lives of transformative individuals ranging from Charles Darwin and Marie Curie to Leonardo Da Vinci and Andy Warhol to Toni Morrison and Elon Musk, Wright identifies more than a dozen drivers of genius—characteristics and patterns of behavior common to great minds throughout history. He argues that genius is about more than intellect and work ethic—it is far more complex—and that the famed “eureka” moment is a Hollywood fiction. Brilliant insights that change the world are never sudden, but rather, they are the result of unique modes of thinking and lengthy gestation. Most importantly, the habits of mind that produce great thinking and discovery can be actively learned and cultivated, and Wright shows us how.
This book won’t make you a genius. But embracing the hidden habits of these transformative individuals will make you more strategic, creative, and successful, and, ultimately, happier.