I am quite intrigued by this book. (Discover Your Genius by Michael Gelb) Should watch out for its arrival in my neighborhood bookshop! Some excerpts - that gripped me - from the interview with the author of this book:
You can learn anything you want to, and you'll surprise yourself with what you can achieve when you know how to learn. We are not taught how to use our full potential. We are not taught how to learn from the great thinkers and doers of the past.
The love of wisdom – philosophy – and its manifestation in the quest for truth, beauty, and goodness, is the thread that weaves through the lives of all the great minds you'll get to know in the pages that follow
The knowledge of learning how to learn is perhaps the most important knowledge we can possess.
Plato "formulated the concept of education as drawing out the knowledge of the student, rather than stuffing it in". Most of us were probably taught by the "stuffing it in" method. I imagine the "drawing out" method would result in happier, livelier brains and a quite different experience of life. (This is from the interviewer)
It is to Socrates that we owe the whole notion of education as a process of drawing out. Socrates and Plato believed, as we discussed earlier, that each person is born with the capacity for genius. Their understanding was that the essence of truth, beauty, and goodness was effectively deep within the soul of each human being. And so education was a process of drawing out the innate understanding of truth, beauty, and goodness rather than trying to stuff it in.
Every one of the geniuses profiled in Discover your Genius had profound vision, a guiding dream and desire. They had unrelenting passion, drive, and persistence.
There was something that they wanted to accomplish, achieve, or understand. They wound up overcoming every obstacle in their way no matter how seemingly impossible it was. (Passion + Persistence)
Is there one or two genius skills that you think would be particularly useful for such problem solvers to cultivate? - I would say journaling as I describe it in the book. All the great geniuses I studied kept notebooks in one manner or other. One of the differences between normal people and geniuses is that when a normal person wakes up at 4 am with a quirky idea, they roll over and say, "I am no genius." But when Einstein woke up at 4 am he wrote it down. That is one simple thing.
The other skill is mind mapping that was originated by my friend, Tony Buzan. It is a fantastic way to generate more ideas in less time, and use more of your whole brain.
Note: Michael Gelb's ten important geniuses, all of whom made significant and lasting contributions to world knowledge, are Plato, Filippo Brunelleschi, Christopher Columbus, Nicolaus Copernicus, Queen Elizabeth I, William Shakespeare, Thomas Jefferson, Charles Darwin, Mahatma Gandhi and Albert Einstein.