New essay: how to be a genius

Genius is one of those tricky words that gets used often, without anyone knowing quite what it means. Well, I’m taking the word, and advice on how to be a genius, head on in this fun and entirely wild run through genius history.

#57 – How to be a genius.

5 Responses to “New essay: how to be a genius”

  1. Douglass Turner

    Oh but Scott you and I are living in one of the most fertile periods of living, breathing, walking talking geniuses.

    Michael Jordan. Tiger Woods. Roger Federer.

    Do you have any idea how fantastically improbable it is that these three people of such incomprehensible gifts should be alive at the same time? Think about it.

    What’s more, modern media technology greats and amplification of their gifts in a way unimaginable in the era of Einstein, Picasso, and the other’s you mentioned. Media allow’s a global audience to appreciate their gives at a level of detail and repeatability that never existed before.

    Realtime geniuses, baby. You gotta luv it.


  2. Scott

    All arguments are good here – as I said, the research on genius is decidedly muddy. Most of the literature points away from athletes as qualifying, but that hasn’t stopped people from using the term for the greats (What about Gretsky, Magic Johnson, and on it goes).

    For me the verdict is out on whether technology helps or hurts – sure, it makes it easier to create, but it also makes any creator harder to find. Their might be a future Kubrick on youtube, but the odds of me finding him are much lower (and what drives popularity on youtube, or even digg, isn’t genius).

    There’s also the argument that until creative works have stood the test of time, we can’t judge their long term value or even their meaning. So to answer the question I posed in the opening paragraph, although I’ve met many people much more talented than I am, I don’t think I’ve met anyone I’d call a genius.

  3. Scott J

    Well, with predecessors like that, maybe I’ll just have to settle for being marginally above average. :)


  4. Scott

    I’ll take marginally above average too. Doesn’t have the same ring to it, but if it means I can dodge drug overdoses, manic-depression and suicide, it seems worth the trade :)

  5. Douglass Turner

    Oh yah,

    I was fortunate enough to work with someone pretty close to the genius class of intellectual heft.

    The characteristic to look for is anytime you ask them a question they have the ability to routinely conjure up an answers that is both improbable and stunningly right/interesting/unexpected. Over and over again. It felt like a form of intellectual magic. Made me giggle inside.

    Just thought I’d share.



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