Hidden Genius Book Summary - Hidden Genius Book explained in key points
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Hidden Genius summary

Polina Marinova Pompliano

The secret ways of thinking that power the world's most successful people

4.3 (29 ratings)
14 mins
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    Hidden Genius
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    Creativity is a muscle – exercise yours!

    Creative genius isn’t restricted to a rarefied few individuals. We all have a creative spark flickering inside us – and it’s possible to nurture that spark into a flame. Creativity is a learnable skill, like playing a musical instrument or perfecting a recipe. 

    What is creativity? It’s hard to pin down, but here’s a definition worth knowing: creativity is the art of forging connections among seemingly unrelated concepts. It’s through these disparate, unexpected connections that ordinary ideas transform into extraordinary ones, and visionary breakthroughs are enabled. Here’s just one example, featuring a genius you’ve definitely heard of: Leonardo da Vinci. The story goes that, one day, da Vinci was out for a walk, when he stopped to admire the concentric ripples created by a rock thrown into a well. At the same time, church bells started ringing. As da Vinci observed the patterns rippling across the water, and listened to the sounds of the church bells, growing fainter with time, he was struck with the idea – later proven correct – that sound travels in waves. So keep your eyes, and your mind open for unexpected connections – these could be the source of your very own world-changing idea. 

    Now, let's debunk a common myth. That elusive creative muse? Turns out, it's not a prerequisite. Creativity isn’t something that comes to you. It’s something you work at – hard! And, as you hone your skills, you might face a hard truth: the path to originality is often paved with failure and criticism. Sounds discouraging, right? But it's actually a sign that you're onto something truly innovative. Truly new, paradigm-breaking ideas often need a few iterations before they’re perfect, so stumbling along the way isn't necessarily a bad thing. And it’s a well-known truth that people can be suspicious of things that feel unfamiliar. So garnering criticism from your more conservative peers might be a good sign.

    Now, let's talk about elevator pitches – if you work in sales or marketing, you’re probably more than familiar with this concept. The idea is, you should be able to pitch your product, or concept, in the time it takes to ride an elevator, so roughly 30 seconds. But Ed Catmull thinks that no truly creative idea can ever be simple enough to be encapsulated in a 30-second pitch – and as the co-founder of Pixar, Catmull knows a bit about creativity! So don’t worry if your idea isn’t easily packaged into a 30-second presentation – in fact, you should feel encouraged. 

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    What is Hidden Genius about?

    Hidden Genius (2023) compiles insightful and surprising lessons from some of the world’s most innovative, creative, and successful people. It goes on to unpack the mental frameworks through which these remarkable people see the world – and to show how you can use these frameworks to unlock your own potential.

    Who should read Hidden Genius?

    • Creatives who want to take their practice to the next level
    • Leaders who want to inspire their teams
    • Anyone who feels they’re not living up to their potential

    About the Author

    Polina Marinova Pompliano is the founder of The Profile, a media platform that spotlights influential people and their working practices. Prior to that, she was a financial journalist at Fortune magazine.

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