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  1. Chapter 1: Answering 6 common interview questions
    Before You Read
  2. Working With Reading
  3. After You Read
    2 Practices
  4. Building Vocabulary
    2 Practices
  5. Reading Skill
    2 Practices
  6. Discussion And Writing
  7. Chapter 2: Young Women Changing the world
    Before You Read
  8. Work With Reading
  9. After You Read
  10. Building Vocabulary
  11. Reading Skill
  12. Discussion And Writing
  13. Chapter 3: Students Learning teams
    Before You Read
    2 Practices
  14. Working With Reading
  15. After You Read
  16. Building Vocabulary
  17. Reading Skill
  18. Discussion And Writing
  19. Chapter 4: Learning to Speak
    Before You Read
  20. Working With Reading
  21. After You Read
  22. Building Vocabulary
  23. Reading Skill
  24. Discussion And Writing
  25. Chapter 5: The Man in the Moon Has Company
    Before You Read
  26. Working With Reading
  27. After You Read
  28. Building Vocabulary
  29. Reading Skill
  30. Discussion And Writing
  31. Chapter 6: Culture Shock
    Before You Read
  32. Working With Reading
  33. After You Read
  34. Building Vocabulary
  35. Reading Skill
  36. Discussion And Writing
  37. Chapter 7: Private Lives
    Before You Read
  38. Working With Reading
  39. After You Read
  40. Building Vocabulary
  41. Reading Skill
  42. Discussion And Writing
  43. Chapter 8: A Young Blind Whiz
    Before You Read
  44. Working With Reading
  45. After You Read
  46. Building Vocabulary
  47. Reading SKill
  48. Discussion And Writing
  49. Chapter 9: How to Make a Speech
    Before You Read
  50. Working With Reading
  51. After You Read
  52. Building Vocabulary
  53. Reading Skill
  54. Discussion And Writing
  55. Chapter 10: Conversational Ball Games
    Before You Read
    2 Practices
  56. Working With Reading
  57. After You Read
  58. Building Vocabulary
  59. Reading Skill
  60. Discussion And Writing
  61. Chapter 11: Letters of Application
    Before You Read
    2 Practices
  62. Working With Reading
  63. After You Read
  64. Vocabulary Building
  65. Reading Skill
  66. Discussion And Writing
  67. Chapter 12: Out to Lunch
    Before You Read
  68. Working With Reading
  69. After You Read
  70. Vocabulary Skill
  71. Reading Skill
  72. Discussion And Writing
  73. Chapter 13: Public Attitudes Toward Science
    Before You Read
  74. Working With Reading
  75. After You Read
  76. Vocabulary Skill
  77. Reading Skill
  78. Discussion And Writing
  79. Chapter 14: The Art of Genius
    Before You Read
  80. Working With Reading
  81. After You Read
  82. Vocabulary Skill
  83. Reading Skill
  84. Discussion And Writing
Lesson 79 of 84
In Progress

Before You Read

Kunthea May 27, 2021

Chapter Focus:

  • Understanding how geniuses think
  • Paraphrasing
  • Understanding adjective and adverb suffixes

1 How do geniuses come up with ideas? What links the thinking
style that produced Mona Lisa with the one that spawned the
theory of relativity? What can we learn from the thinking strategies
of the Galileos, Edisons, and Mozarts (see painting) of history?
5 For years, scholars tried to study genius by analyzing statistics.
In 1904, Havelock Ellis noted that most geniuses were fathered by
men older than 30, had mothers younger than 25, and usually were
sickly children. Other researchers reported that many were celibate
 (Descartes), fatherless (Dickens), or motherless (Darwin). In the
10 end, the data illuminated nothing.

Academics also tried to measure the links between intelligence
and genius. But they found that run-of-the-mill physicists had IQs
much higher than Nobel Prize winner and extraordinary genius
Richard Feynman, whose IQ was a merely respectable 122. Genius is not
15 about mastering 14 languages at the age of seven or even being especially
smart. Creativity is not the same as intelligence.

Most people of average intelligence can figure out the expected
conventional response to a given problem. For example, when asked, “What
is one-half of 13?” most of us immediately answer six and one-half. That’s
20 because we tend to think reproductively. When confronted with a problem,
we sift through what we’ve been taught and what has worked for us in the
past, select the most promising approach, and work toward the solution.

Geniuses, on the other hand, think productively. They ask: “How many
different ways can I look at this problem?” and “How many ways can I
25 solve it?” A productive thinker, for example, would find a number of ways
to “halve 13”:

The mark of genius is the willingness to explore all the alternatives,
not just the most likely solution. Reproductive thinking fosters rigidity.
  This is why we often fail when were confronted with a new problem
that appears on the surface to be similar to others we’ve solved, but is,
35 in fact, significantly different. Interpreting a problem through your past
experience will inevitably lead you astray.  If you think the way you’ve
always thought, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.

For centuries, the Swiss dominated the watch industry. But in 1968,
when a U.S. inventor unveiled a battery-powered watch at the World
40 Watch Congress, every Swiss watch manufacturer rejected it
because it didn’t fit their limited paradigm.  Meanwhile, Seiko, a Japanese electronics
company, took one look at the invention and proceeded to change the future of the
world watch market.

By studying the notebooks, correspondence, and conversations of
45 some of the world’s great thinkers in science, art, and industry, scholars
have identified the following thinking strategies that enable geniuses to
generate original ideas:

1. Geniuses look at problems from all angles.  Sigmund Freud’s
analytical methods were designed to find details that didn’t fit
50 traditional paradigms in order to come up with a completely new
point of view. To solve a problem creatively, you must abandon the
first approach that comes to mind, which usually stems from past
experience, and reconceptualize the problem.  Geniuses do not merely
solve existing problems; they identify new ones.

55 2. Geniuses make their thought visible. Geniuses develop visual and
spatial abilities that allow them to display information in new ways.
The explosion of creativity in the Renaissance was tied to the
development of graphic illustration during that period, notably the
scientific diagrams of Leonardo da Vinci and Galileo Galilei. Galileo
60 revolutionized science by making his thought graphically visible while
his contemporaries used more conventional means.

3. Geniuses produce. Thomas Edison held 1,093 patents,  still a record.
He guaranteed a high level of productivity by giving himself idea
quotas:  one minor invention every ten days and a major invention  
65 every six months. Johann Sebastian Bach wrote a cantata every week,
even when he was sick or exhausted. Wolfgang Mozart produced more
than 600 pieces of music.

4. Geniuses make novel combinations. Like playful children with
buckets of building blocks, geniuses constantly combine and
70 recombine ideas, images, and thoughts. The laws of heredity were
developed by Gregor Mendel, who combined mathematics and biology
to create a new science of genetics.

5. Geniuses force relationships. Their facility to connect the
unconnected enables geniuses to see things others miss. Da Vinci
75 noticed the similarity between the sound of a bell and a stone hitting
water—and concluded that sound travels in waves.

6. Geniuses prepare themselves for chance. Whenever we attempt to
do something and fail, we end up doing something else. That’s the first
principle of creative accident. We may ask ourselves why we have
80 failed to do what we intended, which is a reasonable question. But the
creative accident leads to the question: What have we done? Answering
that one in a novel, unexpected way is the essential creative act. It is not
luck, but creative insight of the highest order.

This may be the most important lesson of all: When you find something
85 interesting, drop everything and go with it. Too many talented people fail
to make significant leaps of imagination because they’ve become fixated on
their pre-conceived plan. But not the truly great minds. They don’t wait
for gifts of chance; they make them happen.

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