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How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci: Seven Steps to Genius Every Day Audible – Abridged

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Audible, Abridged, December 16, 1999
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Editorial Reviews

You don't have to be a genius to think like one. Each of us uses only a fraction of our brainpower, explains Michael J. Gelb, who has helped thousands of men and women learn to put more of their minds to work - and play - than they ever thought possible.

Now the acclaimed author of Lessons from the Art of Juggling and Thinking for a Change reveals how any one of us can fulfill our own untapped potential by following the example of the greatest genius of all time, Leonardo da Vinci. Drawing on Leonardo's notebooks, inventions, and legendary works of art, Gelb introduces the Seven da Vincian Principles - seven essential elements of genius, named in da Vinci's native Italian, that any of us can develop on our own. From the notebook's celebration of an insatiably curious approach to life (curiositá) to the willingness to embrace uncertainty and paradox (sfumato) embodied in Mona Lisa's smile, these principles will seem at once intuitively familiar and surprisingly powerful. Offering an abundance of interactive, entertaining exercises to help you master each principle, Gelb also helps you see how you can use them at work, at home, and everywhere else.

Following Leonardo's lead, you'll learn powerful new strategies for tackling challenges both timely and timeless, introducing problem solving; creative thinking; self-expression; enjoying the world around you; goal setting and life balancing; and harmonizing body and mind.

©1999 Michael J. Gelb; (P)1999 Random House, Inc., Bantam Doubleday Dell Audio Publishing, A Division of Random House, Inc.

Product Details

  • Audible Audio Edition
  • Listening Length: 2 hours and 30 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Abridged
  • Publisher: Bantam Doubleday Dell Audio
  • Release Date: December 16, 1999
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00005453G
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank:

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

405 of 436 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 28, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book is very hard for me to grade. It contains some of the best and worst material I have ever seen, all in the same book. That combination is unprecedented in my experience.
If the book were solely built around the exercises, I would say that it deserved more than five stars.
If the book were soley built around the analysis and history of Leonardo da Vinci as a thinker, I would grade it at two stars.
The exercises are so terrific that I urge you to read the book. I also urge you to see the text leading up to the exercises as merely an introduction to the excercises.
If you want to learn about Leonardo da Vinci as a thinker, I suggest you go elsewhere for that guidance. I do encourage you read the Leonardo notebooks directly. They are fascinating. While you are doing so, try to imagine yourself with the limited scientific knowledge of the day. One of the things that you will learn is the power of conceptualizing what is needed that is missing. This helps to set the goal that energizes those who then meet the goal. Leonardo had enormous influence in this way with his pioneering work on helicopters, submarines, parachutes, and many mechanical devices.
Research on creativity and innovation has shown that it is valuable to increase one's curiosity, testing of ideas, observation skills, openness to new ideas and ambiguity, whole-brained thinking, balance in life activities, and seeing systems connections. This book espouses those concepts as well. In fact, it felt to me like the author was more influenced by the creativity and innovation literature than by Leonardo. If the book had drawn on more of this kind of research, rather than just trying to oversimpify Leonardo da Vinci, it would have been a better book.
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65 of 69 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 21, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Michael Gelb has written an insightful and challanging book. Not being a da Vinci scholar, but one always impressed by da Vinci's ideas and especially his drawings and paintings, this book increased my knowledge of this genius and challanged me to think that I could benefit greatly by thinking like Leonardo.
Gelb sets out seven Da Vincinian Principles and illustrates each with examples from da Vinci's life and work. He encourages the reader to assess oneself with regard to each of the principles and then presents an abundance of exercises to develop one's awareness of the principle and skill at using it.
I found myself, over the course of reading the book, using the principles as I observed the world around me throughout the day, listening to the sounds of nature, really watching birds in flight, wondering at the beautiful pumpkin from a friend's garden that I was peeling, seeding and chopping to make into soup. The latter exercise was further enhanced by pouring myself a glass of the chardonnay that went into the soup and truly tasting it and savouring it (my own version of an exercise found in the Sensazione chapter.) The last of the principles presented is Connessione. I understood this principle clearly as I reflected on the earth from which the grapes were grown, the grapes and all that nourished their growth, the many hands and minds and hearts that created the wine, packaged it, shipped and distributed it and the many consumers who were enjoying it.
Yes, I can say wholeheartedly that this book is worth buying, reading and keeping around as a guide filled with practical ideas and exercises (including a beginner's drawing course) for stimulating and encouraging one's self understanding and indiviual genius.
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83 of 90 people found the following review helpful By Charles Runels Md on January 23, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is not for everyone. Here's how it helped me and here's a test to know if the book's for you:

If you really want to see the "world" (cliche' but I do mean the entire world: your dog, your business, your lover's response, the smell of air) in a new way and if you really try to do so, then you know how difficult a task it can be to catch a new glimpse or a new idea. Though it's not too difficult to find what other's have already pointed out, it's the place of prophets and poets and the great entrepreneurs to see something new. As a research chemist 20 years ago, and now as a physician involved in research, I use a very powerful tool that helps improve vision; the tool (the notebook)and good techniques for using it are described in this book.

I see peole buy notebooks and diaries for school and personal use but I don't know many people who catch the real power of this tool. You could read this whole book (How to Think Like...) and not catch the power of the tool without giving the notebook technique a try. You could try the technique and not catch the power unless you keep trying and keep revising techniques and keep trying to see and to hear and to block out the voice of your teachers who told you what to see and what to hear.

Einsten kept a notebook with him even when he went sailing. Another famous mathematician kept notes and had theories even about why the good guy is quicker in a western gun fight. King David must have kept an extensive notebook (we read some of his notes in the Psalms). Seems most people have the idea that personal notebooks are for 13 year old girls to decipher puberty.
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