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Accidental Genius: Using Writing to Generate Your Best Ideas, Insight, and Content Paperback – August 9, 2010

4.4 out of 5 stars 60 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“I’ve been a fanboy of Accidental Genius and the genius of Mark Levy for five years now, and I couldn’t work without these ideas.”

—David Meerman Scott, author of The New Rules of Marketing and PR

About the Author

Mark Levy is the founder of the marketing strategy firm Levy Innovation (www.levyinnovation.com). Mark has written for the New York Times, has authored or co-created five books, and has taught writing at Rutgers University. He is also a magic illusion designer—his work has been performed off-Broadway, in Las Vegas, and on all the major television networks.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers; 2 edition (August 9, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1605095257
  • ISBN-13: 978-1605095257
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #203,328 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
In a typical year, I'll write one full-length book, a smaller ebook, about 100 blog posts and deliver about 50 talks all over the world.

People ask me all the time how I can be so prolific. "Where do all your ideas come from?" they ask.

The answer is simple: I put my internal editor on hold for first drafts. This allows me to crank stuff out very quickly. A technique called "Freewriting" that I learned from Mark Levy in his terrific "Accidental Genius" allows me to get ideas down very quickly without seeing if it is "good."

With Freewriting, I write and write and write for ten minutes or thirty minutes without caring about spelling or grammar. Then I look for nuggets of inspiration, which I edit to become blog posts. The better blog posts then become raw materials for books and stories in my speeches.

Accidental Genius is your guide to Freewriting. But it more than that. It is your guide to success.
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Format: Paperback
I read the first edition of Accidental Genius several years ago, was moved by it, hired Mark Levy to help me with positioning, and have had the privilege of getting to know him. I don't say this about many people (in fact I don't think I've said it about anyone) but this guy is a genius. The more you read about him, the more you'll see how many people use the word "genius" to describe him. This is not a coincidence.

How did he become a "genius"? Well, I think he's naturally bright, but I also think it's because he practices what he preaches. He regularly uses the freewriting ideas he teaches in this book. These ideas help you to see what other people don't see, and see what you typically don't see. Freewriting is how Mark sees things differently, which is the heart of "genius".

Mark may be a genius, but his approach is completely simple, hands-on, creative, fun, and doable by anyone. Here's how it works...

When we set out to solve a problem, position ourselves or our businesses, come up with interesting new ideas, or anything else that determines a "solution" we face a problem: Our internal editor takes over. It wants to keep things status quo, safe, low-risk. We reproduce the same type of ideas and remain stuck in place. Of course this comes at a cost, which is that we prevent breakthroughs and neglect our own genius.

What we need to do is to quiet this internal editor, but we can't just say, "shhh!" Instead we need an approach that circumvents this editor and silences it. Freewriting is one such way to silence the editor and allow our inner genius to speak.
Read more ›
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One line summary: this book was the first on my mind when I was asked about the most useful books to me in 2011.

Somebody may look at this book and say, "Well, it's just about freewriting. I don't need a book to tell me to just write a bunch of words on the page." Even I was saying that after the first few chapters. But after completing the book, I realized that the book wasn't "just about freewriting," it was a general technique for getting past your inner critic, truly brainstorm solutions to a problem, and come to a decision that is more correct, because you have considered all the options without censorship. I lock up when it comes to decision making, and the process pushed me to open up on why I get stuck on these decisions, and all too often once those blocks are out of the bag, the solution presents itself in that free flow of ideas. I like to call it unthinking my way out of a problem.

I have used the techniques to dig into some philosophical conflicts I have had recently. They have given me a new clarity about my career and my outside interests, and gotten me a little bit closer to that thing that is the purpose of my life. So yes, it is "just about freewriting," but the technique unlocks so much more if you stick with it.
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Format: Paperback
This book is filled with incredible insight for writers, entrepreneurs, thought leaders and marketers. I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested how to break out of their rut of ideas and find new ways to position themselves.

Levy's insight on freewriting and how to incorporate it is fantastic. It has inspired me to keep a journal and re-evaluate all of my work processes. Chapter 4 titled, "Secret 4: Write the Way You Think" is invaluable. The process that Levy takes the reader through in Chapter 13: Getting A Hundred Ideas is Easier Than Getting One" is spot-on for marketers, writers and idea generators.

This book is a must read!
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Accidental Genius is a must buy book for anyone looking for major breakthroughs in creativity, idea generation, and productivity. If your profession requires problem solving, product development, marketing, publishing, or any form of communication then you really need to read this book. Every chapter contains techniques, guidelines, or helpful hints to either get past the infamous "writer's block" or simply create a more well rounded result. Again, this material applies especially to written works but also to other endeavors such as finding the root cause of problems or coming up with ideas for new product development or creativity in marketing materials. I can't say enough good things about this book. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! Accidental Genius: Using Writing to Generate Your Best Ideas, Insight, and Content
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