The Genius Machine: A book review by Bob Morris

The Genius MachineThe Genius Machine: The Eleven Steps That Turn Raw Ideas into Brilliance
Gerald Sindell
New World Library (2009)

Sindell observes, “The terrible gap that lies between existing knowledge and the persistence of ignorance – and its concomitant poverty, illness, and suffering – drives me crazy…This book is about a third kind of thinking, one that is directed toward improving an existing idea, thinking through a complete issue, or creating something new.” wants each of his readers to become what a calls a “genius thinker” but that said, he fully realizes that a reader’s IQ (or whatever else may be the metric of choice) will not take off like a Solid Rocket Booster (SRB) after reading his book. With regard to the title, it may also cause some misunderstanding. It refers to the fact that his clients have used the term to describe Sindell’s mind when activated. Over time, he developed a system to create intellectual capital (ideas) and called it the “Endleofon (END-leo-fahn), an old English word for ‘eleven,’ and some of my clients call it the Genius Machine.” Why eleven? Because the Endleofon system is based on eleven core principles. He devotes a separate chapter to each.

According to Sindell, “genius thinkers” look at what everyone else does and see something different; they know who they are (and aren’t) and what they are driven to contribute; they know that nothing exists in a vacuum; they know that the only way to be certain something works is to discover the test that would prove the opposite; they also know they are “standing on the shoulders” of others; and they recognize that, when they have created something of value in any one area, it will probably be of value in many areas; when working with something new, genius thinkers step from time to time and ask: What are the underlying principles operating here? Or are we using new rules, and if so, can they be pulled together into a coherent group or body of law?; they complete their work by answering two questions: Can it stand on its own? Have I provided enough additional information so that what we have innovated can be replicated or continuously improved?; genius thinkers enter the frame of reference of the intended user and ask, “Have I done everything possible to ease the learning curve?”

Somehow, Sindell succeeds in explaining quite well how to do all this in only 129 pages and then concludes his book with the provision of an immensely valuable mechanism, “The Endleofon Questions.” All of these questions need to be answered so that innovations can be developed to their highest possible level; the answers will also facilitate acceptance of the innovations by the people who would benefit most from them.

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