Michael J. Gelb, is the world’s leading authority on the application of genius thinking to personal and organizational development. He is a pioneer in the fields of creative thinking, accelerated learning, and innovative leadership. Gelb leads seminars for organizations such as DuPont, Merck, Microsoft, Nike, Raytheon and YPO. He brings more than 30 years of experience as a professional speaker, seminar leader and organizational consultant to his diverse, international clientele.
Michael is the author of 12 books on creativity and innovation, including the international best seller “How to Think Like Leonardo Da Vinci: Seven Steps to Genius Every Day” (1998). “How to Think Like Leonardo” has been translated into 25 languages and has appeared on The Washington Post, Amazon.com and The New York Times best-seller lists.
In 2007, Michael released “Innovate Like Edison: The Five Step System for Breakthrough Business Success,” co-authored with Sarah Miller Caldicott, the great grand niece of Thomas Edison. As Professor Vijay Govindarajan, author of “Ten Rules for Strategic Innovators” noted, “This book is a must have for anyone who wants to turn creative ideas into profitable reality.”
In 1999, Michael won the Brain Trust Charity’s “Brain of the Year” award. Other honorees include Professor Stephen Hawking, Bill Gates, Garry Kasparov and Gene Rodenberry. In 2003, Michael was awarded a Batten Fellowship by the University of Virginia’s Darden Graduate School of Business. He co-directs the acclaimed Leading Innovation Seminar at Darden with Professor James Clawson. He also serves as the director of Creativity and Innovation Leadership for the Conscious Capitalism Institute.
A former professional juggler who once performed with the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan, Gelb introduced the idea of teaching juggling as a means to promote accelerated learning and team-building. He is the author of “The 5 Keys to High Performance: Juggling Your Way to Success.” A fourth degree black belt in the Japanese martial art of Aikido, Gelb is co-author with International Grandmaster Raymond Keene, of “Samurai Chess: Mastering Strategic Thinking Through the Martial Art of the Mind.” He also is a certified teacher of the Alexander Technique, (the method taught at The Julliard School for cultivating commanding stage presence), and the author of the classic work, “Body Learning: An Introduction to the Alexander Technique.” His 1988 release “Present Yourself! Captivate Your Audience with Great Presentation Skills” guides readers to develop the communication strategies they need to generate support for their innovative ideas.
Michael also has created many best-selling audio programs, including “Mind Mapping: How to Liberate Your Natural Genius,” “Work Like Da Vinci: Gaining the Creative Advantage in Your Business and Career” and “The Spirit of Leonardo.”
His passion for applying genius thinking to personal and organizational development also is expressed in his Harper Collins release (2002) “Discover Your Genius: How To Think Like History’s Ten Most Revolutionary Minds.”
His latest book, “Wine Drinking For Inspired Thinking: Uncork Your Creative Juices,” offers a unique, original and very enjoyable approach to team building.
What are you working on right now?
I am completing new book entitled “BRAINPOWER: Improve Your Mind as You Get Older”. I’m also promoting my most recent book “WINE DRINKING for INSPIRED THINKING: Uncork Your Creative Juices.”
3 Trends that excite you?
The integration of the research into neuroplasticity and neurogenesis into our attitudes and practices. I’m passionate about helping people apply this understanding to enrich the quality of their lives.
The growing realization — as expressed in a recent IBM study — that creativity is the most valuable leadership skill. I’ve been preaching this for 30 years!
The movement for Conscious Capitalism. I work with clients to align their fundamental approach to doing business with the well-being of society, in a way that makes the business more successful. This has always been my approach but now there’s a “movement” to go with it.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I apply the ideas and methods in as described in my books “How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci” and “Innovate Like Edison.”
What is one mistake that you’ve made that our readers can learn from?
Thomas Edison stated, “I don’t want to invent anything that won’t sell. Sales are proof of utility and utility is success.” I’ve persisted with projects that I believed had intrinsic value without enough attention to the utility of sales. (This is a vestigal trait from hippie-consciousness.)
What is one book and one tool that helps you bring ideas to life?:
“How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci: Seven Steps to Genius Every Day”
The tool I recommend is Mind Mapping, as originated by Tony Buzan.
What is one idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I love dogs. Finding a good dog sitter requires lots of time. (We interviewed three before finding the right person.) We’ve also used “dog hotels,” but they get very expensive when you board more than one. A national chain of full-service (training, vet care, transportation, exercise, nutrition) dog hotels would be able to offer reliable, high quality care at better prices.
Who or what inspired you to create your own business?
In my teens I read the following books that changed my life and clarified my purpose:
* “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor Frankl
* “The Courage to Create” by Rollo May
* “Memories, Dreams, Reflections” by Carl Jung
* “The Fourth Way” by P.D. Ouspensky
* “In Search of the Miraculous” by P.D. Ouspensky
* “Witness” by J.G. Bennett
Through this reading I began to realize that clarity of mind and purpose was the most important force in life. I set my purpose to help myself and others develop creativity, consciousness and compassion. I developed my business as the means to fulfill this purpose.
In your writing you emphasize the importance of always learning something new. What are you learning now?
I’ve been studying and teaching Aikido for almost 25 years, but when I moved to Santa Fe I found that I wasn’t inspired by the level of training here. So, four years ago I began studying Tai Chi with a wonderful teacher (www.tangorataichi.com) But having learned the Wu long form I started looking for my next challenge, and I’ve found it: Crossfit, boxing and jiu-jitsu. I just started two weeks ago, and I’m working out harder than ever and loving it!
I also intend to learn to speak Spanish, starting in the fall.