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September 16, 2005

News & Opinion: Gordon MacKenzie: Where Have All the Geniuses Gone?

By: Dylan Schleicher @ 6:36 PM – Filed under: Personal Development & Human Behavior

A regular on the bookshelf next to my desk, is Gordon MacKenzie's Orbiting the Giant Hairball: A Corporate Fool's Guide to Surviving with Grace. While I admit that I have yet to read the entire book (I'm about 3/4 of the way done), I keep going over the beginning.
Today, I have returned to one part several times. It's a page that starts with Gordon questioning, "Where Have All the Geniuses Gone?"
Each one of us has at least one "genius" side to us. These sides come in a variety of forms. Yet, we rarely let them show.
As Gordon believes,
From cradle to grave, the pressure is on: Be nORMal.
Those who somehow side-step that pressure and let their genius show are customarily ridiculed, reviled or otherwise discountenanced.

Gordon goes on to ask where is your genius?
Having trouble with the idea of your own genius? My guess is that there was a time--perhaps when you were very young--when you had at least a fleeting notion of your own genius and were just waiting for some authority figure to come along and validate it for you.
But none ever came.
Of course not. It is not the business of authority figures to validate genius, because genius threatens authority.
But there is still hope. You are an adult now. As an adult, you can choose to become your own authority figure. As such, you will be in a position to redeem the creative genius in you that was put to sleep when the Fool was being tamed.

The next time you question your genius, try a little Gordon MacKenzie advice.
Side note: my favorite part of this book is that there was actually someone hired to do "graffiti" in the book!

About Dylan Schleicher


Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.