Genuine Curiosity

Author Dwayne Melancon is always on the lookout for new things to learn. An ecclectic collection of postings on personal productivity, travel, good books, gadgets, leadership & management, and many other things.


A Quest for Genius

I've been reading interacting with Dick Richards' book "Is Your Genius At Work?" for weeks now. This book is not long and is very easy to read and understand. But man, is it deep.

When I say I've been interacting with the book, I mean that I've been doing (and repeating...and revisiting....) the simple exercises Dick provides in the book. The exercises approach the challenge of finding your genius from a lot of different angles, to enable you to get a glimpse of the essence of your power. I feel like I'm getting closer, but I haven't gotten the "buzz" that others in the book describe when they finally name their genius (I'm looking for that "tongue on 9-volt batttery" kind of buzz - I know it's out there).

Provisions for the journey

The book provides you with the tools to go through a personal discovery process to discover and name your "genius." Dick goes into lots of detail about genius, but I describe genius as: that special capability that you have that makes you special, and flavors all the other parts of who you are and how you interact with the world.

The whole concept was very intriguing, and Dick provides some vivid examples of how others have found and named their genius. If you want to see what the book is like, head on over to and you can check out a sample chapter and sample exercises.

Here is a brief overview of what you'll find in this book.

Playing by the rules

As you go through the process, Dick provides the ruls of the road about genius reminds me of the notion of "trying on beliefs" that I've written about in the past):

  1. You do have a genius.
  2. You have only one genius.
  3. Your genius has been with you your entire life.
  4. Your genius is natural and spontaneous and a source of success.
  5. Your genius is a positive force.
  6. Your genius is not what you wish it would be; it is what it is.
  7. Your genius should contain one gerund and one noun (examples below).
  8. Your name for your genius will be unique.

What's in a name?

Going through the process of naming your genius creates a way to identify your special gift, unlock its power, and help you focus on things that ignite your passion. Through the naming process, you will learn about your genius and begin to tap into its power. What Dick wants for all of us is to provide us with the means to spend more time engaging in things that get us jazzed. I don't know about you, but I want some of that action.

Once you use this process to name your genius, you can use this conscious awareness to "filter" activities, job choices, and other aspects of your life so that they are more in line with your special gift. There is even a section that takes you through an evaluative questionnaire to guage how closely your current job fits your genius, and a process to help you decide what to look for in future opportunities.

During the book, Dick provides a bunch of little pictures of "name tags" on the pages so you can track your current thinking at key points in the process. It's a great way to feel connected to the book and the process, and can definitely bring the experience beyond words on a page (if you can bring yourself to write in it, anyway...)

An interesting realization through this process - some aspect of my psyche apparently makes me resist "declaring" conclusions. As a result, I can't bring myself to write in my book - "What if I change my mind?" Instead, I write everything on a separate notepad. It's an interesting dynamic, and I think it is somehow connected to my Genius - whcih probably means I'm in for a long journey before I settle on a name.

The recommended construction for naming your genius is to use two words - the first is a gerund (a descriptive word ending in -ing), and the second word is a noun. Some of the examples of genius names shared in the book include:

  • Gathering Spirit
  • Exploring Pathways
  • Building Platforms


This book is like no other I have read. It's both analytical and "touchy feely" at the same time. It's both fun and serious. It's rewarding and frustrating.

I like it (though I can't profess love for it until I get that 9-volt feeling, of course), and recommend it to you highly. This book will make a great gift for those you care about (at so many levels).

I also recommend getting acquainted with Dick Richards at his Come Gather Round blog.

Here's to you and your genius!