The full title of this book is Is Your Genius At Work? 4 Key Questions To Ask Before Your Next Career Move. Before I go any further with this review, let me set something straight: the value of this book is not limited to jobseekers. This is stuff that will help you reframe the way you view your life. There are plenty of other books that help you figure out your most basic competencies (books on enneagrams, Now Discover Your Strengths, etc…). I’ve only done a little bit of messing around in this genre, but from my experience, Genius takes the most direct path to the heart of the discovery process. The book is an easy read but, like another reviewer said, a deep one. If you take it seriously, you’ll likely struggle with naming your genius for more time than it takes to read the book.
The four questions that the book asks are, What is your genius, Is your genius at work, What is your purpose and Is your genius on purpose. About 2/3 of the book is devoted to working through these questions and the last third is filled with excercises to help you narrow down the search for the name of your genius. The excercises are awesome–nothing trivial or useless here. These are thoughtful and clearly designed to help you think in new directions and they do it well. I’ve been working through the excercises and they’re hard for me. This kinda bums me out because there was a time, not all that long ago, that I was intently focused on self-knowledge, and I felt like I knew myself pretty well. To some degree the excercises make me feel kinda bad that I don’t simply have snap answers anymore. On the other hand, it’s been good to get to know myself again.
I’m still unsure of the name of my genius. The book describes several ways that you might know when you’ve landed on your genius’ name. I experienced none of this when I wrote Exploring Service. Last week I felt like that was a servicable name for use while I kept seeking, but this week I don’t think that’s the case. I’m continuing to work on some of the excercises and also allowing things to just sit and simmer for a while. I think that’s important. What’s really different about Genius versus other books like the ones I mentioned earlier is that there aren’t any easy quizzes or surveys to take which will spit out the answer. Figuring out the name of your genius takes work and time. It feels like you can’t look directly at it…gotta look kinda sideways or pretend you aren’t looking and wait for it to pop up. I suspect it’s worth the wait.
This book has been really well received by other folks I think highly of. Check out reviews by Dave Pollard, Steve Pavlina and Dwayne Melancon. Also, Dick Richards is doing something really remarkable for an author of a book like this. He’s created an online discussion group, called Genius Workshop, where readers of the book can get some personal insight from him and from others who are on the same journey. Very, very helpful. Also, for more good reading, check out Dick’s blog where he’s also got a sample chapter and some excercises you can work through.