Genius By Design actually started as a book idea. Back in the 1990s, I was discovering many of the prominent accelerated learning techniques of time and I had a hard time getting my head around why those powerful techniques weren't part of every middle school, high school, and college curriculum. At the time, I figured that it was simply the result of poor marketing and a lack of a central model to bring those tactics together. So I set out to fix that with a book that I was going to name Genius By Design.

Fast forward a couple of decades and I have proven nearly all of my original assumptions wrong…life has a way of doing that to idealistic twenty-somethings. As we enter the 2020s, the current plan is simply to focus on this website.

Right now, there are seven sections:
  • Part 1: The GBD Thesis of Lifelong Learning - what is different about 21st century learning…especially learning as an adult.
  • Part 2: Reflective Genius - the two levels of journaling and how they form the basis for self-direction
  • Part 3: Deliberate Genius - the principles of leverage (as they apply to learning) and how to learn anything, no matter who you are and what you want to learn
  • Part 4: Remedial Genius - how to identify and fix the most common errors in the universal core skills
  • Part 5: Deep Genius - how to take each core skill to the next level
  • Part 6: Beyond Genius - how I think the world works…from evolution's hidden engines to nested cycles
  • Part 7: Organizational Genius - applying all of the above to the 21st century organization.




The Archive


Early drafts of my books will be re-published in the other section as essays. For now, here are the outlines and synopses from earlier drafts.

Memoirs Of The Information Age (early draft linked here)

Despite all of today's wondrous innovations that we take for granted, the world isn't getting any easier. It is evolving faster than ever and therefore demanding more and more from us every year. If we are to continue to stand on the shoulders of giants, what's missing?

Ignorance Isn't The Bliss It Used To Be (early draft linked here)

What is the inflection point that determines what side of the widening gap that we fall on? With fewer opportunities on one side and rapidly expanding opportunities on the other, continual learning is the obvious solution. So why isn't everyone doing it?

21st Century Learning & the ROI Problem

If up-to-date knowledge and skill are so highly demanded, and thus valued, why does the time, energy, & money we put into learning often exceed what we get back? Who or what is to blame for the inadequate returns in our learning investments? Or have we been asking the wrong questions and looking in the wrong direction for the answers?

The Promises & Pitfalls of Accelerated Learning

Is the accelerated learning field the missing link to our ROI problem? It sure looks good on paper and the marketing behind it certainly claims it to be the second coming of...well..something. But if all those techniques are so powerful, and yet so accessible to the majority, why haven't they fulfilled their promise of revolutionizing education, learning, and human potential? And why are many people finding the techniques so hard to master? I recount my own accelerated learning journey and how it led to Genius By Design.

My Israeli Physicist Guru

In order to solve what I believe to be the core problem with accelerated learning, I offer an analogy--technology, in particular, how technology is implemented in the business world and why it so often fails to reap the promised rewards. While the solutions to making technology "work" are different, the principles utilized are surprisingly similar. By applying a simple version of the Theory of Constraints, we can start to see what's missing in our pursuit of the holy grail of genius, and more importantly, what we can do about it.

Turning the World of Learning Inside-Out

How do we turn the key principles revealed thus far into a learning model that delivers on the promise of being able to learn anything, regardless of present aptitude, natural talent, or overall intelligence? This is Genius By Design in a nutshell...a blueprint for 21st century learning in spite of all of the forces aligned against us.

Intention: No Journey Can Begin WIthout A Direction

Every self-improvement course worth its salt begins here and there are plenty of testimonials as well as scientific data supporting goal-setting and why it works. But what separates the GBD learning model is the number and scope of your learning goals (Hint: It is the opposite of what you probably think).

Performance: The Little Red Dot That Says "You Are Here"

While I don't advocate blind immersion for several reasons, the GBD learning model does encourage you to jump into the pool early. Why? The key phrase here is "producing external evidence of your current level of knowledge and skill". This step, if done correctly, becomes the cornerstone for your learning endeavor. Without it, you are resorting to becoming just another generic learner, playing the long odds of stumbling over the perfect "fit".

Reflection: It's Not Just For Soul-Searching Anymore

You are, now and forevermore, your own primary instructor. And this is how it is done. Your learning journal will become your most valuable ongoing resource on how YOU learn best, no matter what you are learning, and no matter how good you are or how bad you are. Self-reflection is the most powerful technique of learning, yet almost no one does it. But what exactly are we reflecting? What are we looking for and what are we writing about?

Assessment: Aim First, Then Fire

Most of us grew up in a culture where parents and teachers were given ultimate responsibility for our learning progress. That is over. It is time to accept that you are unique and that no one knows more about your brain than you. This is especially true after as your learning journal grows in breadth and depth. Therefore, it is now your responsibility to look for the patterns of what works and what doesn't, and decide what to do about it. Only then will you know what to practice.

Training: Elements of Perfect Practice

In recent years, there have been several books and articles that have shed new light on the art and science of practice (often dubbed "deliberate practice" or "deep practice"). These works, combined with a number of other hints, tricks, and techniques, provide your "new instructor" with plenty of invaluable insights on how to get the most out of every training session.

Improvitaping: The Deep Feedback Loop On Auto-Pilot

In recent years, there have been several books and articles that have shed new light on the art and science of practice (often dubbed "deliberate practice" or "deep practice"). These works, combined with a number of other hints, tricks, and techniques, provide your "new instructor" with plenty of invaluable insights on how to get the most out of every training session.

Signal & Noise: Accessing Your Resources

Using the analogy of signal (the productive energy that supports your desired outcomes) and noise (anything that impedes progress), there are three areas that require our attention, and in many cases, some changes in behavior. To do this. we need to disengage our autopilot and examine exactly how we can improve our access to the mental resources we already have through rituals, habits, and the science of preparation.

Attention: The Real Reward Of Time Management

Where does mental energy come from? Or better yet, what impedes mental energy from being available when we want or need it? David Allen is widely considered "the time management guru" of our time. But his Getting Things Done model isn't about time, it is about energy. I explain why I believe top-down time management systems ultimately fail in the modern age and how the GTD model specifically applies to learning.

Health: Getting Into The Zone

If there is one area that is perhaps more misunderstood than the human mind, it is the human body. Considering the mountains of data (much of it conflicting) and competing theories of what to eat & drink, how to exercise and what drugs and supplements to take, etc, is it any wonder that most people give up and allow fate, genetics, and overworked doctors to determine their health?
I endeavor not to provide a comprehensive model on health...far from it. But your health and physical fitness do greatly impact your ability to learn. Therefore, I offer a fairly simple model of understanding the human body that goes beyond the useless "eat less and exercise more" mantra and enables you to take responsibility for achieving and maintaining whatever is required for you to reach your learning goals.

Emotion: Do You Feel What I'm Saying?

Emotions aren't just your responses to environmental triggers. Emotions can also be trained responses to internal triggers. In fact, we do this all the time, just usually not consciously, nor do we do it as often or as thoroughly as we should. Welcome to the science of emotion and how it can be used to accentuate learning and performance. Don't worry, your limbic brain won't even know it when you are faking it.

I
ntroducing The Core Skills

Finally, we enter the heart and soul of accelerated learning, the promised land of unlimited leverage and boundless mental capacity. For some, many of these techniques are introduced for the first time. For everyone else, they are presented in a new light that will guarantee results in a way that the original authors never could.


Wait a minute, did I just say "guarantee"? Yes, because by the time you get to this section, you'll know why the vast majority of these skills, while indisputably powerful, are completely irrelevant to you today. Most of them will come into play eventually, but knowing which core skills to focus on now and how to integrate them into your current learning endeavor are not only important distinctions of Genius By Design, but I believe they are "the key" to unlocking the true potential of each of these skill areas.


Memory: You Can Never Have Enough


We start here because it is perhaps the oldest, the most recognized, and the easiest area of accelerated learning to achieve quick results. The problem is graduating from those quick and easy results to the undefinable and ridiculous expectation of a "perfect memory". In fact, if I ever see the words "perfect" and "memory" adjacent to each other again, I'm going publicly humiliate the author. I'll explain why, along with providing a few pointers that should make the already exhaustive supply of memory-enhancement methodologies more useful.


Reading: Drinking In The Cosmos Through The Written Word


Reading is probably the second most popular accelerated learning skill area. And it, too, is fraught with more than its fair share of hyperbole and misleading marketing that has led many people to believe that the entirety of Google will soon be available as a one-hour brain download. Um...not quite.


But behind all that ails this area are some invaluable learning principles that are unfortunately not taught in the earliest stages of education when we are just learning to read. Instead, we are left to explore these techniques as adults. Even if you don't want or need the "speed" of speed reading or the near-incredulous promises of photoreading, the techniques are sound and universally applicable, especially in the information age.


Sensory Development: Re-engaging The Old Brain


Even though every learning endeavor engages one of more of our senses, the actual development of those senses is rarely considered an accelerated learning skill. Depending on what you are learning and what weaknesses you discover within yourself, breaking it down to a sensory level and working with concrete images, sounds, and movements (both internal and external) in a highly focused and progressive manner can provide significant leverage.


Critical Thinking: How Rigorous Logic Can Move Mountains


Perhaps no other area is so strongly linked to IQ, and therefore widely believed to be fixed. And yet, when you break it down, every bit of logic, deduction, and calculation is learnable. It just takes strategy and practice. This might be the most overlooked of the core skills, and therefore it might have the greatest potential for many. But getting people to really dig into it is perhaps a greater challenge than the skill area itself.


Creativity: The Power Of Uninhibited Lateral Thinking


Creativity is one of the most overused and misdefined words in the english language. What does it really mean to be creative? Nearly every action or thought could be considered creative depending on how liberal our definition is. I'll explore a bit of the philosophy and then cover many of the popular strategies, keys to lateral thinking, and some of my favorite authors on the topic. It has been postulated that there is a 95% overlap between creativity and learning. That alone warrants some attention in this area.


Image Streaming: Tapping The Unconscious


With all due respect to Tony Buzan and his widely popular "mind-mapping", I believe image streaming is the single greatest invention/development in the accelerated learning field in the last 50 years. But while mind-mapping is everywhere (just look at the number of iphone apps on mind-mapping alone), image streaming is still rather obscure.

I think this is for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the premature claim that it increases IQ scores by one point for every 80 minutes of practice. I think most of the critics of image streaming get too caught up in that claim and miss the whole point. So I'm going to do my best to put image streaming where I believe it belongs in the hopes that more people will be in the right frame of mind when they try it. So when they do finally engage in the technique, they will "get it" and really see some tangible results.

Bending Reality: Becoming Anyone You Want To Be...Sort Of


Sure, it was way too good to be true, but that didn't stop me from diving in head first and devoting five years of my life to pursuing the dream of becoming an expert in modeling/NLP/hypnosis...a modern day Pretender. But regardless of its exaggerated claims (of which there are too many to count), this area does warrant some time and analysis.

There is some hard evidence behind the techniques along with some interesting experiments going back many decades which show that the brain is capable of remarkable feats if you can fool it into changing its understanding of reality (albeit temporarily....hopefully). However, this is a dangerous field and I'm certainly not going to try to teach it here (which is close to impossible, anyway). I merely present it for your consideration.