Accidental Genius: Revolutionize Your Thinking Through Private Writing

Mark Levy and Tom Peters

Published by Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2000
ISBN 10: 1576750833 / ISBN 13: 9781576750834
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Synopsis: Private writing enables businesspeople to get at their best, most creative, and most practical thinking. Mark Levy advocates writing without concern for grammar, punctuation, or style to achieve expressions of pure thought. He urges readers to write quickly on the theory that fast is honest. He also encourages writers to identify energy sources, follow digressions in thinking, investigate multiple perspectives, and translate written wisdom into real action.

Review: Peter Elbow calls it "freewriting." Julia Cameron refers to it as "morning pages." Mark Levy prefers the term "private writing." What they are all referring to is a timed, continuous-writing exercise, with no editing allowed. The messier the better. While Elbow and Cameron use the method as a way of improving one's personal writing and learning what one has to say, Levy applies its use to the business world. Businesspeople, too, he says, "should have fun with their subject. Give it fresh attention. View it from different angles." He makes a compelling argument for using private writing at work to get oneself to think outside the box. Too often, he says, we do things a certain way solely because that's the way they've always been done. Processes become so institutionalized that it takes "bursts of exceptional insight, or ...genius moments" to move beyond them. Levy's techniques for using private writing at work include "reality tweaking" (what if the budget were 100 times bigger or smaller?), having imaginary conversations with real people, and using "thought starters" to get the ball rolling. He also advocates the use of private writing to assess one's career and consider alternatives. Perhaps his most salient advice is, "Buy yourself a timer that doesn't make a clicking noise as it counts down." --Jane Steinberg

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Title: Accidental Genius: Revolutionize Your ...
Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers
Publication Date: 2000
Binding: Paperback
Book Condition: Used: Good

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