By Gerald Sindell
New World Library, 2009
In Genius Machine, Gerald Sindell, a writer, movie director, executive coach, and author, attempts to convince readers that his method, called “Endleofon” (Old English for “Eleven”), will allow them to convert ideas into successful products, services, inventions, and intellectual property.
The subtitle of the book, The 11 Steps That Turn Raw Ideas into Brilliance, sets very high expectations we are all interested in improving our capacity to convert unpolished ideas into gold. However, while strict adherence to this process may improve our critical thinking capabilities resulting in a higher number of ideas and more effective ways to innovate it is my opinion that Sindell’s analysis is superficial, lacks the rigor that the subject demands, and fails to directly deliver on its promises.
While Sindell addresses the brain’s way of distinguishing, identifying, testing, and connecting ideas based on needs and precedents, he does not provide readers with an effective feedback mechanism to help them validate and improve on initial thoughts. One of the book’s fundamental flaws is the notion that ideas have value in and of themselves. In my opinion, however, unless we apply a rigorous process to refining and implementing our ideas, they are of little value. For an idea to truly have value, it must be transformed into a tangible demonstration of creative powers, for example, a song, a poem, or a painting. That is where true genius lies.
While reading Genius Machine, I could not avoid comparing it to a classic paper from the late, great management thought leader, Peter Drucker. The paper, “The Discipline of Innovation,” ends with a very sobering statement:
But when all is said and done, what innovation requires is hard, focused, purposeful work. If diligence, persistence, and commitment are lacking, talent, ingenuity, and knowledge are of no avail.
It seems as though Genius Machine is targeted towards those interested in developing ways to awaken their creative capabilities and exploring new thinking. They may find valuable information in this book, but no panaceas.