The Genius Habit – Laura Garnett

Summary:

This is a self-help book, all about how the author tries to bring you along her motivational path, to harness the you inside, and give you a framework to develop the habits of a genius.

Broken into five main parts, the author first tells you the reader you are already a genius, you just haven’t tapped into it yet. Your genius is particular to you. The author provides certain tools, most notably her Performance Tracker, that aims to support the reader on the journey.

This is part 1, the Challenge. Essentially, it seems to be about breaking the bad habits of a lifetime, find your zone of genius, and using your new-found knowledge to avoid re-making the mistakes of the past e.g. leaving a job without really analysing why you were unhappy there.

Part 2 discusses Impact. This discusses not following your passion, but rather discovering your purpose and combining that with your genius (i.e. that method of work you are exceptional at).

Part 3 is about Joy, the ability to self-motivate as well as to focus on the process of work, not just be a slave to the ultimate goal i.e. avoid becoming an achievement junkie.

Part 4 considers Mindfulness. This stems from getting a detailed grasp on who you are, and knowing the kind of contribution you can make. This leads to greater confidence.

Part 5 finishes on the topic of Perseverance, remaining curious, and eliminating the fear of failure. The only constant is change, as the mantra goes, but the two qualities of grit (never giving up) and curiosity (openness to new ideas, etc.) should be core to your successes.

After some sections, the reader is given a series of closed, yes/no questionnaires, and depending on the number of each response, fall into a particular categorisation e.g. one or two yes’s in a particular section means that that particular issue is a problem for you. In all chapters, the reader is given open-ended questions, to reflect on and complete.

The reader is encouraged to use the Performance Tracker to help identify their Zone of Genius, and leveraging it to make better use of innate skills. This is turn creates and reinforces positive habits, and a virtuous circle is born.

Overall:

The author is very liberal with her own life experiences, and also shares those of her family and clients, in order to illustrate a point, or to give greater context to a particular theory. The author also refers to numerous bodies of work and research.

It is well-structured, and is positive and constructive in its approach. It will be useful for some people, but I think not all.

I found it very simplistic in its approach. There was too much on the analytical, theoretical approach, whereas most people want actionable tasks. Chapters about perseverance and habit-breaking have been done ad nauseum, and readers need something more.

The 329 pages could easily have been reduced, as I feel there is a lot of padding in there. Sometimes the point the author was making got lost in the plethora of examples and anecdotes. There was quite a lot of superfluous stories in there, which really added nothing.

The open-ended questions were in a sense limiting, as not everyone can go deep into themselves, and for people new at this type of stuff, this could be daunting and off-putting.

Overall, it is an ok read, but over-long. For me, there was nothing really new in it, just essentially another list. That said, I have read widely in this area over the years, so for someone new to it this could be a useful primer.

Acknowledgements:

Thanks to NetGalley and the author for sending me a free copy of the book, in return for an honest and objective review.

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