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How to Think Like
Leonardo da Vinci:
Seven Steps to Genius
Every Day

by Michael J. Gelb
Dell Books Paperbacks
   2000, 321pp.

Coaches, here you go!  Here’s a gracefully written, fascinating, and fun book that you can use to expand possibilities for your clients. While we may not all be destined to be geniuses like Da Vinci, Gelb shows that there is power in the way that Da Vinci approached life, and Da Vinci’s way of being can serve as a guide to anyone wishing to live an inspired life.

How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci is divided into seven Da Vincian principles aimed at helping you release thoughts that bind and limit you and discover ways to get in better touch with yourself and your world. The book contains inventive and interesting exercises that relate to each of the principles. Each section is fully developed, with exercises, examples, ideas, and advice.

The seven principles correspond to creating “life” in one’s approach to life, and honor the links between language, body, and emotion, and one’s connectedness to all beings. These seven principles correspond nicely with principles from Be Your Own Coach, including the Kaleidoscope View of Life (p.30), Four Stages of Movement (p. 53), The Coach’s Toolbox (p. 65), and Supporting Yourself in the Coaching Process (p. 99). Gelb’s seven principles, as outlined in the book’s introduction, are listed below. (Gelb uses the Italian words for each of these seven areas.) 

    • Curiosity (curiosita)– an insatiably curious approach to life and an unrelenting quest for continuous learning;
    • Experience (dimostrazione) – a commitment to test knowledge through experience, persistence, and a willingness to learn from mistakes.
    • Sensation (sensazione) – the continual refinement of the senses, especially sight, as the means to enliven experience
    • Letting Go (sfumato – means, “going up in smoke”) – a willingness to embrace ambiguity, paradox, and uncertainty
    • Art/Science (arte/scienza)– the development of the balance between science and art, logic and imagination (whole brain thinking)
    • Physicality (corporalita) – the cultivation of grace, ambidexterity, fitness, and poise
    • Connection (connessione) – a recognition of and appreciation for the interconnectedness of all things and phenomena (systems thinking)

Coaches will appreciate the abundance of ideas in this book. It is useful on numerous levels (from awakening self to deepening self) and in various domains, including work and family. Woven into each chapter are examples taken straight from Leonardo’s life, which is a real inspiration.e idea.








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