The 46 Rules of Genius An Innovator's Guide to Creativity

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2014-05-19
  • Publisher: New Riders

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Not since Strunk and White’s ELEMENTS OF STYLE has a book compressed so many insights into so few pages. With his trademark simplicity and wit, Marty Neumeier has written and illustrated a concise guide that can be read quickly over a lunch break or savored slowly over a lifetime.

Part 1, “How can I innovate?” offers insightful guidance such as “Feel before you think,” “See what’s not there,” and “Ask a bigger question.” Rule #1 gives the paradoxical advice: “Break the rules.”

Part 2, “How should I work?” offers down-to-earth tips on craft: “Use a linear process for static elements,” and “Express related elements in a similar manner.” The reader is also reminded: “Don’t be boring!”

In Part 3, “How can I learn?” contains practical advice including “Do your own projects,” “Invest in your originality,” and “Develop an authentic style.”

Finally, Part 4, “How can I matter?” deals with the deeper questions of a career in creativity, such as “Overcommit to a mission,” “Build support methodically,” and “Become who you are.”

THE 46 RULES OF GENIUS is a reassuring lighthouse against the swirling tides of innovation. Geniuses from every discipline will want to keep it in sight.

(Educators: Those who recommend this book to students may also be interested its deeply researched precursor, METASKILLS, from which the rules were drawn.)

From the back cover:

There’s no such thing as an accidental genius. Anyone who’s reached that exalted state has arrived there by design. But simply wanting to get there is not enough. A would-be genius also needs a theoretical framework, a basic compass, a set of principles to guide the way forward.

Marty Neumeier, acclaimed author of The Brand Gap and Metaskills, has compressed the wisdom of the ages into the first “quick start guide” for genius46 glittering gems that will light your path to creative brilliance. This is THE essential handbook for designers, entrepreneurs, marketers, educators, artists, scientists, innovators, and future leaders in every field.

Author Biography

Marty Neumeier began his career as a designer, but soon added writing and strategy to his repertoire, working variously as an identity designer, art director, copywriter, journalist, package designer, magazine publisher, and brand consultant. By the mid-1990s he had developed hundreds of brand icons, retail packages, and other communications for companies such as Apple, Adobe, Netscape Communications, Eastman Kodak, and Hewlett-Packard.

In 2002, Neumeier launched Neutron, a design think tank based in San Francisco focused on internal brand building processes that drive organizational change. While at Neutron, Neumeier wrote a series of three “whiteboard overview” books, titled The Brand Gap, Zag, and Designful Company, which have been hailed as breakthroughs by Fast Company, BusinessWeek, and Harvard Business Review. Zag was recently named one of "The Top 100 Business Books of All Time."

In 2009, Neutron merged with Liquid Agency, where Neumeier now serves as Director of Transformation. He currently lives in Santa Barbara, California.


Table of Contents

What is a genius?
Part 1: How can I innovate?
Rule #1: Break the rules.
Rule #2: Wish for what you want.
Rule #3: Feel before you think.
Rule #4: See what’s not there.
Rule #5: Ask a bigger question.
Rule #6: Frame problems tightly.
Rule #7: Think whole thoughts.
Rule #8: Stay in the dragon pit.
Rule #9: Approach answers obliquely.
Rule #10: Wait for the jolt.
Rule #11: Use beauty as a yardstick.
Part 2: How should I work?
Rule #12: Design quickly, decide slowly.
Rule #13: Use a linear process for static elements.
Rule #14: Use a dynamic process for interactive elements.
Rule #15: Work to an appropriate structure.
Rule #16: Express related elements in a similar manner.
Rule #17: Match form to function, function to form.
Rule #18: Don’t be boring.
Rule #19: Put the surprise where you want the attention.
Rule #20: Apply aesthetics deliberately.
Rule #21: Visualize with sketches, models, or prototypes.
Rule #22: Tolerate messiness.
Rule #23: Test your ideas in realistic situations.
Rule #24: Simplify.
Part 3: How should I learn?
Rule #25: Learn how to learn.
Rule #26: Start from wonder, not belief.
Rule #27: Do your own projects.
Rule #28: Keep a hero file.
Rule #29: Invest in your originality.
Rule #30: Learn strategically.
Rule #31: Neutralize your weaknesses.
Rule #32: Spend long hours in the joy zone.
Rule #33: Make educational mistakes.
Rule #34: Seek instructive criticism.
Rule #35: Feed your passion.
Rule #36: Develop an authentic style.
Rule #37: Practice.
Part 4: How can I contribute?
Rule #38: Overcommit to a mission.
Rule #39: Stay focused.
Rule #40: Follow through.
Rule #41: Practice good design.
Rule #42: Build support methodically.
Rule #43: Don’t blame others.
Rule #44: Join a network.
Rule #45: Become who you are.
Rule #46: Make new rules.

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