Buzan's Book of Genius
Buzan's Book of Genius - And How To Unleash Your Own is a book that was first published in 1994 by Tony Buzan and Raymond Keene, from a study that was conducted in an effort to rank the world’s greatest geniuses, and as a self-help guide to developing individual genius.
The categories for making the GS determination included (all on a “scaling” system): dominance in the field, active longevity, polymath, versatility, strength and energy, IQ, ongoing influence, prolificness and achievement of prime goal, universality of vision, outstanding originality, and deliberate desire to create teaching avenues or academies to further the genius’ ideas.
In each category a score was awarded on a point-scale:
A range of 0 to 100 points was awarded to each of the following categories: dominance in the field, active longevity, polymath, versatility, strength and energy, IQ, ongoing influence, prolificness and achievement of prime goal.
In the other categories, a range of 0 to 15 points was awarded to universality of vision, a range of 0 to 10 points was awarded to outstanding originality, a range of 0 to 10 points was awarded to a deliberate desire to create teaching avenues or academies to further the genius's ideas (where even a 0, because it is a ranking relating specifically to the 100 top geniuses, would indicate, in relation to everyone else, a very high score).
The active longevity category required special attention. Those geniuses who managed their personal physiques to the maximum to ensure the widest possible time span for the accomplishment of their life's visions deserved extra credit. The grand total available is a maximum of 835 possible points.
Out of the 100 geniuses studied, Leonardo da Vinci scored highest both in IQ (scoring 220) and GS (Genius Score - on an 835-point scale, scoring 822). The lowest IQ score was Walt Disney (scoring 123). The lowest Genius Score was Spinoza (scoring 491).
Part of the book is also designed for people to develop their own mental skills. The authors claim they have "written the book in a manner that is in itself a formula for the realization of genius", by taking the "principles and lessons learned from those great minds" making them "easily assimilated and adopted by everyone".
Reception & criticism
Many online resources, such as Braintrust.org cite the book and support its ranking system as a reliable standard for gauging genius.
The authors' claim that theirs was the world's first attempt to rank the world's greatest geniuses is a false one. In 1926, American psychologist Catherine Cox published Early Mental Traits of 300 Geniuses, in which her and a group of psychologists at Stanford University methodically assigned IQ values to the top 300 geniuses, that lived in adulthood age during the years 1450 to 1850, based on the magnitude and density of their intellectual accomplishments over their lifespan.
Critics have questioned Buzan's and Keene's criteria for choosing the top 100 and the methodology used, saying "Buzan comes up with strange and completely subjective parameters without any supporting data that do affect the quality of his ranking". This book was contrasted with Charles Murray's book on Human Accomplishment, which also used a 0-100 index score, but with different statistical analysis, showing different results, over a larger group of 4,000 people. Murray concludes that an empirical analysis of such data can never be 100% accurate, because the analysis of "importance" is "less quantitative, more speculative, and definitely more opinionated."
- Buzan, Tony and Keene, Raymond. (1994). Buzan's Book of Genius - And How To Unleash Your Own. Stanley Paul. ISBN 0-09-178551-0
- Book of Genius, p.13
- "Book of Genius Methodology at The Encyclopedia of Human Thermodynamics".
- "What follows is the world's first attempt to rank the greatest geniuses of history." Book of Genius, p.235
- Book of Genius, p. 235
- "Genius Ranking at The Brain Trust". Archived from the original on 2012-11-21.
- Book of Genius, p.7
- "Catherine Cox at The Encyclopedia of Human Thermodynamics".
- "Amazon Book Review, by Gaetan Lion".
- Human Accomplishment: The Pursuit of Excellence in the Arts and Sciences, 800 B.C. to 1950, Charles Murray, published 2003, ISBN 006019247X