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Accidental Genius

3.9  ·  Rating Details ·  1,432 Ratings  ·  106 Reviews
When it comes to creating ideas, we hold ourselves back. That’s because inside each of us is an internal editor whose job is to forever polish our thoughts, so we sound smart and in control, and so that we fit into society. But what happens when we encounter problems where such conventional thinking fails us? How to get unstuck?

For Mark Levy, the answer is freewriting, a
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ebook, 192 pages
Published August 9th 2010 by Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc. (first published January 1st 2000)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Payam
Oct 10, 2012 Payam rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Here is the core of the idea: free-writing is good.
That's really it. With no Science to back it up, it just turns into a book of anecdotes and techniques on more free-writing.

Do not get me wrong. Free-writing makes sense. I simply do not understand the purpose of publishing a book when it could be summarized in a blog post.
J.F. Penn
Aug 22, 2013 J.F. Penn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: writing
Freewriting as a way to tap into your creativity. Writing fast as a way to get around the internal editor. Your inappropriate thoughts are where the action is, where the originality resides. Using time limits to encourage the creative process, and lots more.
Joyce Morin
Sep 30, 2012 Joyce Morin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love this book because it connects the dots for me with what I have been learning in my training in the Professional Coach Training of Wellcoaches. That is, there are different ways to gets things done, and when we do something physical, like the act of writing by hand or even typing, we are accessing a different part of our brain than when we just "think". I learned that if you get up off the chair and walk to a different space, such as a huge ruler/scale of 1-10 on the ground and pace off th ...more
Tyler Hurst
Jan 23, 2011 Tyler Hurst rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I normally shy away from books, blogs or even conversations about writing, as I'm not exactly educated in the ways of writing. I've never taken a creative writing, english or even journalism class, though I've written blogs, one book and tons of journalistic articles.

Perhaps I'm worried that books like this will use grammar and writing terms that I won't understand, which will make me feel stupid, which makes me want to make fun of the book.

But Mark Levy didn't do that hear. The book wasn't a qu
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Jie-Yun Ling
Mar 16, 2017 Jie-Yun Ling rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Accidental Genius is a gift from a friend. This book talks about making writing a daily enjoyment and getting as many ideas as possible from it. Before I read this book, I have been ‘trying writing’ for two years or three. The impulse can date back to the first time I finished my very first romantic fiction in the fifth year in elementary school. I still remembered the book: 涼夏校園紀事by 席娟 (Xí Juān), which has led me since then to many years non-stop marathon of reading.

I took to writing a few year
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L.A. Jacob
It was a quick read, and very interesting. Free-writing is like stretching before a big writing project, it's a spewing out of ideas onto paper so you can see how your mind works. But as another reviewer said, it's short enough that it could just as well be a blog post. I would definitely give some of the exercises in this book a try.
David Brady
May 22, 2017 David Brady rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: next-book
A very dated book by modern standards on free-writing, creativity and problem-solving.
Al Macy
Fiction writers need only read the first 46 pages.
Sharon Orlopp
Jan 09, 2017 Sharon Orlopp rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fabulous---chock full of practical tips.
Douglas Sherk
This book has some interesting ideas, but it falls short because it really didn't have to be the length that it is. This could have been an extended blog post with some footnotes and "see more" links and been equally, if not more effective.

The techniques do work to some extent, but the marketing both surrounding and inside (!) this book fall into the classic self-help trap of promising to turn you into Super(wo)man after you've read it.

To my own personal enjoyment, the author takes some jabs a
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Darci
Mar 05, 2017 Darci rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
True confession first. I listened to this whole book without doing any of the writing exercises. I'm betting if I had done them I would of given it a five-star rating. This is a book worth another read. I will have a little more time on my hands in the near future and plan to do just that, with pen and paper ready. He gives recommendations on how to get out of your own way and let your brain become your best problem solving friend. He explains the "how" and also the "why" each technique works. T ...more
Michael Wilson
Apr 10, 2013 Michael Wilson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book discusses the many benefits of the freewriting technique, which inspired my Flash Writing technique. The concept is the same. Write as fast as you can, write in timed writing sessions, don't edit and write at the same time, etc. This book focuses on the use of freewriting in problem solving for business managers, marketers and content creators.

This doesn't lessen the book's value for the professional writer because most of these techniques are applicable to the freelancer or starving n
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Jacob Simmering
Jan 16, 2015 Jacob Simmering rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Was required to read the book for a seminar course and, while the book is far outside of what I would normally read, I approached it with as open a mind as possible. I was disappointed.

The book is at least 2-5 times as long as it needs to be. Often entire chapters are accurately and completely recapped, without loss of information, in the last paragraph despite the 10+ pages that the chapter occupied. Reading the same idea over and over again was frustrating, to say the least.

Surprisingly, for
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Babs
Nov 21, 2010 Babs rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Writers, etc


it comes to creating ideas, we hold ourselves back. That’s because inside each of us is an internal editor whose job is to forever polish our thoughts, so we sound smart and in control, and so that we fit into society. But what happens when we encounter problems where such conventional thinking fails us? How to get unstuck?
For Mark Levy, the answer is freewriting, a technique he’s used for years to solve all types of business problems, and generate ideas for books, articles and blog posts.

Free
...more
Patrick
Amazon review:
hen it comes to creating ideas, we hold ourselves back. That’s because inside each of us is an internal editor whose job is to forever polish our thoughts, so we sound smart and in control, and so that we fit into society. But what happens when we encounter problems where such conventional thinking fails us? How to get unstuck?

For Mark Levy, the answer is freewriting, a technique he’s used for years to solve all types of business problems, and generate ideas for books, articles and
...more
Adaset
Feb 18, 2017 Adaset rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Free writing is a valuable exercise. Particularly for combating writers block or unlocking new solutions to an old problem.

There--you've read the book.
Grady
Jan 25, 2011 Grady rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recovery for Writer's Block

Mark Levy has graced the writing world once again with this revised version of ACCIDENTAL GENIUS first published ten+ years ago: yes, it is an improved edition! Levy's gift to the world of writing, whether that is aimed at the professional novelist, the casual writer, the business person responsible for churning out meaning documents for the improvement of the company, etc, is such a practical one that at first reading of the original it made many of us wary of the wor
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Suzie
Jul 01, 2009 Suzie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I took my time with this, wanting to actually try the writing exercises Levy outlines. Thanks, Janelle, for the loan. Again, apologies for coffee stains and Hannah artwork . . .

The book is geared toward the business world, but I think a lot of useful things can be gleaned from it. I especially gained a lot from the chapter titled "The Benefit in Growing Tired of Yourself." I don't know if I had any "genius" moments in my private writing, but I certainly feel now like those moments are out there
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Dave B.
Mar 28, 2013 Dave B. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Accidental Genius was a great book and it changed my personal view of journaling on a fundamental level and improved my ideas generating process at work. I occasionally try to journal my thoughts but often find it hard to come up with any ideas or motivations for putting pen to paper. This book motivated me to use free writing as a spark for daily journal entries. I double my personal writing habits just from the 6 easy steps to free writing. I highly recommend performing the exercises and readi ...more
Drew
Jan 23, 2011 Drew rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'd rate the idea much higher than the book itself.

I have no doubt, confirmed from my own experience plus what I have learned about how the brain works, that conscious activities can free the subconscious to spew out creative ideas that can be later acted on by the conscious mind.

The book, however, could have been delivered as a 1-page pamphlet. Too much of the book (over)explains a very simple concept in over-pedantic, plodding style.

I got through 3/4ths of the book's audio version. After the f
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Eliyahu (Marc)
Apr 12, 2014 Eliyahu (Marc) rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: writing
If any book hit the nerve to write again after an Accedent I had its been this book. Follow his instructions as he says them then you will experience the book.

Some might say "I know this already" but if you're not doing it then you do not know it. Or do on so shallow a level time waisted. Study the book, let it lead you, do what it says, don't judge it let judge you. It's an experience. Many read myriads of self help books to no avail. Like anything it's the attitude you have in approaching it.
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Ling
Oct 07, 2014 Ling rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read the Chinese translation and found it motivating. There are many ideas that are easy to kick start writing: go with the thought, extract gold from business book, redirect your attention, prompt your thinking, open up words, hold a paper conversation and doubt yourself. "Open up words" can be easily done on OneWord.com (the first word I got was "pity" and it's a pity I pretty much went blank for the entire 60 seconds.) I also like one of the examples where I have to close my eyes and write ...more
Linda
Jan 12, 2013 Linda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: self-improvement
NOTE: This is the highly-revised edition of the book that came out some ten years ago, which I didn't read. He notes that he threw out 17 chapters in the old edition and added just as much new, so it's not the same book as it was.

Mark Levy has taken freewriting and shows its practical application as a tool to access the unconscious for new and deeper solutions to business problems. However, the information he presents is as easily applicable to a writer wishing to solve plot, character, structur
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Joseph
Jun 18, 2014 Joseph rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Accidental Genius presents the concept of freewriting (akin to brainstorming) and has a wealth of ideas on how to go about doing this, from using a timer to chunking (breaking large tasks or ideas into smaller ones). While not all ideas are original - the author properly credits his sources - the book acts as a good resource for getting started. But this is also where the book comes up short. All the ideas are treated as equally useful and no time is spent on how to process or synthesize the ...more
Nick
This is an interesting book which has some very good practically usable suggestions for developing the ability to write. I think the author takes this a bit too far in that he uses this methodology for developing all his ideas. This makes sense because he is an author, and has the opportunity as an author to develop the skills identified in the book on a daily basis. For the rest of us we probably won't have the time necessary to develop the skills to the level he has and probably won't be able ...more
Beth
May 20, 2011 Beth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I grabbed the unabridged version from Audible on a whim. I'd seen it reviewed in a blog and thought "eh, why not?"

I'm surprised how much I like this book. His techniques for clarifying thoughts and problem-solving are spot-on. Just yesterday I had to build a set of slides that I REALLY didn't know how to complete. I free-wrote for 10 minutes on the topic using one of Mark's approches for getting started. At the end of the 10 minutes I had several great ideas on paper and know how to shape the ov
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Denis
Jan 15, 2012 Denis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Книга довольно не однозначная.

Написана очень легко и легко читается. В конце каждого раздела есть ряд упражнений, которые рекомендуется выполнять. Очень доходчиво рассказывается о том, что такое фрирайтинг и как его использовать в различных областях нашей жизни.

Я попытался делать конспект книги для того, чтобы затем представить его своим знакомым, но в итоге понял, что идея бессмысленна, так как придется писать в конспекте всю книгу, пропустив только очень незначительную часть.

Если вы хотите изм
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Summer
Feb 15, 2011 Summer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really liked the concepts and structure in this book. It reads like a workbook, but you don't have to do the work if you'd rather read through (like I did). I found some of the ideas to be insightful and useful, but not earth-shattering. I'm looking forward to trying some of the ideas put forth, and really hope to get some useful things from it. If nothing else, I enjoyed the read (which isn't something I can say for all the business/self-help books I've read).

Pick it up if you have the chanc
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Dale
Aug 10, 2011 Dale rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
The idea here is to use 'freewriting' as a way to get your thoughts on paper, as part of solving a problem or growing your business, or just getting started on a writing project. You might not think that such a simple idea could be expanded to book length, but you would be wrong. Oh, sure, the main points actually could be presented well and thoroughly in a short pamphlet, but you wouldn't be inclined to shell out $17 for a pamphlet, now would you.

Snarkiness aside, I suspect these are some reall
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Kenny Pratt
Feb 02, 2011 Kenny Pratt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
People ask me all the time why I blog about business. What they don't know is that I write about all aspects of my life, just not publicly. I never really contemplated why this was so fulfilling, I just thought others were silly for not doing it.

When I read Mark's book I felt like I found a lost friend. He articulates why writing is so effective at generating insights, solving problems, and pushing your mind to explore areas it would otherwise be too lazy to go. He also resonates with me becaus
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Mark Levy is the founder of Levy Innovation LLC, a positioning and branding firm that helps consultants and other thought leaders increase their fees by up to 2,000%.

His clients include:

a former department head in the White House
a speaker to the United Nations
CEOs of major organizations
a former head of the Strategy Unit of the Harvard Business School
performers on network TV and from the New Y
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More about Mark Levy...

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“I ask why they picked that particular failing strategy. A common answer: They say that they heard that it was a perfect strategy, an A-strategy, for getting word out about a company. Everyone is using it. What they haven’t taken into account, though, is their own disposition, talents, and resources. Their own readiness. Businesses are like individuals. What’s perfect for one is awful for another. There is no such thing as an objective “A-strategy.” An A-strategy is only an A-strategy if you’ll execute on it. If you don’t have the desire, talent, or resources to fully execute, then your B- or C-strategy should be elevated to A-strategy status. Execute on the strategy you’ll perform with gusto. Gusto matters. Excitement matters. Follow-through matters. Completion matters.” 1 likes
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