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How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci [Summary & Takeaways]

by The Quick Book Summary Team
7 minutes read

Main Topic

The book explores the concept of thinking like Leonardo da Vinci, emphasizing seven key steps to cultivate genius in everyday life.

Key Ideas or Arguments

  • Curiosità (Curiosity): Cultivate a curious mindset to enhance learning and creativity.
  • Dimostrazione (Demonstration): Develop a commitment to testing knowledge through experience.
  • Sensazione (Sensory Perception): Sharpen sensory awareness to deepen the understanding of the world.
  • Sfumato (The Art of Ambiguity): Embrace ambiguity and navigate uncertainties with a flexible mindset.
  • Arte/Scienza (Art/Science Balance): Blend art and science to foster holistic thinking.
  • Corporalita (Physicality): Recognize the connection between physical and mental well-being.
  • Connessione (Connection): Foster interconnected thinking and recognize patterns across disciplines.

Chapter Titles or Main Sections

  1. “Awakening Curiosity”: Encourages readers to ignite their curiosity to unlock creativity.
  2. “Balancing the Books of Your Mind”: Explores the importance of balance between arts and sciences.
  3. “Sharpening the Senses”: Guides readers in enhancing sensory perception.
  4. “Embracing the Fog”: Explores the benefits of tolerating ambiguity and navigating uncertainties.
  5. “Mona Lisa’s Smiles”: Examines the masterpiece to inspire the pursuit of perfection.
  6. “Strategies for Whole Brain Thinking”: Introduces practical exercises to promote holistic thinking.
  7. “Creating a Personal Notebook”: Encourages keeping a journal for self-reflection and continuous learning.

How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci

by Michael J. Gelb


Key Takeaways

  • Cultivate curiosity to fuel creativity.
  • Embrace ambiguity and develop a flexible mindset.
  • Recognize the interconnectedness of various disciplines.
  • Balance art and science for holistic thinking.
  • Prioritize physical well-being for optimal cognitive function.

Author’s Background and Qualifications

Michael J. Gelb is an accomplished author, speaker, and consultant known for his expertise in fostering creativity and innovation. With a background in philosophy and a deep interest in the Renaissance, Gelb draws inspiration from historical geniuses like Leonardo da Vinci.

Comparison to Other Books

Compared to other books on creativity and genius, Gelb’s work uniquely blends historical insights with practical exercises, providing a holistic approach to thinking like a genius.

Target Audience

This book is suitable for individuals seeking to enhance their creativity, critical thinking, and overall cognitive abilities. It caters to a broad audience interested in personal development and unleashing their potential.

Reception or Critical Response

“How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci” has received positive reviews for its engaging writing style, practical advice, and the fusion of historical wisdom with modern self-improvement concepts.

Publisher and First Published Date

Published by Dell Publishing in 1998.


  • “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron
  • “Creative Confidence” by Tom Kelley and David Kelley
  • Originals” by Adam Grant

To Sum Up:

The book’s biggest takeaway lies in cultivating curiosity, embracing ambiguity, and recognizing the interconnectedness of disciplines to unleash one’s creative genius in everyday life.

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