Scott Hodge


The Five Faces of Genius – Review

Jul 18, 2007

Just finished reading The Five Faces of Genius by Annette Moser-Wellman courtesy of Mr. Daniel Decker

Unfortunately, there was no photo of my face found anywhere in the book.  But I kept reading anyway…  ☺

Really enjoyed this one!  The book highlights five unique “thinking styles” that, when combined, have
the ability to bring about fresh creative and innovative solutions and ideas to our organizations.

Here are the five faces:

The Seer: The power to image.

The Observer: The power to notice detail.

The Alchemist: The power to connect domains.

The Fool: The power to celebrate weakness.

The Sage: The power to simplify.

After taking the “Five Faces of Genius Profiler”, I discovered that my two “dominant faces” are: Seer and Sage.  Observer was pretty high on the list as well…  And by the time I finished the book, I couldn’t agree more. 

Here are a few things snippets that really resonated with my “face.” 

SEER (The power to image)

…highly creative people honor their pictures, study them, and use them to create ideas.

Seers pay attention to the images in their mind’s eye…  Allow themselves to visualize in great detail…  Manipulate their images to discover great ideas…

…are often the mission makers – the goal setters of the organization.  By using the images in their mind’s eye, they become the leaders who create the future project, the future department, the future company.

They unearth the inarticulate.

OBSERVER (The power to notice detail)

The Observer’s curiosity is like a radar constantly scanning the environment, looking for small things that lead to big ideas.

Observers pay attention to things that seem insignificant at first, to others and even to themselves, but upon reflection contain tremendous creative reward.

…they like to crowd watch…

You can frequently identify an Observer by his constant reference to the question, “Why?”

Observers often say, “I’m curious about…”  I describe Observers as the children’s book character Curious George.

If Observers get into trouble it’s because everything interests them.

SAGE (The power to simplify)

The skills of the Sage help us focus on how to generate a new idea without getting caught in the trap of searching endlessly for more.

Sages write the last sentence first. (i.e. They know what the outcome should look like…) 

These are the folks who ask, “Why are we doing what we are doing?”

The Sage wants something smooth and elegant, an idea that rolls off the tongue.  If it isn’t simple, it’s suspect.  This means that if an idea seems to complex, they will reject it or try to pare it down to its key elements.

Love how the book not only describes each face, but also points to potential “pitfalls” and gives practical tips on how to avoid them.   

Good read, enjoyed it…  Walking away with some ideas on how to maximize my areas of strength while at the same time keeping an eye out on the potential pitfalls.

Check out

Thanks Daniel!

3 Responses to “The Five Faces of Genius – Review”

  1. anne jackson says:

    I would be 110% observer.
    And that is why I get in trouble. :)
    Cool recommendation; thanks ;)

  2. Joni says:

    Could you clarify? Are you Seer or Observer?

  3. so few read this book and say “i’m the fool”

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