June 19, 2006
Michael J. Gelb is a writer and trainer, specializing in personal development and corporate training. His best-selling books include: "How to Think like Leonardo Da Vinci" and "Da Vinci Decoded".
P:First of all …wanted to start of asking you …a little bit about your background.If you could tell us something about your education and and how did you select the career that you wanted to pursue and if that’s what you wanted to do.. and if what you are doing today is what you really wanted to do when you started off ?
G:The answer is yes it is.What I wanted to although I was not exactly sure how it would manifest specifically .I had very clear ideas in terms of general principles. I knew that I wanted to do something that would make a positive difference for other people.first beneficial for society and I knew that I wanted to do something that would be beneficial for me,something that would help me learn and grow as a person, and I was pretty naïve about the financial side of it I wasn’t really ambitious in terms of making lots of money I just wanted … I had a criteria that I just wanted to earn enough money to get by …So those wre my criteria and then I looked at different professions and possibilities. I thought of becoming a doctor, but in those days medical schools focused primarily on a disease model.They didn’t have the kind – of mind body medicine programs they have now and I wasn’t really interested in disease .I was interested in health and so also thought of going to a graduate school in clinical psychology but the program all focused on insanity and mental illness.And I was really interested in creativity and human potential. And that was my my other real criteria was that I had to be passionate about what I was doing and it had to be a natural expression of one of my real interests.So I had to make up my own path forward because there was no standard path for what I turned out to to do .
P:Well,what type of educational path did you create then?
G: Well I went ..I did go to college .I got a bachelors degree and under graduate degree from Clark university and I I studied Psychology and Philosophy .But I felt that the psychologists were kind of neurotic they were very bright and some of them were very good teachersand. Overall they didn’t seem to seem to me like the kind of role model that I was looking for, and philosophers were brilliant also but pretty theoretical and they didn’t seem to have much practical knowledge. So I started very early on to study various wisdom traditions of the world .I actually travelled all round the world and I met extraordinary wise people from variety of traditions and looked for universal knowledge.So if you could say that was a self education project but then I I did do a masters degree from Garter college and my masters thesis became my first book. So that’s how I got started as an author and while I was doing the research form my masters thesis I got invited to talk about some of my research by some companies. Some folks from a emerging software company and I wound up doing some consulting and training for them. So my interest led to this profession kind of happening ..
P:Now what would you …how would you…define yourself as an author as a philosopher or how would you classify yourself in your speciality,your talents,your career… ?
G:Well that’s always the problem people have because part of my speciality is that I help people transcend of thinking in terms of specialities.
P:It was a wrong question.
G: No, it’s a great question. Because yeah I did an interview for a newspaper here in New Mexico last week and the woman said look ..I loved the intervie