Tag Archives: Polymath

Cliff Notes Genius

Wikipedia is great.

I take everything with a grain of salt, whether it be a wiki page or a well-respected book by a so-called “expert.”

I have learned so much from Wikipedia, that I don’t mind if a couple of the fine details are off. It’s opened up my mind to subject matters that I otherwise never would have touched.

For me, as a polymath / aspiring polymath, it’s all about breadth of knowledge, not depth. My “Cliff Notes knowledge” of a million subjects wins out over a specialist’s extreme details, any day.

Connecting the Dots

This is because my strength is not being super-detailed or specialized, but in being able to make out-of-this world connections between unrelated subjects. This ability allows me to walk into a room of experts and see solutions to problems that they never would have dreamed of. They still get to do the detail work that makes it actually function, but I produce the idea that enables them to get started (or the solution that allows them to get unstuck).


I’ve personally learned psychology, accounting, graphic design, advanced marketing, modern business methods, philosophy, basic pharmacology, and many other things from self-teaching myself online.

I have a double major in marketing and consumer science, as well as a minor in sociology from a legit college. I can honestly say that I’ve learned more about those subjects, too, from self-learning online.

College was a complete waste of time, not to mention that it screwed me over financially, due to student loans. I had to have that “piece of paper” that was supposed to land me jobs: I want to set fire to it.

Your Experience May Vary

Not to brag, but to be fair to readers of this post: I have an IQ of 170, and my personality type is an ENTP (“The Creative Inventor”). This means that not only am I technically a genius (in the 99.9998467663 percentile), but my personality type means I am primarily driven by curiosity. So, not everyone is built to be a generalist. Specialists are needed and serve an important function in society. However, there will continue to be a rise of generalists, due to technological evolution.




I am a student of everything. I learn from the world around me. I study the math of the universe, the art of life, and the working of nature. I ponder the reasons behind existence. I stare up at the night sky and am amazed at the vastness of what is. I learn from everyone I meet and anyone who will teach me. I invent, I create, and I build. I am not confined by my career or job or degree. I am more than that. I will not be one thing: I will be everything. I am a POLYMATH.

Chris Hoeller – What’s Your Story?

To be blunt, I’m a creative genius that took a “unique” path in life. I had a kid in high school and so didn’t go to Harvard as I had planned (not that I really hold any traditional education up with high regard, anyways). I got a job at a local restaurant, simply because I needed a source of income.

I moved up the ladder ridiculously quick. I was recruited to run a start-up restaurant, which I opened with massive success (designing every process, hiring every employee, developing managers, creating the marketing, watching the accounting). I had a falling out with the owner, as he no longer needed someone to design the systems that had already been designed (he replaced me with himself).

I stumbled for a while as I finished a degree, not knowing what I wanted to do with my life. I got a job as a marketing manager, but most of my work was truly of a strategic, behind-the-scenes nature. I innovated entire departments using creative solutions. I was able to use my cross-functional, multi-industry experience to see things from a fresh perspective.

As I looked for work, I became reattached to my roots as a creative problem solver. I was reminded of the work I did as a child and the large-scale of impact I could have.

I became limitless, again, but I didn’t know exactly where to fully use this potential or how to prove what I was capable of. So, I network with people I see potential in, and I post what I’m thinking about. I await for someone with means to see in me what I see in others: their true potential.

It’s not ideal, sitting and waiting, and it’s rather frustrating, so I apply for certain jobs. But, from the bottom of my heart, I believe that my greatest potential will be noticed by someone looking at a wider portrait than merely a resume or CV. It’s how I would recruit for someone like me.


Evolution of Knowledge

How knowledge is becoming breadth over depth




  • Google
  • Wikipedia
  • Internet
  • Access from anywhere
  • Access to anyone

Change in culture

  • Openness
  • Sharing
  • Removal of societal boundaries
  • A better understanding of different cultures and societies

Change in the way the mind operates due to technology + culture.

  • Less depth of knowledge regarding individual topics.
  • More topics understood on a basic level.
  • The individual “nodes” of knowledge are weaker, but there are more “nodes” created.
  • The mind creates webs that connect all of the nodes, in order to make sense of life.
  • The newer generation may only have a cliff-notes understanding of a topic, but they’ve read a lot of cliff-notes.

Being ADHD in Today’s World …and BEYOND!!

The Future of ADHD:

from dealing with a deficit to having an advantage.

What it means to have a deficit

a lack or shortage.

a deficiency.

a disadvantage.

an impairment.

a handicap.

A friend of mine on Google+, Peggy Dulane, is an expert on ADHD. Having quite a bit of ADHD myself, I love hearing her advice and reading her articles about the topic.

Today was different…

She did not share content about ADHD.

She did not write an article about ADHD.

She simply asked a question…


“Does anyone out there have questions or need advice for dealing with ADHD?”

(especially if you are still attending high school or college)


Side Ramble:

Being an adult with ADHD is extremely difficult.

It impacts every aspect of life.

ADHD can and will dramatically affect friendships, relationships, and your job (typically in a negative way).

This question captured my attention

My attention completely sparked (at least for that instant) resulted in intense brainstorming and analysis of ADHD.

I looked at how the situation was before, how it is now, and took into account how society continues to evolve with new technology, culture, and behavior.

Current Methods for Dealing with ADHD

The saviors of tomorrow!

It’s very difficult to change the nature, habits, or behavior of an individual with ADHD, however there are a variety of options available, each with a different amount of success, depending on the individual.

There is medication.



There are scientists actively researching the topic.

Our mind is different.
research ALL the neuroscience!!!


Organizations, specialists, and life coaches.

They help you to improve yourself and to adapt to normal society and be successful.


ADHD Aware
Are you serious?!?
It’s not like we rode the “short bus” to school!

A cure for my ADHD…

Fantastic! Wowzers! A Miracle!



At the same time, why should I change who I am?

To conform and be accepted by today’s expectation of a correct worker?

To appear as an upstanding citizen?

To fit in socially?

To have a massive following of people that worship me?

ADHD in the Future

Society is evolving favorably for ADHD types.

We have technology that simplifies our workflow, and is complimentary to the strengths and weaknesses of individuals with ADHD.

We have more innovative workplace cultures, allowing us to play around on games, listen to music, all while we’re getting the job done.

It’s much easier to have a short attention span in a world where almost anything we want is available immediately. This is creating a new breed of ADHD based types:


Since we have racing thoughts and short attention spans, today’s technology allows us to self-teach about pretty much any topic imaginable.

Sure, my short attention span means I’ll never be the “mega-expert” in any field, but my unbelievable amount of broad knowledge, make me a force to be reckoned with.

We are adaptive.

We like going from one thing to the next quickly.

This makes us the masters of this next era.

ADHD is no longer a deficit, it’s an advantage.

Polymath: Jack of All Trades, Master of Insight

I found a great article talking about the upsides of being a polymath (The article explains what a polymath is) that I wanted to post it as a blog post.

The original article can be found called In Defense of the Polymath

In Defense of the Polymath


Polymath is one of those words more likely to show up on the SAT than in everyday conversation. But the reason we don’t use the word much these days has less to do with vocabulary than it has to do with practicality: there aren’t a lot of polymaths around anymore.

In case you don’t have your pocket dictionary handy, a polymath is a person with a range of knowledge or learning. Think people like Leonardo da Vinci (artist and helicopter designer), Benjamin Franklin (founding father, inventor, and all-around lady-killer), Paul Robeson (scholar, athlete, actor, and civil rights activist), and even Steve Jobs (engineer, businessman extraordinaire, and marketing mastermind).

Still, while we admire the select “geniuses” that can do it all, we tend to disparage the regular folk who attempt to spread their knowledge around a little. If they are so foolish as to dabble instead of devoting themselves to a single calling, those unfortunates sometimes earn the time-dishonored label of “Jack of all trades, master of none.”

But why? What’s so wrong with trying to learn new things? Here’s what Maya Angelou — herself a polymath (poet, journalist, dancer) — has to say about the saying:

“It’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard,” Angelou said to the Smithsonian. “I think you can be a jack-of-all-trades and a mistress-of-all-trades. If you study it, and you put reasonable intelligence and reasonable energy, reasonable electricity to it, you can do that. You may not become Max Roach on the drums. But you can learn the drums.”

What’s more, in the digital age, learning has really never been easier — and not just for the “geniuses” that walk among us. Polymath status is accessible to just about anyone with a modem, a library card, and the wish to learn.

Information is everywhere, and it’s often free. iTunesU gives your everyday-Joe an opportunity to get a free, virtual Ivy-league education from his couch. Khan Academy teaches people everything from beginning algebra to cosmology. Sign into Google’s Code University to learn programming languages in the moments snatched during lunch breaks or while the baby’s napping. My company iFixit teaches people how to repair their electronics — no earlier experience necessary. And, most recently, MIT and Harvard teamed up to launch edX, a “planet-scale, technology-enabled” online education platform that offers college courses for free. And these types of free online learning institutions are more the rule than the exception these days.

So, why aren’t there more of us polymaths?

We live in an age where deep-specialization is highly encouraged — the era of what tech analyst Vinnie Mirchandani calls the “monomath.” Doctors specialize, lawyers specialize, academics specialize, mechanics specialize … just about everyone professionally specializes. The more deeply you specialize, the more money you’re likely to make.

And that’s fine… Except when it’s not.

The problem with deep specialization is that specialists tend to get stuck in their own points of view. They’ve been taught to focus so narrowly that they can’t look at a problem from different angles. And in the modern workplace we desperately need people with the ability to see big picture solutions. That’s where being a polymath has certain advantages.

Was Steve Jobs a better product designer than Apple’s lead designer Jonathan Ive? “No,” says author, entrepreneur, and popular blogger Tim Ferriss. “But [Jobs] has a broad range of skills and sees the unseen interconnectedness. As technology becomes a commodity with the democratization of information, it’s the big-picture generalists who will predict, innovate, and rise to power fastest.”

Polymathism is an idea that I’m pretty committed to (after all, I’ve started two businesses — iFixit and Dozuki — based on the premise of teaching pretty much everything to as many people as possible, whether it’s via work instructions or product manuals). And I look for that same desire to learn new things in the people who I hire. I don’t want coders who are just good at coding, designers who are just good at designing, or technical writers who can only write.

I don’t believe in overly strict specialization. It’s too limiting. So, we push our coders to learn how to write well. We encourage our technicians to learn programming. We even bought a laser cutter to help our designers tinker. We push them out of their particular specializations to keep them learning. It’s a little uncomfortable, and sometimes they get things wrong the first time around. But, together, we usually discover a solution that we wouldn’t have discovered if we were all stuck in our own little knowledge cubicles.

And spreading knowledge little around can be a great path to innovation.

Take the burgeoning field of bio-mimicry, such as bio-mimicry looks to nature for solutions to modern problems — after all, Mother Earth has had 3.8 billion years to work out all the design kinks. Bio-mimetics requires practitioners to be more than engineers, more than biologists, more than ecologists, more than designers, and more than inventors. In true polymathic fashion, they must inhabit the mindframe of all the above. And incredible innovation has come out of the field: a burr stuck in a dog’s fur became the design inspiration for velcro; the brilliantly-hued blue wings of a Morpho butterfly inspired a better television display; fabrics and paint that dramatically cut down drag were inspired by shark skin.

And that’s just the beginning. What insights might physicists bring to international relations? What might plumbers bring to cardiology? Polymathism is largely untapped force in business practice, but it’s also the future of problem-solving.

Those are the perks of being a polymath. May they inherit the earth.