How to Become a Genius

Mark Schaefer
7 min readSep 4, 2023

One of the highlights of my career was meeting Walter Isaacson. Walter has had a remarkable career as an academic, civic leader, and publisher, but he’s best known for authoring bestselling books on geniuses like Albert Einstein, Benjamin Franklin, Steve Jobs, and Leonardo DaVinci. There’s no better person who would know what it takes to become a genius.

So … I asked him.

His answer was surprisingly simple.

How to become a genius

Walter explained to me that there are two common characteristics to the geniuses he studied for decades:

  1. They have an insatiable curiosity
  2. They see patterns and “connect the dots” in a new way

See, I told you it was simple! The Isaacson Genius Formula. But can anybody learn to become a genius? I love questions like that, so today, I’ll connect my own dots and help you think through that puzzle.

Let’s start with step one: Curiosity …

Can you learn to be curious?

“The important thing is not to stop questioning … Never lose a holy curiosity.” Albert Einstein

Curiosity is more than an element of genius. I regard it as one of the best marketing skills you can have! Curiosity leads to competitive…



Mark Schaefer

Keynote speaker, marketing strategy consultant, Rutgers U faculty and author of 10 books including KNOWN, Marketing Rebellion, and Belonging to the Brand!