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The Roots of Genius: Fleetwood Mac

January 9, 2009

I received an email from a friend with this video link.

If you are working towards your vision/dream then I would strongly recommend you watch it. In the video Malcolm Gladwell speaks about the career of Fleetwood Mac.

Gladwell offers insights into the roots of creativity and genius. It’s eye opening to say the least. Here are a few of his insights:

The story of Fleetwood Mac is a reminder of the length of the gestation period that creativity often requires. Fleetwood Mac had 10 years of experimenting and 16 album failures before they found their own sound.

As a band they evolved. They start as a blues band, then they become a rock’n’roll act, then they experiment with reggae, then they are a progressive band, then their most popular Fleetwood Mac sound final arrives in the 70’s. They evolve for 10 years before they hit.

Gladwell also speaks about something that I had not really understood until now. The differences between conceptual and experimental innovators.

Conceptual innovators:  These people get an idea and go on to express it immediately.

Experimental innovators: These people don’t start with a revolutionary idea, but through trial and error they discover their own genius. This is a very important and common approach, and Gladwell thinks that experimental innovators are much more suited for complex problems that require more then just a single genius thought.

Some of my friends think that Gladwell is a depressing bastard. 10,000 hours is a hell of a long time for most folks, especially in our instant gratification world. But I think he’s actually a beacon of positivity and hope, because he is proving that mistakes are not only okay, but necessary if you want to get at something really good.

Successful people are the ones who get knocked down 7 times and get up 8 times, they preserver, and that, is the true root of genius.

Take Control of Your Music,


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2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 10, 2009 2:54 am

    Ah, how Gladwell and the NRP speak the truth. ‘No such thing as failure, only early attempts at success’ is one of those lame cliche sayings that rings very true. Another one I like is that ‘there is no such thing as failure, only feedback.’ I think the sign of a true genius is not only to power onward after failure (a necessary element, though not sufficient) but one who learns from it – if only that it is not the end of their world!


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