“Leonardo da Vinci was one of my childhood heroes, along with Superman,” writes Michael J. Gelb. “I remember the powerful moment when I discovered that Superman was only a comic book character, but Leonardo was real. As I learned more about Leonardo, it became apparent that he has become an archetype of the highest expression of human potential. Driven by my passion to realize my own potential — first by studying psychology and philosophy, then studying the world’s spiritual traditions with J.G. Bennett and becoming a teacher of the Alexander Technique — I was inspired to ask a simple but powerful question: What can we learn from Leonardo to enrich our lives?
“This question led me on a quest. I visited the place of Leonardo’s birth and the place where he died. I walked in his footsteps and aimed to see the world from his point of view. I pored through his notebooks and all the scholarly works I could find about his life and work. I interviewed leading Da Vinci scholars and experts on the Renaissance. I began dreaming about Leonardo, and from those dreams, seven principles emerged. The seven principles are supported by practical activities, exercises, and methods that I have drawn from the Da Vinci notebooks, in which he gives very useful advice on how we can be more creative, fulfilled, and happy.
“My intention in writing How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci was to make his wisdom and example more accessible to contemporary students. I sense that Leonardo would be very pleased that we are exploring the application of his wisdom in the beautiful setting that is Esalen.”