The Seventh Sense

The Seventh Sense: How Flashes of Insight Change Your Life

Copyright Date: 2015
Pages: 192
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  • Book Info
    The Seventh Sense
    Book Description:

    Flashes of insight--the "Eureka!" moments that produce new and useful ideas in a single thought--are behind some of the world's most creative and practical innovations. This book shows how to cultivate more and better flashes of insight by harnessing the science and practice of the "seventh sense."

    Drawing from psychology, neuroscience, Asian philosophy, and military strategy, William Duggan illustrates the power of the seventh sense to help readers aspire to and achieve more in their personal and professional lives. His examples include Gandhi, Joan of Arc, Starbucks founder Howard Shultz, and executives and students he has taught in his classes. His book presents specific steps in the form of three practical tools to help prepare the mind, see and seize opportunity, and follow through on one's resolution. Based on Duggan's perennially popular Columbia Business School course, this book teaches the mental skills and discipline that power the seventh sense.

    eISBN: 978-0-231-53943-2
    Subjects: Business

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. 1 Introduction: Ideas for Life
    (pp. 1-7)

    It goes by many names:

    A flash of insight.

    The Eureka moment.

    A spark of genius.

    The big “Aha!”

    An epiphany.

    It’s the moment when a new idea forms in your head, and you suddenly see a way to accomplish something meaningful in your life. All the great minds, all the great leaders, all the great achievers have had at least one of these moments.

    And you can too.

    That’s because in recent years, thanks to the modern science of the brain, we know enough now about flashes of insight to take full advantage of this mysterious power of the...

  5. 2 Find Your Dream: An Italian Epiphany
    (pp. 8-21)

    It starts out as an ordinary business trip to a trade show for housewares. Nothing special, except for the location: Milan, Italy. Of course you jump at the chance to go.

    Your name is Howard Schultz, and the year is 1983. You’re thirty years old. It’s your first trip to Italy. You work for a coffee company named Starbucks, in Seattle, Washington. Starbucks has six stores around the city, and they all sell high-quality coffee beans for customers to make coffee back home. A customer comes in and scoops the coffee beans from a bin to fill a brown paper...

  6. 3 Examples from History: Indian Men and English Women
    (pp. 22-32)

    The next four chapters will each consider one of the four elements of the seventh sense. Each element seems simple enough in theory. But as Clausewitz tells us: “Everything in war is very simple, but the simplest thing is difficult.” Knowing about these elements is one thing. Mastering them is something else.

    The first, examples from history, seems especially simple at first. An example from history is what someone did to achieve something in the past. Take the coffee bars in Milan, for instance. Schultz recognized these as examples of successful businesses built around coffee. Instead of just selling beans,...

  7. 4 Presence of Mind: Your City of Light
    (pp. 33-46)

    In our Schultz example especially, we can see that presence of mind comes into play at all three stages of the seventh sense. First, before the flash of insight: it opened Schultz’s mind to examples from history of all kinds, not just those that fit his current goal. Second, during the flash of insight: presence of mind allowed him to set a new goal from a new combination of examples from history. Third, after the flash of insight: he continued to take in new examples from history and adjusted his idea along the way.

    In all three steps, presence of...

  8. 5 Flash of Insight: Magical Science
    (pp. 47-58)

    The third element of the seventh sense—the flash of insight—has always been the most mysterious.

    It’s the moment when the first two elements—examples from history and presence of mind—come together in a creative spark. Then comes the fourth element, resolution. In later chapters I provide some techniques to help you improve the other three elements—but science still knows the least about the flash of insight itself.

    Yet some scientists are getting closer. In recent years, new technology has made it possible to look inside the human brain while you are awake and thinking. MRI, CAT,...

  9. 6 Resolution: The Art of Passion
    (pp. 59-71)

    The fourth step of the seventh sense is resolution. This is the crucial stage in which you set out to make your idea a reality. A flash of insight happens in an instant, but acting on it and implementing it can take days, months, or even years. The stronger your flash of insight, the stronger your resolution to see it through. You will have not just an idea but also a passion to make the idea come true.

    Understanding this will help you as you begin to take action on your idea. That’s because, more often than not, you need...

  10. 7 Free Your Mind: From Stress to Strategy
    (pp. 72-93)

    Now that you know how the seventh sense works, we can turn to how to improve it in yourself. We start with the step that most people find the hardest to master—presence of mind. There are three main obstacles to presence of mind, and here we will see how to overcome each one.

    The first obstacle is the simplest: too much focus. We can see this from our examples so far. Had Schultz been too focused on the trade show, he would not have let the Milan coffee bar into his thoughts. Had Gandhi been too focused on lobbying...

  11. 8 Personal Strategy Map: In Search of Passion
    (pp. 94-111)

    What should you do with your life?

    Most college graduation speakers offer the same advice: follow your passion.

    This is harder than it sounds. Most of us have many conflicting passions. If you’re one of those college graduates in the audience, your passions might include a job with high pay, a congenial work environment, music, international travel, taking care of your aging parents, a Nobel Prize in chemistry, marriage and children—and making kites. The problem is that many of these passions conflict. Take making kites: perhaps you live in Canada, and the only job in that field is in...

  12. 9 Idea Networking: In Search of Opportunity
    (pp. 112-125)

    Free your mind and the Personal Strategy Map both help you prepare for opportunity. But if opportunity takes too long to arrive, then you need to go out and find it—and that leads to our next personal strategy tool: Idea Networking.

    You probably know about networking or have already done it yourself. Networking has become a standard technique to search for opportunity, especially a new job. First let’s look at the traditional method of networking, and then we will see how Idea Networking takes better advantage of your seventh sense.

    We find a good illustration of traditional networking in...

  13. 10 Conclusion: Your Seventh Sense
    (pp. 126-130)

    In 1903, thomas edison hired a young chemist, Martin Rosanoff, to work on improving the wax that Edison used for his phonograph cylinders. Years later, Rosanoff wrote about his many conversations with the great inventor, including the time he asked Edison why he was so successful. Edison replied:

    Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.

    Edison meant that you need two things to succeed: a tremendous amount of hard work—perspiration—and a good idea. Inspiration gives you that good idea.

    I agree with Edison completely. This book tells you how inspiration works and how you can help make it...

  14. Appendix A: Seventh Sense Toolkit
    (pp. 131-142)
  15. Appendix B: Personal Strategy Maps
    (pp. 143-162)
  16. Bibliography
    (pp. 163-168)
  17. Index
    (pp. 169-180)