What’s the Da Vinci Curse all about? – Business Book Summary 1

First and foremost, a special thanks to Lisa for inspiring the series of business books summaries. All 10 of these books are taken off the beaten track and impart some pretty cool concepts. Hope that you enjoy them.

The first summary/review is on “The Da Vinci Curse” takes a focus on Da Vinci people or multi-talented people. Da Vinci as you probably know was an painter, sculptor, inventor, etc. And let me tell you that his list of interests go on.

Multi-talented people don’t fit into a world focused on specialization. And at times it’s also that we feel that we want and are good at doing various skills. Multi-talented people feel a strong drive to realize all their talents, but fear that they don’t have enough time. Furthermore, they are typically highly curious, but struggle to commit to the practice that mastery requires. They get fascinated by a new field and dive into it with a passion. But once they’ve mastered the basics, the initial appeal fades away.

But the list of specialists in today’s society is long due to the knowledge has been rapidly growing since Da Vinci’s era in the sixteenth century. And as knowledge accumulates, expertise becomes more and more important.

So you have a tough decision to make – if you want to master a highly complex skill, you can only dedicate yourself to one thing to lift the Da Vinci curse. Da Vinci people need to find an activity that involves many of their talents. Da Vinci people have complex personalities that can only be satisfied by a complex task. And that task has to bring together a variety of their gifts, or they will soon feel the itch to concentrate on the one that feels left out.

The author proposes a three-step approach that starts with preselection. In the preselection stage we write out a creative inventory of every activity we would like to do.

Imagine for a moment that you have infinite time and money. How would you decide to spend your life? Write down all the activities that come to mind, including jobs, hobbies and even one-time experiences – for example, getting a degree in psychology, scuba-diving in Thailand, learning the piano, etc. And make sure to include your wildest dreams, like becoming a pop star or walking on the moon.

Once you’ve got a list of all of your wishes and dreams, you can start the preselection. To pass through this stage, the dream has to fulfill three criteria: is it fun, do we have a talent for it, and can we earn money with it?

Read through your creative inventory and circle the activities that fulfill all three criteria, and don’t be tempted to hold on to those that don’t. The ones you can’t earn money with are only hobbies, while the ones that’ll make you rich, but aren’t fun, won’t make you happy. And if you don’t have a talent for it, why bother?

Now that we have a basic assessment of our creative inventory, it’s time to move to the next step: a more pragmatic and systematic evaluation of our activities. Our previous list pinpointed our intersection of talent, money and fun. We now need to refine our list by asking two crucial questions: First, how much income potential does each activity involve? Second, how fulfilling will each activity be?

To answer these questions systematically, the author recommends the BCG matrix.

The BCG matrix, developed by the famous Boston Consulting Group, helps companies evaluate which products are worth investing in by dividing them into Cows, Dogs, Stars and Question Marks. We can use it to figure out which activities can be our calling.

Cows are activities that will make us rich – think of a cash cow – but are not at all fulfilling. They can be put aside, just like the Dogs, which are the activities that provide neither profit nor fulfillment. But we should keep an eye out for the Stars: the dream jobs that will bring both wealth and meaning to our lives. Then there are the Question Marks. These are the activities we love to do, but which are unlikely to generate money. But we shouldn’t throw them out straight away. We should continue to do them for our own fulfillment, while looking for ways of making them profitable. If we’re lucky, they might become our future Stars.

The first two steps allowed us to determine and evaluate the activities we like. Now, step three ensures that our newly minted plan won’t fail. Let’s see what we need to know about the common traps and obstacles of following a new calling.

First of all, we need some fear – but not too much. If your brand new plan doesn’t make you at all afraid, it’s probably not ambitious enough. And if it’s not ambitious enough, it won’t make you happy. But if you feel too much fear, then you’ve gone too far the other way. You’ll need to revise the plan until you feel just the right amount: the sweet spot of fear between perceptible and intense.

Second, we have to avoid procrastination by all means possible. If we procrastinate, we’ll never get our dream plan off the ground, and while occasional lazy days are OK, we can’t allow them to become a habit.

Third, we need to surmount creative blocks. We’ve all had the experience of working on a creative project and suddenly finding our inspiration has dried up. But contrary to common belief, these blocks aren’t caused by laziness. In fact, they happen because we’ve forgotten why we are creating what we are creating. And to free up the blockage, we need to get back in touch with the deepest reasons that drove us to create in the first place.

Finally, we need to carefully manage our narcissism. We do need a tiny amount of narcissism to maintain a healthy self-esteem, but if we allow it to get out of hand, we will cycle between states resembling mania and depression. We spin into manic mode when we think too highly of ourselves and our capabilities, and our mind gets obsessed with all the incredible things we’re going to create. obsse

Sounds like a process that involves a lot of self assessment and then balance in terms of what you want, what you are good at and what makes you the moolah. Great book I felt personally because I fall into the pot of Da Vinci people. Time to focus.

Check out the book over here: https://www.amazon.com/Vinci-CURSE-design-interests-talents/dp/1523244879

And my post that started this series of summaries going:

Do you Blinkist?

Interesting reads




6 thoughts on “What’s the Da Vinci Curse all about? – Business Book Summary 1

  1. That’s me… off in too many directions all my life. However, several years ago I went through the archaeology program at UCLA and discovered that covered all the bases… art, photography, travel, tour guiding, research, history, languages, mysteries, puzzles, architecture, writing, geography, science, etc etc etc. In my next life I’m going for it. In the meantime I’m forcing myself to focus on photography and writing. We’ll see how that goes! But nice to know I’m in such good company as yourself and Da Vinci!


    1. Give yourself a pat on the back because you are multi talented. Now the trick is to have a bit more focus which from the sounds of it you already do! I promise that it’s goig to be a really fulfilling journey.


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