What is Genius? A young girl was struggling in school and her mother finally took her to a doctor to figure out how to make the child sit still. While some doctors might have medicated her and sent them on their way, this particular doctor was different. He turned on the radio and pulled the girl’s mother out into a hallway for a private conversation.
In actuality, he wanted the mother to observe her daughter. As soon as they left, the little girl started dancing around the room to the music of the radio. The doctor looked at the mother and said “There is nothing wrong with your daughter. She is a dancer. I recommend that you put her into a special dance school.”
That little girl grew up to be Gillian Lynn, the renowned soloist for the Royal Ballet in England who later amassed millions choreographing for operas, dance companies, film, and stage productions around the world, most notably being Cats and Phantom of the Opera.
It is said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. To an extent, one could make the same argument for genius.
History is riddled with men and women of genius—odd ducks who were ostracized for not fitting into the traditional mold, but who later turned out to be some of the most brilliant minds in their particular field.
Society is often guilty of limiting “genius” to the STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering, and math). True genius however is unwilling to be imprisoned by such narrow categories.
Our list, “The 50 Greatest Living Geniuses,” includes the spectrum of brilliance that embodies the fullness of human achievement, from artists to musicians, athletes to economists, comedians to politicians, chess masters to spiritual leaders. Webster’s defines genius as “a person who has a level of talent or intelligence that is very rare or remarkable.” In this spirit, we would like to tip our hats to some of the rarest of the rare in our society today.