Einstein's Boss

10 Rules for Leading Genius

 Einstein's Boss

Author: Robert Hromas
Pub Date: May 2018
Print Edition: $25.00
Print ISBN: 9780814439326
Page Count: 240
Format: Hardback
e-Book ISBN: 9780814439333

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Albert Einstein was the most influential physicist of the twentieth century. Yet even visionaries rarely go it alone. Most depend on others to create a supportive environment and help channel their genius into new innovations and technical breakthroughs.

Abraham Flexner filled that role for Einstein, as Director of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, a global research powerhouse he built from the ground up. Einstein, then a refugee from Nazi Germany, was one of Flexner’s first recruits—and he made the institute his academic home for more than two decades.

How did Flexner, a former high-school teacher, create this world-class institution, home to dozens of Nobel Laureates, Field Medalists, and MacArthur Fellows? What tactics did Flexner use to forge Einstein and other brilliant, quirky individualists into highly productive, cohesive teams?

Einstein’s Boss tells the fascinating story of Flexner’s behind-the-scenes role guiding key scientific developments. Along the way, the book uncovers 10 leadership lessons for anyone governing a group of Einstein-like geniuses—a critical task for gaining advantages in computing, engineering, biotechnology, and other fast-paced fields.

Weaving historical accounts with examples from the author’s own experience leading top physicians, researchers, and technical and business professionals, the memorable lessons include:

Mirrors don’t lie: The person you see in the mirror is not a genius. The first Rule of leading genius is to recognize that you are not a genius, and the genius working for you knows it.

Shut up and listen: The more you talk, the less you lead. Effective listening enhances communication and boosts productivity.

Turn over the rocks: Highly intelligent people will figure out if you’re hiding something. Be completely transparent and actively gather feedback before finalizing decisions.

Practice alchemy: Mix personalities together into nonlinear teams. The random collisions can generate enormous creativity.

Let the problem seduce the genius: Try to push geniuses, and they’ll push back even harder. Great leaders know how to frame challenges in ways that capture the imagination and draw the genius towards the goal.

Ignore squirrels: Brilliant minds are often darting off in new directions. Guide the team toward the core mission, but recognize when a distraction is worth pursuing.

Smart people are essential for finding novel solutions and pushing knowledge forward. But they’re rarely smart about collaborating, taking directions, and working toward common goals. Einstein’s Boss explains the 10 unbreakable rules for bringing geniuses together and leading them to greatness.

Robert Hromas, M.D., is a seasoned administrator, mentor, scientist, and clinician. He is Dean of the Lozano Long School of Medicine at the University of Texas Health Center in San Antonio. He leads a medical school of 1,300 faculty physicians and scientists, and 800 physicians in training, as well as personally supervising a laboratory that designs new cancer drugs.

Christopher Hromas, Ph.D., taught ethics at Fordham University in New York City, and now is Project Manager at University of Florida Health.

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