Identifying genius is a dicey venture. Consider, for example, this ranking of “The Top 10 Geniuses” I once stumbled across on Listverse.com. From first to last place, here are the honorees: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Leonardo da Vinci, Emanuel Swedenborg, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, John Stuart Mill, Blaise Pascal, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Bobby Fischer, Galileo Galilei and Madame de Staël. What about Albert Einstein instead of Swedenborg? Some of the more recently deceased might also deserve this appellation—Stephen Hawking comes to mind. Another female genius or two might make the cut, perhaps Marie Curie or Toni Morrison. And if a chess champion, Fischer, is deemed worthy, other geniuses outside the arts and sciences ought to deserve consideration—Napoleon Bonaparte as a military genius, Nelson Mandela as a political genius or Bill Gates as an entrepreneurial genius, to name a few candidates. All these questions and their potential answers can make for some lively cocktail party conversations. What they reveal is how little we understand about the origins of intellectual and creative eminence. Explorations of this age-old debate have long sought to tease out the common features of geniuses working in disparate domains. The existence of unifying threads—including genetic factors, unusually broad interests and a link with psychopathy—suggests that the mind of a genius has a discernible shape and disposition.