Think Fast: The Quick Mind of “Ricochet Rick”

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RICHARD “RICOCHET RICK” MAGILLICUTTY was definitely a thinker. The problem was, one moment he might be thinking about String Theory, and the next about String Cheese. Whatever was on his mind at the moment was exactly that, on his mind for just that moment. Conversation was impossible, as no sooner did he speak then his focus was gone, on to the next tangentially related topic. Magillicutty’s…
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The Genius Who Finally Came Out of His Shell

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UNLIKE THE HUMAN METAPHORS profiled thus far in our Pioneers of Creativity series, Mönkhbat “Mollusk Top” Jalair’s unique appearance was neither an auspicious birthmark nor the result of some transcendent and bizarre life experience. He just plain got his head stuck in a seashell. We can’t even pretend the incident in itself reveals a playful curiosity or…
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Can You Be Too Reliable?

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THE NEXT TIME SOMEONE CALLS YOU mechanical, rigid, and predictable, tell them the story of Mackey “The Machine” MacDonald, considered by some to be among the most prolific creative forces of the nineteenth century. Though we now know him for his super-human productivity, his picture was once used in Webster’s Dictionary to illustrate those very words:…
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Sal Elefante: A Sort-Of Unhappy Wanderer

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SALVATORE “SAINT ELSEWHERE” ELEFANTE may very well be known more widely for his turn-of-the-century invention, spaghetti scissors. Ironically, neither that revolutionary device–nor the Nobel Peace Prize it subsequently won him–have anything to do with his place among the Pioneers of Creativity. Unlike most immigrants to the US late in the nineteenth century, Salvatore didn’t come by choice. Instead, his chronic, on-the-job daydreaming had resulted in…
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Creativity: How The Real Deal Shines Its Light

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FOR “DIAMOND JIM” DIBLEY, everything came easily, at least in the beginning. Back then, in the early days of his career, it was rare to come away from encountering him and not be blinded by his brilliance. In fact those hoping to meet him face to face were often warned to bring along a pair of sunglasses. Better yet was to make…
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Some Men Look At Things That Are and Say, “What. I don’t see it.”

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WOODY “WHERE’S THE TREES” TERKEL was a man whose powers of observation were in his day considered extraordinary. Extraordinary, that is, in the sense that they appeared to be completely inoperative. Critics, using a common expression of that bygone era, unfairly referred to him as “clueless,” while rivals complained that his broad generalities had no insights, his big-picture assessments no focus, and worst of all, his reception area…
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A Guy You Could Always Count On (And I Mean That Literally)

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BERNARD “BY THE NUMBERS” O’NEIL didn’t just have a head for numbers, he had a head OF numbers. No, I mean really the guy’s noggin was actually made out of numbers–little sevens and threes and fifty-twos all over, sticking out of his nose and stuff. And while the marketing industry lauds him today as a Pioneer of Creativity, there was…
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