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Profiles of Black Success: Thirteen Creative Geniuses Who Changed the World [Hardcover]

Gene N. Landrum
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Feb. 1 1997
Gene Landrum has expandied his popular "profiles" series to feature 13 special individuals whose extraordinary achievements result from an insatiable internal drive and a demand for excellence despite few inherited advantages. What are the characteristics which brought them creative and entrepreneurial success? Are these characteristics of genius inherited or acquired? Profiles of Black Success focuses on five important factors historical mentors, (e.g., Frederick Douglass or Martin Luther King, Jr.), nature vs. nurture, crisis and creativity, success imprints, and personality making his work contrary to the Bell Curve Theory.

Landrum's examples of the highly talented concentrate on distinctive outlets to realize creative potential: Business Power Berry Gordy, John Johnson, Reginald Lewis; Entertainment Bill Cosby, Michael Jackson, Oprah Winfrey; Humanities Maya Angelou, Paul Robeson; Politics Shirley Chisholm, Nelson Mandela, Thurgood Marshall, Colin Powell; and Sports Michael Jordan.

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From Library Journal

Like Landrum's previous, successfully done studied on genius (Profiles of Genius, Prometheus, 1993, and Profiles of Female Genius, LJ 6/1/94), this book features 13 black "creative geniuses who changed the world." These extraordinary individuals (Maya Angelou, Bill Cosby, Michael Jordan, Colin Powell, Oprah Winfrey, et al.) all possess Landrum's criteria for inclusion in his collection?they must be self-made, dominant for ten years, contemporary (since 1950), and have an international influence. The Myers-Briggs Indicator Test and Kiersey's Temperament Preferences are then applied to each individual, with fascinating results; well-organized tables assist in elucidating the five factors to which Landrum attributes creative and entrepreneurial success: historical mentors, nature vs. nurture, crisis and creativity, success imprints, and personality. This study effectively integrates social science principles with pop psychology. For public libraries.?Kay Meredith Dusheck, Animosa, Iowa
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

"What does it take to achieve superstardom?" is a question posed not only by many doting relatives and kids themselves but also by inventor and author Landrum, who, since 1993, has investigated the success secrets of the world's most powerful people. This time, he turns to the black community, selecting 13 household names who survived a rather rigorous selection test but, most important, were "normal people with abnormal lives." In a curious mix of academic and popular journalistic styles, he examines with extraordinary care such critical influencing factors as historical mentors (beyond Frederick Walker and Martin Luther King); the nature versus nurture controversy, managing to discredit The Bell Curve's hypothesis that genetics rules; crises; personality traits, from charisma to vision; and the racial differences of overachievers. Although his choice of subjects may be debated and the omissions glaring (e.g., no Muhammed Ali), Landrum presents enduring portraits and role models for people of all colors. Barbara Jacobs

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Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars A LOOK AT SUPER-ACHIEVERS May 19 2001
Format:Hardcover
Are there differences in achievement when it comes to race? This is the predominant question which the author attempts to answer through his study of thirteen African-American super achievers. From the start of his work the author makes very clear that greatness is greatness and is not predetermined by genetic influences and the inane concept of race.
I found this book to be very inspiring in pointing out the various personality traits that enables one to become successful. The author's use of various personality type theories (Myers-Briggs, Farley's Personality Types,etc) to explain what makes these individuals "tick" was very helpful. His survey of each individuals' imprint for success and summary for them gives an excellent snap shot on what success entailed for these individuals.
Although the work is intriguing many questions abound. For example of the thirteen profiled (Oprah Winfrey, Bill Cosby, Berry Gordy, etc.) the vast majority are in the field of entertainment/sports.Why? Is it because the society only opened opportunities for Blacks in those areas? His dominant traits for these subjects success are not anything new. Many other Blacks have possessed them but never made it to "the top". Why? Our author fails to point out what is it in Black culture that nurtured these people to success inspite of the obstacles.
Profiles of Black Success is a good starting point in studying how African Americans survive against the odds. I would hope that other African-American writers specialized in behavior theory could present us with a more incompassing and complete work on how Black culture plays its part in success. Until then this book will do.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Hmmm.......Interesting analysis of achievers. June 30 1998
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Despite a few errors on the personalities( e.g. Michael Jordan did not play for the NCSU Wolfpack), the book provides a somewhat interesting analysis into the traits and experiences which made the following subjects achievers in their own right. Even though the author is prone to bouts of exaggeration in describing the qualities which made these people successful in their fields, I would still recommend the book to youngsters, who in this day and age, need to understand what are the foundations for attaining whatever they wish to achieve.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hmmm.......Interesting analysis of achievers. June 30 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Despite a few errors on the personalities( e.g. Michael Jordan did not play for the NCSU Wolfpack), the book provides a somewhat interesting analysis into the traits and experiences which made the following subjects achievers in their own right. Even though the author is prone to bouts of exaggeration in describing the qualities which made these people successful in their fields, I would still recommend the book to youngsters, who in this day and age, need to understand what are the foundations for attaining whatever they wish to achieve.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thirteen Vivid Profiles of Creative Genius Aug. 13 2004
By Robert Morris - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is another in a series of "Profiles of...." volumes in each of which Landrum focuses on exceptional men and women who have achieved great success after having overcome all manner of barriers, obstacles, and adversities. In this book, he provides a rigorous and eloquent discussion of "thirteen creative geniuses who changed the world." Twelve of the thirteen could serve as positive role models for all youth regardless of their "color." During the seven years since this book was first published, Michael Jackson's personal behavior in recent years has (in my opinion) disqualified himself from their distinguished company but no one can deny his "creative genius" nor the nature and extent of his success as an entertainer. Regrettably, he seems to have "killed" his career. Others may challenge the inclusion of Paul Robeson but I do not. They are urged to read Chapter 17 in which Landrum brilliantly discusses Robeson's life and career. He was a Phi Beta Kappa scholar and All American football player at Rutgers University (later inducted into the NCAA Football Hall of Fame), attorney, internationally renowned actor and singer, and a social (not political) activist whose initiatives and eloquence helped to achieve human rights for Afro-Americans, notably the Supreme Court decision in 1954 which declared school segregation unconstitutional. He overcame so many adversities himself while leveraging his celebrity to make it so much easier for others to overcome theirs.

The most famous subjects in this book are Bill Cosby, Jackson, Michael Jordan, Colin Powell, and Oprah Winfrey but I was most interested in what Landrum reveals about John Johnson, Reginald Lewis, and Thurgood Marshall who continue to be neglected and underappreciated in terms of their importance, not only to the United States but to other countries throughout the world and for reasons which Landrum notes in the separate chapters devoted to them.

A sufficient number of copies of this book should be readily available in every school and public library. Of greater importance, Profiles of Black Success should be a primary source in every U.S. history course.

Those who share my high regard for this book are urged to check out Landrum's Profiles of Genius, Profiles of Power & Success, Profiles of Female Genius, and Entrepreneurial Genius as well as Howard Gardner's Leading Minds: An Anatomy Of Leadership and Creating Minds: An Anatomy of Creativity Seen Through the Lives of Freud, Einstein, Picasso, Stravinsky, Eliot, Graham, and Gandhi.
3.0 out of 5 stars A LOOK AT SUPER-ACHIEVERS May 19 2001
By Bonita L. Davis - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Are there differences in achievement when it comes to race? This is the predominant question which the author attempts to answer through his study of thirteen African-American super achievers. From the start of his work the author makes very clear that greatness is greatness and is not predetermined by genetic influences and the inane concept of race.
I found this book to be very inspiring in pointing out the various personality traits that enables one to become successful. The author's use of various personality type theories (Myers-Briggs, Farley's Personality Types,etc) to explain what makes these individuals "tick" was very helpful. His survey of each individuals' imprint for success and summary for them gives an excellent snap shot on what success entailed for these individuals.
Although the work is intriguing many questions abound. For example of the thirteen profiled (Oprah Winfrey, Bill Cosby, Berry Gordy, etc.) the vast majority are in the field of entertainment/sports.Why? Is it because the society only opened opportunities for Blacks in those areas? His dominant traits for these subjects success are not anything new. Many other Blacks have possessed them but never made it to "the top". Why? Our author fails to point out what is it in Black culture that nurtured these people to success inspite of the obstacles.
Profiles of Black Success is a good starting point in studying how African Americans survive against the odds. I would hope that other African-American writers specialized in behavior theory could present us with a more incompassing and complete work on how Black culture plays its part in success. Until then this book will do.
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