Da Vinci Decoded: Discovering the Spiritual Secrets of Leonardo's Seven Principles [NOOK Book]


Author Michael Gelb ignited the current fascination with all things Da Vinci with his runaway bestseller, How to Think like Leonardo da Vinci: Seven Steps to Genius Every Day. Just as that book showed readers how to use the seven Da Vincian principles to develop their creative potential, his new book, Da Vinci Decoded, will help you use the same principles to cultivate your spiritual potential.

Wonder. Appreciation. Awareness. Wholeness…In ...
See more details below
Da Vinci Decoded: Discovering the Spiritual Secrets of Leonardo's Seven Principles

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK Study
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
BN.com price


Author Michael Gelb ignited the current fascination with all things Da Vinci with his runaway bestseller, How to Think like Leonardo da Vinci: Seven Steps to Genius Every Day. Just as that book showed readers how to use the seven Da Vincian principles to develop their creative potential, his new book, Da Vinci Decoded, will help you use the same principles to cultivate your spiritual potential.

Wonder. Appreciation. Awareness. Wholeness…In the Western world of the fifteenth century, these personal qualities were all boldly embodied in one extraordinary man. From art to botany, anatomy to mechanics, Da Vinci was a profoundly original thinker fully in tune with the world of man and nature, and with the divine spirit that bridges the two. In this bold new guide to awakening the soul, Michael Gelb draws on Leonardo’s writings, inventions, and works of art to show how you, too, can practice the seven essential principles by which Leonardo lived and worked:
Filled with practical exercises that will help you put each of the seven principles into use, a series of reflective questions designed for self-assessment, and inspirational sayings drawn from the world’s great wisdom traditions, Da Vinci Decoded offers a wide range of tools to use in your spiritual quest. Now you can let Leonardo and this book be your personal guides to creating your own personal spiritual renaissance today.

From the Hardcover edition.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Ultimately, this book isn't about Leonardo Da Vinci; it's about you. Creativity expert Michael J. Gelb has mined the life of the great Italian polymath for clues about the underlying principles that made him great. In this stand-alone sequel to How to Think like Leonardo da Vinci, he elucidates the seven principles that enabled Leonardo to cultivate his spiritual as well as his creative potential. Gelb's exposition is succinct, yet profoundly evocative. Each principle is discussed in a chapter that opens with a visual image created by Da Vinci. One-night read; lessons for a lifetime.
Library Journal
Gelb comes to this book, titled with a tip of the hat to Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code, with a remarkably varied c.v.: fourth-degree black belt, chess master, professional juggler, and author of How To Think Like Leonardo Da Vinci. Yet Leonardo himself is surprisingly little in evidence here-we are more likely to hear from the Dalai Lama or Confucius. True, Gelb draws certain essences from Leonardo's example, but they expose another Leonardo: a feminist and New Age spiritual master remade for our age. Still, in the wake of Brown's book, Gelb's is likely to attract readers, and seasoned with Leonardo's own widely available writings, this book may serve a purpose. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 6/1/04.] Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780440335207
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/28/2004
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 899,668
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Michael J. Gelb is a world-renowned innovator in the fields of creative thinking, accelerated learning, and leadership development. His clients include Dupont, Merck, Microsoft, and Nike. He is the author of How to Think like Leonardo da Vinci: Seven Steps to Genius Every Day and its companion volume, The “How to Think like Leonardo da Vinci” Workbook. He lives in Edgewater, New Jersey.

From the Hardcover edition.

Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

Chapter Four

How to Find the Grail

It Is Within You

“What the undeveloped man seeks is outside, what the advanced man seeks is within himself.”
–Confucius, Analects

“The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: neither shall they say, lo here! Or, lo there! For, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.”
–Christianity, Luke 17:20—21

“He is seated in the hearts of all.”
–Hinduism, Bhagavad Gita

“On God’s own nature has been molded man’s.”
–Islam, Hadith

“God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him.”
–Judaism, Genesis 1:27

“His light is in every heart.”
–Sikhism, Guru Nanak

In Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code the protagonists, Harvard symbologist Robert
Langdon and French cryptologist Sophie Neveu, find themselves caught up in a whirlwind of intrigue and danger as they seek to track down the Holy Grail and prevent it from falling into the wrong hands. While evading Paris’s top police detective and a fanatical, murderous albino sent by Opus Dei, they follow clues written in blood and invisible ink provided by Sophie’s murdered grandfather, who served dual roles as curator at the Louvre and grand master of the Priory of Sion.
After decoding an anagram that guides them to clues hidden behind the Mona Lisa, they are eventually led to a vault in a private bank, where they find the special cipher box–supposedly designed by none other than Leonardo da Vinci–that holds the secret of the Grail. But as Joseph Campbell writes in The Power of Myth, “The Grail . . . is that which is attained and realized by people who have lived their own lives. The Grail represents the fulfillment of the highest spiritual potentialities of the human consciousness.”

Leonardo may actually have designed a cryptex, or cipher box, like the one described in The Da Vinci Code, although there is no concrete evidence to support this idea. But in any case, as Leonardo knew very well, to find the secrets of the Grail you must look outside the box and inside yourself. This is the meaning of Paulo Coelho’s enchanting fable The Alchemist, in which a young shepherd sets out on a perilous pilgrimage through Egypt to seek a magnificent treasure, only to discover that it was hidden in his own backyard. Coelho’s fable echoes the classic Buddhist story of a young prince who sets out on a journey to find a precious jewel beyond any price, only to realize that it was sewn into the lining of his coat from the beginning.

In other words, the treasure, the jewel, the Grail, are all within. This is universal wisdom, echoed in every tradition.

In the following pages, we’ll explore how you can use Leonardo’s inspiration and example to “reach out to heaven,” to awaken and nurture your spiritual growth. We’ll seek to open ourselves to the same Source that Leonardo drew upon to liberate his remarkable gifts. And we’ll be guided in the search for the Grail within each of us by Leonardo’s seven principles.

The seven principles that I first described in How to Think like Leonardo da Vinci emerged from an intensive study of the Maestro’s life and work. In addition to studying his words, I consulted with and read the writings of many distinguished scholars. I attempted to walk in his footsteps and see the world through his eyes. I went to his birthplace in Anchiano and to the place he died in Amboise, and I contemplated his original works in galleries around the world. I started dreaming about him, and from those dreams, and careful thought based on the research, the seven principles emerged with great clarity.

Seven is a powerful, special number. In addition to being the limit (plus or minus two) of short-term memory, as defined in a famous study done at Harvard, it is also the number of:

Days of the week
Notes in the Western musical scale
Innings to wait before stretching in baseball
Days for God (including His day of rest) to create the world
Pillars of wisdom in Proverbs
Branches of the Tree of Life in the Kabbalah
Years the Buddha sought enlightenment
Times the Buddha circled the bodhi tree
Steps in spiritual evolution according to Sufism
Chakras, or wheels of energy, from the Hindu tradition
Sacraments in Catholicism
Trumpets sounding on Judgment Day
Stars Christ held in his hand in the Book of Revelation

In the quest to understand Leonardo’s approach, after discovering seven principles I tried to find an eighth principle, and also attempted to consolidate down to six. But it couldn’t be done. There are seven principles, irreducible and complete. I describe them below, summarizing how Leonardo embodied each one in his life and offering their “translation” into spiritual terms.

1. Seek the truth (curiosità). An insatiably curious approach to life and an unrelenting quest for continuous learning. Curiosità is the wellspring of lifelong learning and creativity, so it is fitting that Leonardo may have been the most curious person who ever lived. Curiosità is also the expression of our yearning for connection with the Divine.

2. Take responsibility (dimostrazione). A commitment to test knowledge through experience, persistence, and a willingness to learn from mistakes. By rejecting dogma and superstition, Leonardo took responsibility for his own search. The spiritual journey requires us to take responsibility for our thoughts and actions, and ultimately for all of creation.

3. Sharpen awareness (sensazione). The continual refinement of the senses, especially sight, as the means to enliven experience. Leonardo noted that “the five senses are the ministers of the soul.” He penetrated into the depths of creation by honing his awareness.

4. Engage the shadow (sfumato). A willingness to embrace ambiguity, paradox, and uncertainty. Leonardo’s search for light led him beyond the embrace of ambiguity, paradox, and uncertainty. His quest led him, literally and figuratively, to engage and understand darkness. This is often the missing link in the spiritual path.

5. Cultivate balance (arte/scienza). The balancing of left and right-brain thinking, culminating in whole-brain thinking. Leonardo’s persona and work express more than just a balance between logic and imagination, science and art; they represent the essential balance of the masculine and feminine principles in creation.

6. Nurture integration (corporalità). The integration of mind and body through the cultivation of grace, ambidexterity, fitness, and poise. Leonardo’s outstanding physical gifts and remarkable insights into anatomy, healing, and wellness were an expression of his integration of body, energy, and spirit.

7. Practice love (connessione). A recognition and appreciation of the interconnectedness of all things and phenomena; systems thinking. Leonardo knew that “everything connects to everything else.” He was pointing toward an understanding that all of creation is linked and that the universe is an expression of divine love.

In Part Two, we’ll explore the seven principles as they apply to your spiritual development. Each principle will be introduced with a single image created by Leonardo and elaborated through powerful words drawn from the world’s great wisdom traditions. We’ll consider how each principle manifested in Leonardo’s work and how it links to timeless, universal spiritual understanding. Then you’ll have the opportunity to contemplate a simple self-assessment designed to help you deepen your understanding of the presence of the principle in your life now, followed by some practices to help you become more susceptible to grace. Each chapter will conclude with another Leonardo image to inspire you while doing the practices.

From the Hardcover edition.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 3 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 – 4 of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 14, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing 1 – 4 of 2 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)