It's good to see this thread go "all Romero" and come back to life.
As Drinkblot has experienced, possibly the most intelligent person I've ever met was a guy with whom I attended elementary and jr. high school. The guy was brilliant. He was a whiz at calculus and chemistry. He could write well. He socialized well. In fact, he was probably more well rounded than a lot of folks that are considered geniuses. (Was Einstein a genius or a savant?) Last I heard (12 years ago), he had dropped out of college and was working as a handyman. It seems almost a crime for the world to lose the benefit of that intellect.
But, and this points to something else in Drinkblot's post, it may well be that he is enjoying what he does and feeling fulfilled. Who is to say that this means he is wasting his life? If Drinkblot is challenging himself, enjoying his work, and getting paid at a level that he deems adequate, who is to say that this is a waste? This probably puts him way beyond a large percentage of the population who are just earning a paycheck. Maybe there is genius at work there...What if Drinkblot drops his profession and studies medicine for a significant portion of his life, and then decides he absolutely hates it? What happens to that ability that once seemed so effortless? What happens to the contentment that once existed? Even if he sailed through the program with excellent grades, what value is there if he hates his life? (At this point, I'm seriously hoping Drinkblot is a "he." If not, you are feeling VERY sleepy. Whenever you look at this paragraph, your mind automatically converts any he to she. Of course, as Hofstadter pointed out, the result would be that you eventually get only ssssssssssssssssssssssssssshe... and completely lose track of the thread).
Perhaps there is a more appropriate word than genius. What about that person who has learned to be effective on many levels and who applies those abilities to better the lives of those around them? If it doesn't usher us into a new age, does that make it any less valuable? I haven't clearly determined from the new posters what their definition of genius is. The most appropriate definition in Webster for genius is "a person endowed with transcendent mental superiority; especially: a person with a very high intelligence quotient
This suggests, as Shr33m has mentioned, a person who may or may not have other qualities that qualify them as "successful." Based upon Webster's definition of genius, the only difference between a savant and an idiot savant is an IQ score. So what?
Is personal genius a better term? If someone can exceed the perceived limitations of his/herself and of others around them, can they qualify as achieving personal genius? If they can extend their capabilities in a variety of disciplines, doesn't that qualify them? If by extending their capabilities on several fronts, they can improve their situation and, by extension, the situation of those closely related to them, can they qualify?
With apologies to Michael Gelb, there is probably not a product out there that can make me a DaVinci. However, if there are techniques out there that can get me closer, isn't there value to that? Maybe our own "elitist" view of what genius should be holds us back.