Great Thinkers

The dyslexics of the world have great gifts to offer and bright futures! 
BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
January 17, 1706 – April 17, 1790
 
One of the Founding Fathers of the United States. A renowned polymath, he
was a leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, freemason, postmaster, scientist, inventor, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat. As a scientist, he was a major figure in the American Enlightenment and the history of physics for his discoveries and theories regarding electricity. As an inventor, he is known for the lightning rod, bifocals, and the Franklin stove, among other inventions. He facilitated many civic organizations, including Philadelphia's fire department and a university.
THOMAS EDISON
February 11, 1847 – October 18, 1931
 
American inventor and businessman who developed many devices that greatly influenced life around the world. These included the phonograph, the motion picture camera, and the long-lasting, practical electric light bulb.
WINSTON CHURCHILL
November 30, 1874 – January 24, 1965
 
A British statesman who was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945 and again from 1951 to 1955. Churchill was also an officer in the British Army, a historian, a writer (as Winston S. Churchill), and an artist. He won the Nobel Prize in Literature, and was the first person to be made an honorary citizen of the United States.
STEVEN SPIELBERG
Born December 18, 1946
An American director, producer and screenwriter, he is considered as one of the founding pioneers of the New Hollywood era, as well as being viewed as one of the most popular and influential directors and producers in film history. Some of his films include Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Jaws, Indiana Jones, Schindler's List, E.T. the Extra Terrestrial, and Jurassic Park
STEVE JOBS
February 24, 1955 – October 5, 2011
 
An American technology entrepreneur, visionary and inventor. He was the
co-founder, chairman, and CEO of Apple Inc.; CEO and largest shareholder of Pixar Animation Studios; a member of The Walt Disney Company's board of directors following its acquisition of Pixar; and founder, chairman, and CEO of NeXT Inc. He is widely recognized as a pioneer of the microcomputer revolution of the 1970s, along with Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak. 
Nine Dots Puzzle
The notion of something outside a perceived "box" is related to a traditional topographical puzzle called the nine dots puzzle.  The origins of the phrase "thinking outside the box" are obscure; but it was popularized in part because of a nine-dot puzzle, which John Adair claims to have introduced in 1969.  Management consultant Mike Vance has claimed that the use of the nine-dot puzzle in consultancy circles stems from the corporate culture of the Walt Disney Company, where the puzzle was used in-house.
 
Christopher Columbus's Egg Puzzle as it appeared in Sam Loyd's Cyclopedia of Puzzles. The nine dots puzzle is much older than the slogan. It appears in Sam Loyd's 1914 Cyclopedia of Puzzles. In the 1951 compilation The Puzzle-Mine: Puzzles Collected from the Works of the Late Henry Ernest Dudeney, the puzzle is attributed to Dudeney himself. Sam Loyd's original formulation of the puzzle entitled it as "Christopher Columbus's egg puzzle." This was an allusion to the story of Egg of Columbus.
One of many solutions to the puzzle at the beginning of this article is to go beyond the boundaries to link all dots in 4 straight lines.

The puzzle proposed an intellectual challenge—to connect the dots by drawing four straight, continuous lines that pass through each of the nine dots, and never lifting the pencil from the paper. The conundrum is easily resolved, but only by drawing the lines outside the confines of the square area defined by the nine dots themselves. The phrase "thinking outside the box" is a restatement of the solution strategy. The puzzle only seems difficult because people commonly imagine a boundary around the edge of the dot array.  The heart of the matter is the unspecified barrier that people typically perceive.

Ironically, telling people to "think outside the box" does not help them think outside the box, at least not with the 9-dot problem.  This is due to the distinction between procedural knowledge (implicit or tacit knowledge) and declarative knowledge (book knowledge). For example, a non-verbal cue such as drawing a square outside the 9 dots does allow people to solve the 9-dot problem better than average. However, a very particular kind of verbalization did indeed allow people to solve the problem better than average. This is to speak in a non-judgmental, free association style.

These were the instructions in a study that showed facilitation in solving the 9-dot problem:
While solving the problems you will be encouraged to think aloud. When thinking aloud you should do the following: Say whatever’s on your mind. Don’t hold back hunches, guesses, wild ideas, images, plans or goals. Speak as continuously as possible. Try to say something at least once every five seconds. Speak audibly. Watch for your voice dropping as you become involved. Don’t worry about complete sentences or eloquence. Don’t over explain or justify. Analyze no more than you would normally. Don’t elaborate on past events. Get into the pattern of saying what you’re thinking about now, not of thinking for a while and then describing your thoughts. Though the experimenter is present you are not talking to the experimenter. Instead, you are to perform this task as if you are talking aloud to yourself.

The nine-dot problem is a well-defined problem. It has a clearly stated goal, and all necessary information to solve the problem is included (connect all of the dots using four straight lines). Furthermore, well-defined problems have a clear ending (you know when you have reached the solution). Although the solution is "outside the box" and not easy to see at first, once it has been found, it seems obvious.