Only a rare person can illuminate and advance an entire domain of knowledge, asdid with physics, but he also embodied a number of traits and experiences that can inspire even us mere mortals to live more exceptional and creative lives.
[The photo is Einstein in his studio, August 1944, from a book review by David Messer.]
Tavis Smiley: What is it that attracts you to these larger-than-life figures, whether it’s Franklin, whether it’s Einstein? You love this stuff, I take it.
Walter Isaacson: You want to be inspired by people, and I like to get inspired by peoples’ minds. Now, you’ve done this show long enough that you know smart people are a dime a dozen, so I’ll look for what besides being smart does it take in order to be significant? For Ben Franklin, it was an ability to pull people together and understand our values.
For Albert Einstein, it’s a creativity and an imagination – an ability to think differently and out of the box.
We all can aspire to that creativity and I’m hoping people read about Einstein, they get inspired. They say, “I can think more creatively.”
Tavis: Speaking of being inspired, I want to talk about a few of the things that you share with us about Einstein, given your exclusive and unprecedented access to these papers. I want to have you share in a moment some things you learned about Einstein that you introduce us to in the text, one of which, though, blew me away. Who knew that Einstein was such a slow learner and that he was even slow to speak?
Took him a long time as a kid to start talking for all the parents who are watching whose kids are slow to speak. Took him a long time to start talking, but when he started talking, he started talking in complete sentences, yes?
Isaacson: Well, that’s a great inspiration to those of us who are parents, to know that Einstein was no Einstein as a kid. (Laughter) He was slow in learning to talk. They called him the dopey one in the family.
He was also very rebellious. He sort of challenges authority, gets kicked out of one of the schools. But I think it’s that slow verbal learning ability that causes him to think in pictures.
To do thought experiments in his head, what you and I, Tavis, called daydreaming. But if you’re Einstein, you get to call them thought experiments.
And secondly, to question the things you and I would find a bit mundane, like how do we know that time passes the same way for everybody? So it was that quirkiness in the way he thinks.
And here’s a lesson to that, which is we’re all creative in different ways, and we should nurture creativity, no matter how we find it.
Walter Isaacson is president the Aspen Institute, and former CEO of CNN and managing editor of Time magazine. He also wrote another bio of a gifted and talented leader: Benjamin Franklin: An American Life.
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As a child, when Einstein was introduced to his newborn sister, he supposedly asked, “Where are the wheels?”
[Lower photo: Einstein, age 42, during a lecture in Vienna in 1921, from Wikipedia page.]
Article publié pour la première fois le 17/04/2015