“Education is supposed to juice your curiosity, not diminish or sate it.”
– Walter Isaacson
Walter Isaacson (@WalterIsaacson) is a professor at Tulane University, and the president and CEO of The Aspen Institute, a nonpartisan educational and policy studies institute based in Washington, DC. He has been the chairman and CEO of CNN and the editor of TIME magazine. He is the author of many biographies I have recommended, including The Innovators, Steve Jobs, Einstein: His Life and Universe, Benjamin Franklin: An American Life, Kissinger: A Biography, and his most recent, Leonardo da Vinci.
In this episode, you learn life lessons and tactics from Steve Jobs, Ben Franklin, Leonardo da Vinci, and more. Walter ties it all together beautifully.
We had a lot of fun in this conversation, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
Want to hear another podcast with incredible life advice? — In this episode, I talk with Adam Robinson, Ramit Sethi, and Josh Waitzkin and discuss a variety of topics on business, wealth, and happiness (stream below or right-click here to download):
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QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.
Scroll below for links and show notes…
Selected Links from the Episode
- Connect with Walter Isaacson:
- Colossus: World-Famous Rebuild of the First Modern Computer at The National Museum of Computing, UK
- Difference Engine #2: Babbage’s Proto-Computer, Painstakingly Brought to Life, Atlas Obscura
- The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made by Walter Isaacson and Evan Thomas
- Poor Richard’s Almanack by Benjamin Franklin
- The Odyssey by Homer
- Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
- Becoming Michael Lewis by Walter Isaacson, The Washington Post
- Aerial Screw model, Leonardo3
- Why Don’t Perpetual Motion Machines Ever Work? by Netta Schramm, TED-Ed
- Squaring the Circle
- Hamlet by William Shakespeare
- Macbeth by William Shakespeare
- She Walks in Beauty by Lord Byron
- Ten Years Later: Public Health and Hurricane Katrina — A Conversation Between Walter Isaacson and Karen DeSalvo by Walter Isaacson, Medium
- The Moviegoer by Walker Percy
- Teach for America
- On the Bus: The Complete Guide to the Legendary Trip of Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters and the Birth of the Counterculture by Paul Perry
- On the Road by Jack Kerouac
- The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin by Benjamin Franklin
- Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year History by Kurt Andersen
- Whole Earth Field Guide by Caroline Maniaque-Benton with Meredith Gaglio
- The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Timothy Ferriss
- Is it possible to be a Renaissance man (or woman) like Ben Franklin or Leonardo da Vinci in today’s world? [05:43]
- On noticing and marveling at life’s “ordinary” things. [08:58]
- What is Walter most curious about now? [11:06]
- What benefit does Walter see in experiencing historical places and artifacts up close rather than just viewing them virtually? [12:50]
- With so much already on his plate, why does Walter write biographies? [15:54]
- Walter’s one rule about writing. [19:35]
- What Walter does between his first draft and first edit. [21:56]
- Walter talks about going to school in New Orleans with fellow author Michael Lewis. [23:11]
- Mentors and inspirations. [25:41]
- On what we can learn from da Vinci and Steve Jobs about blurring the line between the possible and the impossible. [29:28]
- Was there anything that stood out to Walter when he was going through da Vinci’s thousands of pages of notes? [32:35]
- What was da Vinci’s workout routine? [35:03]
- Was da Vinci’s drive to experiment innate or developed? [38:50]
- On the uses and misuses of education. [40:41]
- What Steve Jobs, Ben Franklin, and da Vinci understood about the importance of building a good team for collaboration. [48:58]
- Does Walter think da Vinci was fulfilled? [55:30]
- Ben Franklin’s life hack for gratitude. [57:09]
- How does someone move from success to significance? [59:58]
- What writing biographies of others has taught Walter about his own place in the universe. [1:02:57]
- What has helped Walter get through dark times? [1:05:32]
- The benefits of having something on paper versus a computer screen. [1:10:16]
- As an educator, what three books would Walter give to every graduate? [1:12:13]
- The books Walter gifted the most. [1:16:07]
- What would Walter’s billboard say? [1:18:30]
- Parting thoughts. [1:24:07]
- Steve Jobs
- Albert Einstein
- Benjamin Franklin
- Henry Kissinger
- Leonardo da Vinci
- Charles Babbage
- Alan Turing
- Evan Thomas
- Walker Percy
- Michael Lewis
- H. Davis Prescott
- Johannes Gutenberg
- Irwin Isaacson, Jr.
- Pablo Picasso
- Ada Lovelace
- Lord Byron
- Elon Musk
- Neale Donald Walsch
- Ken Kesey
- Jack Kerouac
- Neil Strauss
- Robert Fagles
Posted on: October 14, 2017.
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