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Review: New biography Leonardo da Vinci examines the archetypal Renaissance Man - The Globe and Mail

Da Vinci was the archetypal Renaissance Man, ignoring the borders of science and art. His promiscuous curiosity was – well, the stuff of genius......Isaacson argues that da Vinci is history's greatest creative genius and, given the evidence amassed in this 600-page work, one would be hard-pressed to argue.....da Vinci's genius springs from his disregard for categories. Whereas a visual artist today would be encouraged by a hundred confounding factors to "stay in her lane" and pursue visual art for its own sake, da Vinci would have been disgusted by such constraints. Science was no distraction; in fact, science fed his paintings.....da Vinci had a reverence for the wholeness of nature and a feel for the harmony of its patterns, which he saw replicated in phenomena large and small."......Da Vinci's was a world where life held knowable patterns. Dig deep enough, expend enough honest curiosity, and the mysteries of the universe began to unfurl. .....The book – as approachable as it is enlightening – achieves something similar; it inspires the reader to become more curious about the patterns underlying its subject – just as da Vinci was curious about the patterns underlying everything else.
books  book_reviews  Walter_Isaacson  Leonardo_da_Vinci  polymaths  creativity  patterns  pattern_recognition  genius  biographies  Medici  Renaissance 
11 days ago by jerryking
Biographer Walter Isaacson explains what made Leonardo da Vinci a genius - The Globe and Mail

What we can learn from Leonardo constitutes the peculiar last chapter of this otherwise sober and cautious biography. At its end Isaacson moves from his role as historian into something closer to self-help guru. He lists a set of Leonardish attributes for us to emulate that sound a lot like advice to tech startups: "Retain a childlike sense of wonder… Think visually… Avoid silos… Collaborate…" Add this to repeated comparisons to Steve Jobs, a previous biographee of Isaacson's, and one is reminded that this is a very American biography (Isaacson was managing editor of Time magazine for years), one that sees "creativity" as primarily a corporate asset.
Russell_Smith  books  biographies  genius  Leonardo_da_Vinci  Walter_Isaacson  Steve_Jobs  polymaths  foxes  hedgehogs  renaissance  cross-disciplinary  cross-pollination  generalists  curiosity  creativity  collaboration 
11 days ago by jerryking
Promethea Unbound — The Atavist Magazine
For Georgia Smith, home was a beat-up red Plymouth Voyager minivan with a bad engine block. A Greek immigrant in her early forties, she had been evicted from her San Francisco apartment in the fall of 1996. Georgia didn’t want anyone to alert social services that she and her daughter Jasmine were destitute, so for several months they’d been living as nomads. She shuttled the five-year-old around the city by day before finding a parking lot where they could spend the night. They never stayed in one place for very long.
25 days ago by Jswindle

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