Posts Tagged ‘Albert Einstein’

Would Albert Einstein succeed in today’s distracted world?

August 19, 2019

I feel sad for today’s students. They have so many shiny objects (email, instant messaging, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, web sites with flashy graphics) competing for attention. Concentrating on schoolwork requires students have enormous discipline and willpower.

When I went to school there was no World Wide Web and there were no laptops. There were just books, paper, and pencils. It was relatively easy to do the deep work – long, uninterrupted periods of concentration – needed to do well in school.

If Albert Einstein had lived in the distracted world that we live in today, would he have been able to make his discoveries?

Successful people are those with a great love for their craft

February 9, 2014

Yesterday I was listening to an interview of Malcolm Gladwell. The interviewer asked Malcolm why he didn’t believe in genius. Malcolm said that successful people are those with a great, all-consuming love for what they are doing, not because of some genius quality.

He gave an example: When Wayne Gretsky was 2 years old his parents would let him watch hockey games on TV; after each game ended he cried because he loved the game so much he didn’t want it to end. This love for hockey consumed him and he went on to become arguably the greatest hockey player of all time.

Albert Einstein was great because he had a tremendous curiosity. He didn’t strive to become the greatest scientist in the world. He simply wanted to understand how the universe worked. As a side-effect of his great curiousity he became arguably the greatest scientist of all time.

This is what I learned: Don’t strive to be a great hockey player (or scientist or teacher or researcher or whatever). Instead, be filled with a tremendous love for hockey (or science or teaching or research or whatever). If you do that, then you will become great without even trying to become great.

Did Albert Einstein retire?

November 26, 2013

Have you done reading about Albert Einstein?

I wonder if, after retiring, he gave up seeking to understand the mysteries of the universe?

I find it hard to believe that he would. From what I have read, he did it for the pure love and curiosity, not because it was “his job.”

I’ll bet he was thinking about the mysteries of the universe up till his last day.

Do you know?

Update (November 27, 2013):

A friend sent me this note:

There is the yellow legal pad he used the
day he died. I saw it in a museum somewhere.
It was scribbled with equations from his work
on unifying the four forces.


Would Albert Einstein read New York Times bestsellers?

December 4, 2009

I am reading this book:

“Predictably Irrational” by Dan Ariely

It is a very interesting read. It describes some of the author’s research findings in the (new) field of behavioral economics. And it is a New York Times bestseller.

For a book to be a bestseller it must appeal to a large number of people, i.e., it must appeal to the masses. What are the implications of that? Clearly the average person doesn’t have an in-depth understanding of every field. So a bestselling author must present his material in a way that requires little or no understanding of the field. Research results are oftentimes rather dry. “Dry” doesn’t lend itself well to “bestselling.” So the author must spice things up-emotionalize the material, appeal to the readers emotions. What are the implications of that?

Several years ago, as I was beginning to learn about the field of complex systems, I read a pop-sci book on the topic. The book was very exciting and-to my thinking-it provided profound insights into the field of complex systems. I attended a class at the New England Complex Systems Institute. The instructor was a world-renowned scientist. Being so excited about this book, I approached the instructor to get his opinion about it and, in particular, a certain section of the book. Much to my surprise the instructor had never read the book. I was shocked, “How could he have not read this wonderful book, especially when it’s in his field of expertise?” I asked him to read a certain section because I wanted his feedback. He was gracious enough to do it on the spot. I don’t recall his comments. I only recall feeling that his comments were very controlled, he didn’t want to hurt my feelings. He was clearly not impressed by the book.

I wonder if it may actually be damaging to read bestsellers? Do they lead the reader into ideas and beliefs that are simply wrong?

If Albert Einstein were alive today, would he read New York Times bestsellers?