Performance Perspectives Blog

The Lessons of Leonardo da Vinci: yes, we, too, can rise to this level (or at least close to)

by | Sep 30, 2017

A new biography on Leonardo da Vinci is something we all should want to read

While I frequently recommend books, this is the first time I’m recommending one I haven’t yet read; actually, one that hasn’t yet been published (as it’s due to be released October 17). In this weekend’s Wall Street Journal, there’s a brief excerpt from the author (Walter Isaacson) of a new book on Leonardo da Vinci, which no doubt will prove to be exceptional. My birthday is in November, and I sent a note to my family saying that if they’re wondering what to get me, this is something I’d enjoy (they often buy me books).

It’s interesting that the author says da Vinci was a “very human genius.”

“He was not the recipient of supernatural intellect in the manner of, for example, Newton or Einstein, whose minds had such unfathomable processing power that we can merely marvel at them. His genius came from being wildly imaginative, quirkily curious and willfully observant. It was a product of his own will and effort, which makes his example more inspiring for us mere mortals and also more possible to emulate.”

Might we all benefit, somehow, from learning of da Vinci’s ways? And, even better, to pass these ideas along to our children and grandchildren? I think so. In the author’s words, “The best reason to learn from Leonardo, however, is not to get a better job but to live a better life.”

My grandchildren are quite young (8, 5 (6 in November), and 3 (4 in November)). But, I’ve already encouraged my sons to read it, and perhaps for my grandchildren’s father to encourage them to read it when they reach the appropriate age.

While we may not actually rise to da Vinci’s level, we can at least acquire some of his knowledge, skills, expertise: it’s at least worth the effort! Please join me on this path.

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